Lithuanian Culture Institute
Literature for Children and Young Adults, Lithuanian Culture Guide

Tomas Dirgėla

Photo by Guoda Kavaliauskaitė

Most Lithuanian children know Tomas Dirgėla (b. 1989) as the author of the book series Domas ir Tomas (Domas and Tomas) and the entertaining LRT radio show of the same name. Tomas obtained a degree in Lithuanian philology, worked in education in journalism and wrote poetry. He was encouraged to enter children’s literature by another important Lithuanian children’s writer, Vytautas V. Landsbergis. Tomas believes that only children and laughter can save the world from sadness, and so there’s plenty of humour, adventure and nonsense poetry. He has been writing exclusively for children since 2015 and has already published fourteen books. His inspiration comes from other writers too. He is especially influenced by Vytautas V. Landsbergis, as well as British writers David Walliams and Roald Dahl. “You can’t be a writer without being a reader! But sometimes, when the muses don’t show up for a time, you realize that writing is blissfully hard labour.” Tomas claims that a writer can make a living from writing if they realize that the process of writing alone is not enough. It doesn’t mean you have to sing and dance. It means that you have to arrange your own promotion of your books by meeting with the readers. “It brings in more energy and finance.”  

Benas – sapnų siuvėjas (Benas, the Weaver of Dreams), Vilnius: Tyto alba, 2018, 126 pp 

Dirgėla tells a story about Benas Needleman, who recently lost both of his parents. Benas’ grandfather reveals the truth to him: he is no ordinary little boy, but a weaver of dreams. And the role of a dream weaver is to bring a little more happiness to people. One of the ways to do this is to continue their interrupted dreams. Unfortunately, Benas’ magic needle is stolen by a pair of selfish thieves, causing all sorts of strange things to unfold in his small town. Benas sets out to recover his needle. This is a book full of mischief and adventure that tells a tale of good and evil, children’s triumph over mean-spirited adults, and about how wonderful dreams are and how we should care for them and treasure our real lives.