Magazine anniversaries can be proclaimed and marked when you reach certain neat and round ordinal numbers of issues or a respectable time period since the founding. Electricity Letters magazine is, however, completely different in this aspect as well, for it makes all of this irrelevant, counting its own anniversaries by the number of published pages. Even though thirty issues (plus an additional special issue) and seven years of continuous publishing represent a true achievement in a moneyless environment, they still do not elucidate the importance and the greatness of this, for many reasons unique literary magazine for children and youth, as much as the fact that in the world wide web its 6000th page appeared within the 30th issue. This is an anniversary of which I as its creator, editor and illustrator am extremely proud. In order for you to comprehend it more easily that is like 150 issues of a regular printed magazine for children or about a 100 books of average length. The legendary magazine Poletarac by the author Dušan Radović (which has faced similar problems, by the way) managed to reach 19 issues and 1600 pages.
Although, in the beginning, let’s go back to the past for a moment, to discover how Electricity Letters were founded. Many a man links its creation with 2003 and the beginning of publishing of the Gorocvet literary magazine by the Library in Jagodina, which was founded in 1970s as a school magazine of the 17. Oktobar school in Jagodina and later became a private edition of a literate Selimir V. Milosavljević who used to be its main editor for over 30 years. However, that is merely partly true, that is to say just as an improvement of the idea of the library having needs and potentials to deal in publishing of the children’s literary magazine, as well as the start of a more serious relation with me as a creator and a bearer of an entirely different, original and modern approach to children’s literature. “The library phase” in the Gorocvet history had lasted too short (only 6 issues were published) for it to have a great significance concerning conception, aesthetic norms and content quality which was my basic idea and goal, so it suddenly got shut down, for the lack of financial resources, as well as resistance of the local creators to raising the quality of the magazine to a truly serious level.
Three years later, in 2009, my new co-operation with the Library happened through realization of a multimedia project, titled exactly Electricity Letters which resulted in an array of attractive poetry and music events with the appropriate video materials and electronic literary issues within the same edition. This project got shut down as well, without any explicable reasons.
After another three year break and with the support of Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Library joined the project of creating an online literary magazine for children and youth “Electricity Letters”, entrusting the editing of the magazine to me once more, with full editing freedom to raise the quality of the magazine to a level that will greatly overcome the local one. The basic motive for founding of the magazine was a tendency to connect modern achievements of the digital revolution with tradition and values of Serbian children’s magazines from a time when we were unmatched in Europe in this area. The magazine has been regional since its beginnings, accepted by the creators of all ex-Yu countries, where the co-operators were found, thus starting to publish the work of children’s writers from all around the world, therefore nurturing the translation literature as well.
In spite of the constant financial and frequent organizational problems, the magazine has not only lasted for the total of 7 years, but it has been developing from one issue to another, reaching the status of being considered the best and the most complete literary magazine for children and youth by literates and experts in this region.
Over the 7 years of its existence, the Electricity Letters have published 30 regular issues and 1 special issue (dedicated to the deceased literate Igor Kolarov, an associate of the magazine since the first issue, who died too early) which contain over 2000 poems and short prose forms, plays, interesting articles, literary reviews and interviews on more than 6000 richly illustrated pages. Among a few hundreds represented authors are all of the greats of our children’s literature including: J. J. Zmaj, B. Ćopić, D. Maksimović, D. Radović, M. Antić, B. Crnčević, S. Raičković, D. Erić, R. Popov, Lj. Ršumović, M. Danojlić, S. Stanišić, M. Odalović, D. P. Đurđev, I. Kolarov, D. Aleksić, T. Nikoletić, B. Stevanović, J. Petrović, V. Aleksić, G. Maletić, G. Novakov… as well as the translations of world’s literates (mostly premier): E. Lear, L. Carroll, A. Milne, O. Nash, S. Silverstein, R. Bach, B. Shaw, A. C. Doyle, T. Pratchett, T. Zeus and many others. Every issue has its own topic and represents a world literature mini anthology for children of some sort. Also, with each individual issue, the readers are gifted an e-book, and very often, interviews and plays are published, closely following modern literature work for children and youth in the region. Electricity Letters are open for young, unaffirmed writers for whom this is the only chance to draw attention of the professional public to themselves.
To sum up, we maintain an active connection with today’s best children’s writers, we raised the quality to an extremely high level, we acquired an undoubted reputation with professional and literary public. All in all, I as an editor and as a creator (not only the creator of the idea, but of the practical part as well) have to be proud and satisfied when we look back. Though, relaxing is not accordant with my creative temperament, nor with the main idea woven in the philosophy of the Letters. I can and we can do it better and more and more versatile. There are ideas concerning this, as well as plans and projects, and my guarantee is that this is all achievable. All that is needed is “only” to secure at least minimum funds, so that the Library in Jagodina and the City of Jagodina with the Electronic Letters become the epicentre of children’s literature on the Balkans.