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One Winter's Night in Prague

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In the hot and humid summer of 2002, I found myself in Prague, for a rare few days away, without my daughters. The days passed slowly and the nights in the hotel even more so. The thick woolen blankets and itchy sheets meant that most of the nights were spent on the tiny balcony overlooking the empty streets and the gothic rooftops. It was during the stifling hot nights that the little book was written and illustrated. On returning to Britain I made a booklet with just one of the stories, which I published myself. Now, so many years later, I find myself drawn back to this simple little collection of stories, which I said to myself I was writing for my children. In retrospect, I was writing them for myself and hoping that the girls would enjoy them too. It was the act of a parent, who filled with guilt, had to prove himself worthy of this childcare-free interlude. The whole thing (it is only a few pages) was written by hand and illustrated using a traveling set of inexpensive watercolours and some inks. Interestingly, the sketchbook was purchased from the little bookshop that was situated in the old Jewish quarter next to the Old-New Synagogue. I did not know back then, that my work would one day explore the Jewish history of my place of birth, Crete; and yet, that day in the Synagogue was the part of the trip that stayed with me. As the taxi drove me to the airport. A light rain broke the long hot spell. It went on to rain for weeks, drowning much of the old town under water.

Copyright George Sfougaras

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