University Library Opens Exhibit Honouring Lithuanian Writer Cvirka


Mykolas Romeris University's Library has opened a new exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Lithuanian writer, poet and well-known children's author Petras Cvirka, who was born March 25th, 1909. Another new exhibition, commemorating Lithuania's Independence Day on March 11th and featuring over a dozen historical books, has also opened at the library.

Cvirka was one of the most well-known Lithuanian writers of the 20th century's first half, who was born in Klangiai in the Jurbarkas district.  He graduated from the Vilkija high school in 1926 and from 1926-1930 studied at the Kaunas Art School. Upon completion, he was awarded the right to teach drawing in high schools.

He was an active coworker of the magazine, "Trečias frontas" and as an artist, created the first cover for the magazine's premier issue. Later he wrote articles or art reviews, but did not draw. He chose to become a literary writer, although he had a talent for art as well.

It must be noted that his wife, Marija Račkauskaitė – Cvirkienė (1912 – 2004), was one of the most productive artists in the history of Lithuania.

Cvirka lived in Paris from 1931-1932 and studied art and literature. From 1936-1939 he traveled throughout Western Europe and several times visited the Soviet Union. In 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, he became a member of the Communist Party and encouraged Lithuania's integration into the Soviet sphere.

From 1940-1941 Cvirka was head of the Lithuanian Writer's Union's Organizational Committee and edited the magazine, "Raštai."

In 1941 he withdrew to Russia and from 1942 he lived in Moscow and took part in anti-nazi propaganda activities. In 1944 he returned to Lithuania and from 1945 he was the editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, "Pergalė" and also the chairman of the Writer's Union. He undertook policies favouring propagation of communist ideology into literature. He died on May 2nd, 1947.

Cvirka published a book featuring his poems, "Pirmosios mišios," (The First Mass), which was confiscated by censors. He is best known for his satirical novel, "Frankas Krukas," poking fun at immigrants in America. The novel was published in 1934 and portrays Lithuanian immigrant life in America negatively. His other works, "Žemė maitintoja," (Mother Earth), poetically portrays the hard-working, farm people of the countryside and their desire for a brighter future. He has published numerous other works including classics in Lithuanian literature such as the story collection, "Cukriniai avinėliai," (Sugar Lambs) published in 1935.

His works have been published in numerous languages including: English, Russian, Latvian, Estonian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Chinese.