Young Vilenica

Young Vilenica is an international literary competition for primary and secondary school children in Slovenia and abroad. Between 2015 and 2019, it also included pre-school students, while between 2016 and 2019 children could also contribute their visual artistic works. In 2020, Young Vilenica is presented by the Association of Writers from the Primorska Region and JSKD (Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities) – Sežana Regional Branch.

49 young poets from Slovenia, Italy and the Serbian Republic contributed to the 20th poet-writing competition, of whom 5 were in the 6-10 years category, 33 in the category for 11–14 year olds,
and 11 in the 15-18 years category. The jury selected the winning entry in each age category, while a winning poem by a young poet was also selected by a popular vote on the website of the Association of Writers from the Primorska Region.

While there was no set theme for the poems contributed to the 20th Young Vilenica, the poems were likely marked by the different experience of everyday life due to Covid-19 pandemic, which has, at least temporarily, also changed the living space of literature and thereby our contact with it.

Winning Poems of the 20th competition Young Vilenica

Georgio Lazarević (the 6-10 years category)
OŠ Antona Žnideršiča Ilirska Bistrica, 2. r
Mentorica: Marta Rolih


I like the sea,
but motorcycles are my cup of tea.
In my free time like a soldier I am dressed,
I cook and till twilight annoy my brother – pest.
At night my mommy puts me to bed,
she reads a story and strokes my head.
This is just one of my free days.
Now I’d like to greet you nicely
because I am about to reach my dreamy phase.

Translated by Doris Furlan

In his relatively short poem Georgio Lazarević manages to present a picture of his day and introduce himself at the same time using unusual and convincing images. His use of rhyme is not forced and brings additional colour to his narrative and thus creates a warm atmosphere, and his wicked sense of humour brings a broad smile to our faces. A very sweet and convincing contribution and well deserved winner of the 1st category. Well done and warmest congratulations, Georgio!

Minea Vrh (the category for 11–14 year olds)
OŠ Antona Žnideršiča Ilirska Bistrica, 9. R
Mentorica: Tanja Hozner


If you are sad and miserable, don’t be, believe in yourself.
When you face your bluest day, believe in yourself.
When in love you are not lucky, you will find it believing in yourself.
If the whole world is upside down for you, believe in yourself.
If you think you have no one to love you, believe in yourself.
If you think you will never find a true love, believe in yourself.
And once you trust yourself, it will make the world a better place, as you will – believe in yourself.

Translated by Doris Furlan

Quite a few competitors in the 2nd category used a form of a ghazel. The ghazel form is less strict and allows more freedom and we would like to commend all three mentors at OŠ Antona Žnideršiča Ilirska Bistrica for encouraging students to try it out. Minea Vrh with her poem Believe in Yourself was the most successful in her endeavour. Her poem looks quite simple but with her unadorned and direct language and her positive and optimistic message, badly needed in these dark and difficult times, is convincing and encourages self-confidence and brings hope. Warmest congratulations, Minea.

Leontina Savičić (the 15-18 years category)
Srednja gozdarska in lesarska šola Postojna dijakinja SSI zdravstvena nega, 1. l
Mentorica: mag. Nataša Ujčič

a laurel wreath
a wreath of thorns as well
both I am carrying

Translated by Doris Furlan

Haiku by Leontina Savičić looks like a modest contribution; a strict form of a haiku allowed her only three verses but in these three verses she manages to encapsulate and express a very deep, meaningful and serious message. Not a single word in her poem is out of place. A convincing, brave and mature contribution, which proves that sometimes less is more. A well-deserved winner of the 3rd category. Warmest congratulations, Leontina!


The Young Vilenica Award 2020 Jury: Milan Šelj, Magdalena Svetina Terčon