JUDr. Dušan Roll (28 January 1928 -29 July 2021)
Founder and long-standing General Commissioner of the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava.
Dušan Roll was one of the kind of the greatest visionaries. And he was able to make his dreams come true. Love to picture books and illustrations for children led him to an excellent idea. Together with some other admirers of beautiful books in the publishing house Mladé letá –Ján Švec, Miro Cipár, Albín Brunovským and others, he founded the legendary Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava in 1967 with the aim to get Slovak picture books to the world in the time of the Iron Curtain and vice versa the world to us to Bratislava. The international competition of originals of book illustrations for children. In cooperation with IBBY UNESCO they created an impressive event of the highest quality included in the calendar of UNESCO events as one of its main cultural events that the whole world envies us. Thanks to its unique character, there has been no competition for the non-commercial BIB for more than 50 years and it has been influencing improvement of quality of picture books in the whole world. Dušan Roll was a great cultural diplomat and a creative cultural manager. He worked as the chairman of IBBY UNESCO, International Board on Books for Young People, the chairman of Hans Christian Andersen Award and he was a member of the UNICEF Committee in New York. In 2006, Dušan Roll spoke to me and in the end also persuaded me to take over from him as General Commissioner of BIB. It worried him what would be the future of the Biennial and that there could be some negative trends endangering the reputation of BIB at international organisations IBBY UNESCO, he was afraid of possible commercializing or even of its cessation. It was an honor to continue in his work, develop BIB further and not to let it rest on its laurels. Dušan was always the vigilant, clever and well disposed guard of BIB, his most loved “child”. He always used to say to me: “As long as you live, you can solve every problem, there is always a way. Only when we end lying on the batten, then we cannot do anything”…
I was able to persuade Dušan to write a book of his memories. In the end he did it and I believe that this book will be published soon. Dušan´s beautiful vision in the form of the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava still lives its successful life, flies around world and thanks to beautiful picture books makes it better and much nicer.
Dušan, thank you very much!
General Commissioner of BIB