A Lithuanian-Australian writer Kristina Dryža is better known in the world of business and management as one of the most influential futurists, trend forecasters, and business consultants, who worked with companies such as Virgin Group, Microsoft, and British Sky Broadcasting. Kristina says that many still do not know that she is also the author of the novel Grace and the Wind released in 2014. I asked Kristina a few questions about writer’s craft, her first book, and future plans.
– How did you become a writer?
I always loved
to write as a teenager, mainly in my journal, kept from my parents’ prying
eyes. I didn’t really enjoy writing assignments at school or essays at
university. I didn’t like writing to perform, to prove, to justify – for
results. I had more fun crafting messages in Christmas and birthday cards for my
friends, and sharing my overseas travel experiences in postcard form, when
writing postcards was de rigueur in
the pre-internet era.
On July 6, 2018 Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, senior researcher of the Lithuanian Studies Unit of Documentary Heritage Research Department at the National Library of Lithuania, was awarded the Order for Merits to Lithuania. The award is presented by the President of Lithuania. Dalia is a former editor-in-chief of the American-Lithuanian newspaper “Draugas,” since 2014, she is the representative of the Lithuanian American Community, Inc. in Lithuania.
On 16-17 August, 2017, National Library of Lithuania will host the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Satellite Meeting. The participants will share their ideas on the challenge of multiple identities – multiethnicity in genealogy, local history and regional memory, as well as challenges and opportunities for libraries and other memory institutions. The presenters will discuss such topics as saving and promoting historical and cultural memories, supporting contacts and understanding between different local and regional communities and the role of libraries, museums and archives in participatory projects based on multi-ethnic and multi-generational collaboration.
Two representatives from Lithuanian Studies Department of National Library of Lithuania will present their papers. Senior researcher Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė will talk about oral history method as a very effective tool in researching local history and contributing to regional memory. Director of Documentary Heritage Research Department, Jolanta Budriūnienė, will discuss the role that documentary heritage of Lithuanian diaspora stored at the National Library of Lithuania plays.
The vast majority of current Lithuanians living in Springfield, IL (USA) come from Lithuanian miners who arrived to America from Lithuania in the early 20th century. In 1914, the Lithuanian community of Springfield consisted of several thousand Lithuanians. The records of Lithuanian St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Springfield show that year, over 500 Lithuanian families belonged to the church, and between 1909 and 1919, 1,063 Lithuanian babies were baptised there. However, these figures do not indicate the actual number of Lithuanians, because quite a number of them were socialists and did not belong to the church or visited other Catholic churches in the city, such as St. Aloysius, St. Peter and Paul and St. Joseph.
Today, when one comes across such names as Sitki, Nevitt, Yoggerst, Ulak or Chesnut, he or she can hardly tell that these people could be of Lithuanian descent. The reality is that the fourth generation of Lithuanians in Springfield does not speak Lithuanian and does not follow Lithuanian customs. Moreover, they are often unaware that their ancestors came from Lithuania.
It is believed that today 20 000 or so of the first wave of Lithuanian immigrants’ descendants live in Sangamon County of 200 000. Therefore, the book, A Century of Lithuanians in Springfield, Illinois by Sandy Baksys that came out in 2015 is particularly valuable for its genealogical and ethnographic information.
The stories in the book are accompanied by photos which the author obtained from Lithuanian families or individuals depicted in the book. According to the author, the photos appeared because she did not want the book to be just the family genealogical tree. In her opinion, the photos provide an extra glance at Lithuanian life, customs and history of that time.
In fall of 2016, senior researcher of Lithuanian Studies Department at the National Library of Lithuania, Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, took part in a web documentary on contemporary migration “La Crise Migratoire et Nous” (in French and Lithuanian) created by French Institute in Lithuania.
Sixteen participants, from various walks of life, such as historians, a writer, a journalist, a lawyer, a philosopher, and others, shared their ideas about the history of migration, past and current events and lessons we should learn and remember in the future. The conversations which were filmed in France, Lithuania and Canada offer a broad view on current migration crisis in the world.
Editor of The Lithuanian Museum Review
After eight years of reconstruction the National Library of Lithuania was opened to the public. After the reconstruction, the Library will continue to be dedicated to the readers, but it will also host creative activities, projects and trainings. The
Library is going to work according to the model of the British Library.
In August of 2016 I had a chance to visit the renovated Lithuanian National
Library by an invitation from the Head of the Lithuanian Studies Department Jolanta Budriūnienė and the Department’s Chief Researcher Dalia Cidzikaitė. The Lithuanian Studies Department deals with collecting and showcasing books, periodicals and archival material published by Lithuanians abroad, including Lithuanian Americans. Mrs. Budriūnienė expressed a great interest in cooperation between the Lithuanian National Library and the Balzekas Museum which is one of the major centers of
Lithuanians in the US.
At the moment, the Lithuanian National Library makes the publications of
Lithuanians abroad accesible to the public in the Library’s reading room. I was excited to see the latest issue of the Lithuanian Museum Review on the top shelf among other publicatios of emigre Lithuanians.Chief specialist Dalia Cidzikaitė showed me the holdings of the Lithuanian Studies Department. The archives hold books, periodicals and archival material including those that belonged to famous Lithuanians, such as Stasys Lozoraitis. Ms Cidzikaitė pointed out that books published by
Americans of Lithuanian descent, such as their memoirs and/or fiction are very welcomed at the Lithuanian National Library. Those interested in donating are asked to contact Ms Cidzikaitė at dalia. email@example.com. The National Library has a variety of virtual exhibits
which might be of great interest to the readers. One such exhibit might be of particular interest as it deals with material published in foreign press during 1990, the year of restoration of Lithuania’s independence.
The Lithuanian Museum Review Jul – Sep 2016 Issue 255