Croatian Fairytales Done the English Way

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The book about Klek was written in English, with motives of the Ogulin area

Iva Brajdić and Kenn Clarke are recent residents of Ogulin, falling in love with it at first sight! An unusual story connected them. She is a Croatian language and literature teacher and librarian, employed at the Crafts and Technical School in Ogulin, and he is a graphic designer and cook, born in England! They were brought together by the love for photography and graphic design. Kenn first visited Ogulin in October 2012. He then stayed three months, but since he liked Ogulin, he wanted to live there, as wrote on April 26, 2017.

“When I first arrived, I saw the Klek Mountain from the train and was attracted by how unusual it looks. I knew it had to have a name. I had not heard of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić before, but Iva found online her “Croatian Tales of Long Ago” in English and they drew me in. In Denmark, where I had lived for a long time, I had heard story of a giant turning into stone. So, there are different nations with similar stories and likenesses. This motive of a giant waking up from stone when someone needs his strength and power… it is indescribable. Then I heard a story of Rijeka Morčići, then the white vultures on Cres Island… they are all elements I intertwined in my book, with my mother appearing in it as a two-year-old girl and my grandmother at 82,” said Kenn for OGportal and proudly presented his book “Klek.”

The book about Klek was written in English, with motives of the Ogulin area. The octopus in his story is named OG, by the license plates in Ogulin, adding to it elements of Croatian folklore, paintings from the parish church of St. Cross, connecting legends carried on by the people, also mentioning the Manduševac well in Zagreb, dragons from the Šmit Lake, witches as Klek dancers… Just like any story, this one also has a princess that needs saving. It would be best described if you picked up the book and read it.

He printed the book in 300 copies with own funds, giving out around a hundred of them at the Ogulin Fairytale Festival two years ago. Still, not many people in Ogulin have heard of his “Klek,” which foreigners might like as well. It is his desire to translate the book into Croatian, but still hasn’t found anyone willing to do the job. But, his hope does not fade.

“I admit, at one phase of creation I grew tired. After the book was printed, I promoted it around Ogulin. I had the feeling I had done everything in my power to promote the book. The motivation to start promoting it again came from my friend Mirna Šolić, so I began contacting publishers in Croatia, but also in England,” said Kenn Clarke who gifted us a book, which we will soon, hopefully, read in Croatian.

Croatian language still eludes him. However, he says he has excellent neighbours and that language is not a barrier. He would love to spend time with other Ogulin residents who understand him, and we hope that number increases from today.


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