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GEELONG, AUSTRALIA – Popular Lithuanian-Australian author Jura Reilly, known for her English language, Lithuanian themed books “A Wolf At Our Door” and “Circle of Amber”, has released a new book “Slyvia’s Book Smuggler”, to coincide with Lithuania’s 100 year independence restoration celebration.
Jura Reilly told LTnews she got the inspiration to write her new historical novel because her Lithuanian background provided her with a rich treasure trove of stories.
“I decided to write my latest novel “Sylvia’s Book Smuggler”, to mark the occasion of Lithuania’s centenary of independence from Russia. This falls on February 16th. My great grandfather, Tomas Žičkauskas, was a school teacher in Marijampole, but he became a knygnešys (book smuggler) during the latter part of 19th century. At that time, Lithuania was under Russian occupation. Tomas and other brave people risked their lives to secretly distribute Lithuanian Bibles, calendars, children’s books and novels, all printed in the Roman alphabet, which the Russians had banned. In this small way, Tomas contributed to Lithuania’s desire to be free from the yoke of its Russian oppressor. Having met Dr. Jonas Basanavičius many times, Tomas agreed to contribute many patriotic articles to the secret newspaper, Aušra , writing under various pen names.”
Asked whether her novel was solely about her great grandfather, Jura Reilly said that the novel’s American heroine, Sylvia, discovers her Lithuanian heritage by travelling to various well known Lithuanian tourist spots, falls in love and meets the ghost of Tomas the book smuggler. He tells her about the history of Lithuania’s push for independence.
Jura Reilly‘s books are available on Amazon.com and Ebay
Jura Reilly (Jūratė Vitkūnaitė-Reilly) was born in 1952 in Adelaide, South Australia. Her parents, Liuda and Alfredas Vitkūnas, were World War 2 refugees from Lithuania. Jura currently lives in Geelong, Australia.
By: Linas Johansonas / LTnews