Thursday, January 31, 2013

Specters of he Author: 1st International Seminar on Literature

Specters of he Author: 1st International Seminar on Literature
Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland  -  6 April 2013
Deadline for proposals: 22 February 2013

The fate of the author in the twentieth-century literature
and literary criticism is as complex as it is fascinating.
Entwined closely with that of the subject, whose capital
punishment was pronounced by Ernst Mach in his famous
"das Ich ist unrettbar", the path of the author as the sole
carrier of meaning in a literary text led finally to his death
at the hands of the structuralists, only to direct him back to
life in the disillusioning post-modern play.

And yet, whatever his position within a text may be,
the existence  of the author, of the person creating a
literary work, is undeniable, even though this presence
might not be admitted, remaining merely a spectral

It is these specters, as well as other forms of authorial
presence in literature and literary theory, we would like
to focus on during our seminar.

We invite papers to one of the following panels:
1. (Auto)biography
2. Disillusion
3. Inscription
4. Return of the author? 

Papers might focus on (but are not limited to)
the following topics:
- explicit or implicit manifestations
of (auto)biographical motifs in the literary text;
- (auto)biographical plays with the reader;
- fictive (auto)biographies;
- interlacement of (auto)biography and literary fiction.
- authorial presence in the literary text as an element
of post-modern disillusioning play;
- disillusioning literary devices;
- metafictionality and other metaliterary features;
- metalayers of literature;
- unveiling the writing workshop.
- signature as an act of granting meaning to
the literary text;
- pseudonyms, heteronyms, and other means
of concealing/playing with identity;
- ascribing the text to someone else;
- topos of the found manuscript;
- critical reading as an inscription.
Return of the author?
- authorship/paternity/maternity of a literary text;
- significance of the author in literary mystifications;
- return of the author after postmodernism;
- ethical turn in literature and literary theory;
- autofiction.

The full papers will be shared on our website before the
seminar and discussed during the panels by their authors.
There will be no possibility of otherwise presenting the papers.
Submissions should include the paper title; the delegate's
name, address and email; a summary of the proposed paper
(300 words); and a short bio (100 words).

Also, please indicate in which discussion panel you would
like to participate.

Please send submissions by 22nd February 2013 to

The conference fee is 150 PLN and includes conference
materials, coffee breaks, lunch, and costs of publication.

For more information visit: 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Belarus Litteraturresan


Lviv, Ukraine: Belarusian-Swedish Literary Days 2013, May 17–19

See you in Lviv!
Due to the present situation in Belarus, when we can't guarantee that our writers – and other guests – could enter the country, we've decided to temporarily move to Ukraine. We specially invites our audience 

and partners in Belarus to join us!  

Friday 17/5
Press meeting at The Book store ”JE” with readings.
Seminar about contemporary literature in Belarus and Ukraine.

Welcome to an evening with writers from Belarus, Sweden and 
From Sweden (13/1-13): Poet Jenny Wrangborg, poet and 

translator Dmitri Plax and musician Daniel Wikslund.
From Belarus: Zmitser Vajtsiusjkevitj – and more names will come!
The Swedish Ambassador in Belarus Stefan Eriksson will open 
the evening (prel.)Place: Les Kurbas Theatre.
  Contact person: Mykola Bereza. 

Saturday 18/5
Guided Literary tour in Lviv or a visit to The Nekropolia museum. 
Seminar: Trends in Childrens literature. Examples from our three countries;
 Belarus, Sweden and Ukraine. The University of Lviv (prel.)
Belarus! Evening programme at Les Kurbas Theatre.
Presentation of Poetry Cup for youth in Brest region 2003–2012.
Bruno Schulz

Sunday 19/5
Bus from Lviv. Literary guided tour and lunch in Drohobycz in the  footsteps ofBruno Schulz (1892–1942). 
Our guide is Andrij Pavlyshyn. 
Dept. to Lviv.
Dinner & music.

More information – soon:
Producer Maria Söderberg and Lev Hrytsyuk in
 co–operation with Belarusian partners and Les Kurbas Theatre. Sponsored by Swedish Institute and Swedish Art Council. 

Welcome to Lviv! We will highlight literature from Belarus. 

... and Białystok 

We're planning to present Belarusian writers in 
Bialystok, Poland, Saturday May, 11 2013.
Literary seminar: Translation. More information – soon! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Loving Dante's Italy

Interview with Tinney Sue Heath, Author of A Thing Done + Giveaway

by Maria Grazia

This interview originally appeared on

After reading Tinney Sue Heath’s  historical fiction novel, A Thing Done, set in 14th century Italy , I thought that it is curious and stimulating to get to know how people living in distant countries see your own. This is why I wanted to interview the author and ask her the reasons for her loving my country,  especially medieval Italy, so much. 

Giveaway! Read the interview, then take your chances to win one of the two e-book copies of A Thing Done. (see the rafflecopter form below the post)

First of all, welcome to Fly High,  Tinney, and for accepting to answer my questions.  I’d like to start asking you, what is the fascination of Dante's Italy to a person with such a different background? For us Italians it is compulsory to study Dante Alighieri and read his “Divina Commedia”  at high school. But you? How did you come to discover the greatest  Italian poet, his work and his Florence?
Thank you.  I'm delighted to be here.  Your question made me smile, because when I first learned about your blogs, I wondered what attracted an Italian to Jane Austen!  I first encountered Dante in high school.  In my case it was not because everyone studied his writings, but because I was fortunate enough to read them in a Great Books class I had chosen to take.  There I also read Boccaccio and Machiavelli.  I loved the art of the Italian Renaissance, and my tastes in opera and other classical music also tended toward the Italian, but it was Dante who focused my interest on pre-Renaissance Florence and Tuscany.  After all, it seems he put most of his neighbors in the Inferno, and he made 13th century Florence sound like such an interesting place.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature

by Scott Rettberg

The ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature edited by Maria Engberg, Talan Memmott, and David Prater, is now online. The anthology is intended to provide educators, students and the general public with a free curricular resource of electronic literary works produced in Europe. The works were selected, after an open call, based on four main criteria: European diversity, Formal diversity, Historical relevance, and Pedagogical relevance.

 The anthology includes 18 works of electronic literature from 10 different nations in 10 different languages, as well as pedagogical materials, cross-links to relevant materials in the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, and video presentations. The anthology is available both online and in a USB edition available for libraries and institutions.

Read more

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Don't Take the Bridge

World Premiere

Jasmina Tacheva talks with the Bulgarian playwright Mayia Pramatarova about her latest play that will be performed Off Broadway at the Fourth Street Theatre from Jan 29 to Feb 3, 2013

Mayia Pramatarova - Vladimir Gusev
Photo by Vladimir Gusev

Jasmina Tacheva: Hi, Mayia, how is the preparation for the premiere of Don't Take the Bridge going?
Mayia Pramatarova: There is less than a week left to the premiere! That's the most intense time, when you wish you could split each second in two.

JT: How would you describe the steps from finishing the script to the play's premiere on the stage of Fourth Street Theatre?
MP: The show of comes nine months after the reading of the play. Our team was formed during that reading and this has affected the process. It is very interesting for me to observe how the stage text is built upon its dramaturgic foundation. I find it very fruitful that each member of our team has both European and American theatrical experience - the specific language of the performance occurs at the intersection of the two.

JT: What were the main catalysts for the emergence of this script?
MP: A major challenge for the emergence of the script was the city of New York itself. I have been living there for two years already. The characters in the play meet in this city and both the clash and the attraction between them stem from it. The story is set in an apartment inhabited by passions and mysterious sounds that turn space into an actual character of the play just like they do with, by the way, time as well. Everything is connected and there is no clear articulation of past and present, the real and the imagined, myth and reality. Two of the characters have biblical names Sam(son) and Dalilah, and in some strange way their fates rhyme with things that have already happened in the past.

Jo Jo Hristova, Tony Naumovski, Albena Kervanbashieva, Evgenia Radilova
Photo: Jo Jo Hristova, Tony Naumovski, Albena Kervanbashieva, Evgenia Radilova” Don’t Take the Bridge by Mayia Pramatarova. Staged reading. Director Stavri Karamfilov. Photocredit: Anya Roz

JT: How is your work with the director Stavri Karamfilov going? What about the composer, maestro Gheorghi Arnaoudov?
MP: I've known Stavri Karamfilov for many years and I am glad that our meeting during the's performance of "The Revolver" has lead to a new, mutually enriching and provoking process. Through Stavri I was able to look at the script in a new way, and through his dynamic analyses the cast was able to penetrate the characters and make them come to life. We work as a team and in this sense, the music of Gheorghi Arnaoudov is a continuation of what speech and gestures cannot express. Moreover, it is a character that converses, or enters into a conflict, with the action.

JT: My personal opinion is that one of the unique features of Don't Take the Bridge is the universality of ideas and messages it conveys. In this sense, I am convinced that it will be equally interesting to the American and the European audience alike. How did you achieve this effect?
MP: The world is united and you can't speak local languages ​​without universal ideas. In my work things always happen somewhere between the specific details and the metaphysics of what is going on in the specific moment which affects the characters in seemingly ordinary situations. In this sense, the bridge in the title is as much an actual bridge, as it is something absolutely abstract that connects two separate points in life. Everything, then, is of ambiguous character. And hence the playful nature of the script, elements of which we still keep discovering during the rehearsals and that sincerely amuses us.

Jo Jo Hristova
Photo: Jo Jo HristovaDon’t Take the Bridge by Mayia Pramatarova. Staged reading. Director Stavri Karamfilov. Photocredit: Anya Roz

JT: How did you select the cast members for the show? What can you tell us about the way they impersonate and interpret the characters assigned to them?
MP: There is always the two-way coming-near of the actors to the script and of the script to them, it's a romantic story and it couldn't be anything else under the conditions of work we have to overcome together as a team.

JT: Could you tell us what the stage will look like and what the role of Vladimir Gusev's visual effects will be?
MP: Vladimir Gusev is a man of conceptual thinking who never starts working without a vision built together with the playwright's and director's general visual idea for ​​the show. His decision was to fit the whole story in the context of an apocalypse that has already happened and let the actors approach their respective characters in reverse order, from the tragedy to the beginning which, although bright, romantic and beautiful, has been containing the drama within itself from the very start. Technology is not in isolation but is part of the overall stage canvas.

JT: What can the audience expect from the show?
MP: The viewers won't be mere spectators, there will be no explicit division between those performing and those watching. That is why the show of will be staged in the black box of Fourth Street Theatre, which is not separated with a ramp. We will all be together there and will muse upon our lives in real time.

Albena Kervanbashieva, Tony Naumovski, Jo Jo Hristova, Vanina Kondova, Evgenia Radilova, Sergey Nagorny
Photo: Albena Kervanbashieva, Tony Naumovski, Jo Jo Hristova, Vanina Kondova, Evgenia Radilova, Sergey Nagorny Don’t Take the Bridge by Mayia Pramatarova. Staged reading. Director Stavri Karamfilov. Photocredit: Anya Roz

JT: This is not your first show on an American scene - what makes you continue working and how can you explain the success of your previous performances?
MP: The first two performances of had their premiere in Boston. This time we are dealing with a premiere in New York City and this is a challenge of a different sort. I doubt we would have agreed to do it, was it not for our team work and the support we've been getting at all levels - from colleagues and friends. Our colleagues from Studio Six, a formation of American actors who have received their education at the School of the Moscow Art Theatre, are with us as well.

JT: You are part of radio shows of the Bulgarian National Radio; you write for various Bulgarian and Russian media - is this the projection of the modern person for you – a cosmopolitan that, no matter where he or she is, is never too far from anywhere?
MP: For me, time and space are relative categories and at the same time I am trying to understand why a show has appeared on that stage in that particular time. Vladimir Gusev and I maintain a theater site,, which provides a coordinate system that depicts the location and time of the appearance of a theatrical event, because there are no mere “new shows”, but rather performances that voice specific people in a specific way.

JT: What do you think will happen after the first series of performances of Don't Take the Bridge and how will you proceed?
MP: I have an idea for a new play, but I try to drive it away while rehearsing and take notes, "secretly from myself." The characters have long been in my head, and the specific story occurred to me on the subway, who knows why, but the story lines that bind the non-linear stories of my scripts always dawn on me when I am on the move. Non-linearity is difficult to recreate on stage, it involves a network of relationships and power units and I am glad that we found faithful adherents in the face of the cast: Evgeniya Radilova, Tony Naumovski, Jo Jo Hristova and Albena Kervanbashieva.

JT: Good Luck!

Hristina Hristova, Evgenia Radilova
Photo: Hristina Hristova, Evgenia Radilova Don’t Take the Bridge by Mayia Pramatarova. Staged reading. Director Stavri Karamfilov. Photocredit: Anya Roz

Find out more about the show at

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crime's grand tour: European detective fiction

Crime fiction is a magnifying glass that reveals the fingerprints of history. From Holmes and Poirot to Montalbano and the rise of Scandi-noir, Mark Lawson investigates the long tradition of European super-sleuths and their role in turbulent times

Krister Henriksson as Wallander
A melancholy Swede … Henning Mankell’s Wallander (Krister Henriksson). 
Photograph: Yellow Bird/BBC

One of the functions of fiction is to serve as a kind of tourism, either showing us places, situations and people that we might not otherwise reach or scrolling through snapshots of events or sensations that we remember. Crime stories rarely serve the latter purpose – most admirers of homicide novels will, thankfully, never become or even know a murder victim – but are a perfect illustration of the former.
Throughout its history, crime literature has operated as a sort of imaginative travel agency, taking customers across borders and introducing them to unknown cultures. The story commonly considered the birth of the whodunit – Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841) – was written by an American and set in Paris. Since then, the genre has regularly been a ticket for a Grand Tour.
Agatha Christie, an enthusiastic globe-trotter through her wealth and marriage to an archaeologist, sent Hercule Poirot on the Orient Express, Nile cruises and aeroplane journeys, depicting trips that the majority of her audience was unlikely ever to experience for real. Later in the 20th century, readers, listeners and viewers of detective tales learned about France from Simenon's Maigret and the Netherlands through Nicolas Freeling's Commissaris Van der Valk, who achieved the rare double of topping both the TV ratings lists (in the ITV series starring Barry Foster) and the pop charts, with the Simon Park Orchestra's recording of the theme tune, "Eye Level".

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Talk with Artist Yana Dimitrova

By Jasmina Tacheva
Yana Dimitrova

Hi Yana! How is everything going – did Sandy disrupt any of your plans?
Luckily we have been safe and sound in my part of Brooklyn, only lots of scary winds… 
the “post” Sandy period I think has been much more difficult to cope with in the entire 
city, and it will take a long time for a full recovery.
Common Frequency
Yana Dimitrova and Sebastien Sanz de Santamaria: Common Frequency
atRadiator Gallery
Common Frequency – an exhibition at Radiator Gallery, NYC, featured 
some of your works last month. What was your overall impression of the
 exhibition and can you tell us a bit more about the works you presented 
The basis of the curatorial idea was in my opinion an interesting one. The show was 
curated of creative couples, and it was not necessary that both partners were visual 
artists. It really engaged everyone outside of the individual, and into creating work in 
relation to one another. Ultimately it promoted a rather collective thinking, which to 
me is exciting and very important.
Common Frequency
Common Frequency at Radiator Gallery
This conceptual set up made my partner and I realize how much we influence each 
other, even if not both of us are practicing artist. My work is often inspired through 
conversation and dialogue or I often discuss my ideas with my partner sometimes just 
to understand what I am trying to do, and his response often can push things in 
another direction.
I find that such mindset really creates a fluid, ever evolving matter, and in such most 
exciting things happen. The works that I exhibited were in fact a very direct depiction 
of our domestic life in the United States. The “Eat Faster” is a table cloth with a 
classical pattern with an embroidered text stating “eat faster” interlocked in the design 
of the fabric.
Common FrequencyCommon Frequency at Radiator Gallery
I wanted to suggest the inability of such type of domestic life to sustain, while we eat 
we send e-mails, we work we talk about work, particularly in such place as New York 
you tend to just basically eat faster then ever. With this piece I was interested in 
contradicting the historical relevance of the pattern, the function of a table cloth and its
very inability to sustain itself in that context.
You were born in Bulgaria. In what ways do you think your background 
influences your art?
Recently I have been thinking about what type of work I would have made if I never
 left Bulgaria, and I am certain it will be very different than what I am making at the 
moment. I guess as an art student in the U.S., I went through a number of waves, and 
tendencies, concepts.
Starting from ideas of Melancholy and Nostalgia to political and ideological conceptual 
work, and I find my background prominent in almost everything I have created. I 
moved to the United States with my entire family and this really fractured my 
understanding and idea of “home”. Whichever country I visit, I feel that there is 
something missing, on one side the parents, on the other the culture.
In such position I found myself thinking of concepts of liminality and in-between. The
 space between possibly reality and fiction, home and not, things that are not black or 
white, a state very exciting and rich in many ways as it has endless possibilities. These 
concepts have been key to my practice and conceptual motivation for most of the time
 I have been abroad, so Yes my background is definitely in the very root of my work.
Additionally I am always comparing every day for nearly 11 years now how different 
things are, with just the entire surrounding and understanding of the world, 
How did you decide to become an artist?
I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision, but it feels that I have rather been 
following a way that I always knew is the right choice for me. I vaguely remember one 
day in the kindergarten when we had free drawing time, and the teacher, rather 
“Comrade” at the time, kept expressing how my drawing was the best of all.
My friend who was sitting next to me said: “If you draw this pin exactly as it looks, the 
teacher is right, otherwise I don’t believe you!” So I had to prove that I really can draw, 
and I put forth all of my concentration and drew the pin ( it was of a penguin) and it 
looked exactly the same to me at that time. The girl was so impressed- “OK I believe 
you! It looks exactly the same!” Meanwhile the whole row of students turned at me 
and started asking me to draw those things; it turned into a crazy moment of 
recognition at the age of 6. Then I guess I kept going on and on…
You were educated both in Bulgaria and the United States. Where there 
any significant differences in the teaching methods you were exposed to in 
the two countries?
Indeed, I did feel that the difference was prominent. The very main difference, I think, 
was the approach. In Bulgarian academia, the general idea was that you need to 
master all representational techniques in order to be creative. Here we had a few very 
basic drawing and design introductions but generally after that the big question was: 
what is the idea that supports the very specificity of the use of paint?
Why even paint or draw or any of it? I don’t know if one is better than the other, I
 think sometimes you need more strict structure in order to create something exciting 
in response to that. I find it also problematic that a lot of art schools in the United 
States are very expensive, and that promotes a different kind of thinking.
In my experience after I moved to the U.S. I felt that colleagues and professors were 
too excited about how accurately I could paint in a representational style, and for a lot 
of the students this was a goal. For me the goal was to step away from that and it 
created a sense of confusion in the beginning until I set my own goals.
Jan-Michel Basquiat famously said: “I don’t think about art when I’m 
working. I try to think about life.” What would your response to that be?
I think that the boundary is totally blurred. The world, politics, economics, 
demographics, ideology, your daily coffee, your train ride… it is a way you see the 
world not separate from the world. Everything is interrelated in the means of 
creativity, in my opinion and that connects to exploring different ideas, different 
identities, challenge the world, yourself, others, systems, color, everything. Those 
connections need to exist in order to shape critical thinking in not only the artist’s 
mind but everyone else.
Your works have been exhibited both in America and Europe. Does the 
way the audience perceive your art differ from country to country or even 
from city to city?
Yes, and there are so many factors for that. Of course people respond to different 
things differently, depends on the work and also the context. But generally there is a 
difference in taste and aesthetic that people identify with depending on their 
surroundings, environment, access to information.
This very difference makes things even more exciting to me. The last exhibition I had 
in Atlanta, GA I deliberately created work that might be a bit more critical specifically 
to the demographics there, and this set a tone for an interesting reaction.
Can you tell us about your work space and your creative process? What 
spaces, surroundings or times of the day prove to be most productive for 
I am always ready to create; generally I am so busy all the time that when I am at my 
studio I make sure I am on point. I teach art and mural painting during the day and try 
to spend the early mornings and nights in the studio. I am lucky to say that my space is 
very unique. I work in an old military base which was built in 1917, it was 
predominantly used for redistribution and storing of supplies.
The experience of walking through a tunnel next to a train and surrounded of freight
 balconies is very interesting and inspiring sometimes. It is also very close to the 
Hudson and you can see the statue of liberty, Manhattan, New Jersey, Staten island 
and a lot of cruise ships and police ferries. You can walk on the pier where there are so
 many fishermen, mostly immigrants. I really find it inspiring. You really can see and 
sense the history there, which as a European, it is not something you can experience 
anywhere in the U.S. Funny enough, most of my visitors always associate the building 
with my background coming from eastern Europe.
No too long ago “The Window at 125” showed your installation “You Made 
It.” – a work you designed specifically for that site and with which you ask 
a very important question: “You made it. And now what?”. What would 
your own answer to this be? And could you tell us how you specifically 
“made it” – to the United States, to NYC, to the galleries there – what were 
some of the greatest challenges you encountered on your way and what 
does success mean to you? In other words, when would you feel 
comfortable to tell yourself that you made it?
I think we live in a society that does not want you to believe that you did in fact make
 it, simply because if you did, you will have to feel satisfied. Obviously the current 
consumerist logic does not allow you to be even remotely in that mindset.
 Additionally, if you “made it” it means you need to stop, or start over and both of 
those are extremely difficult ideas to grasp. In my experience I am not concerned with 
“making it” but probably just the idea of not stopping.
I am always running and part of me thinks that because I left my country it is much
 too hard to stop. Productivity, being efficient, being “happy” all of these concepts for 
what might construct a successful person, or a great man who will be making great 
history, are some I often criticize and question in my work. All of these concepts to me 
are in the way some times of human advancing, if you start analyzing the “here and 
now” and do this in a much more detached of yourself way that might be just as valid 
as success.
It is also another very self-motivated idea, in which one competitively excludes 
themself from the whole, and in such remains a split. I walk to my studio I say hello to 
the coffee lady, I get in my space I have time to think and create, I engage in a good 
conversation, I often teach, I have a platform to exhibit and share some of my ideas, 
that is to me success; In ways, appreciating the current while positively engaging
 in the future.
Space seems to play a crucial role in your work – both in your paintings 
and installations: landscapes, an empty swimming pool, interior and 
exterior of buildings, etc. – do you think they have their own meaning and 
existence even when they are completely desolate and abandoned by 
Yes, space is the very invisible matter in which ideology, politics and history lingers. It 
is a very psychologically rich matter; the way space is arranged can manipulate the 
human experience weather you are in the space or observing it. Previously I have been 
so fascinated with the idea of “space in between” or liminality, space in which anything 
can happen or not. Your space immediately reflects on your mindset, it is inevitable.
I often portray the space as a dislocated one, or as a deceptive space, where you feel 
like you could walk in due to the scale but after “entering” such space you realize it is 
criticizing you, and this can be very discomforting. I think this is an important aspect 
of my work, the sense of discomfort in order to experience this very sense of transition.
What message does your art communicate and what do you think the role 
of the artist in our world should be and especially of the “dislocated”, 
traveling artist?
This is a very relevant question, I think it is important that when you do travel from 
one place to another you are aware of how much each side can benefit and work in an 
engaging way, and not as if you never left your previous location. We have been raised 
in a system different than the one in the United States and I find that very interesting 
as a point of reference when we talk about the current times, the world or the future.
The angle in which we see the world is different due to that experience imbedded in us 
(or at least my generation), maybe we are able to see and experience the world from 
many exciting points and facets. With my work I often try to questions those very ideas 
of dislocation, disappointment and effort to success outside of your home place, and 
therefore completely decompose the meaning of the word success.
My aim is to have a critical discussion, not necessarily propose a solution. I think the 
artist’s role is to critically engage in the world, and through a unique way of 
communication suggest a different perspective of everything, sometimes maybe 
shocking, in order to stir people’s idea an perception of the world.
I Don’t Think It’s Funny
You created a unique book called “I Don’t Think That’s Funny”. In it, you 
translate Bulgarian anecdotes into English and accompany them with 
illustrations. Why don’t you think they’re not funny?:) And what’s the 
backstory on this project – how did you come up with the idea?
I Don’t Think That’s Funny
There are so many words and anecdotes that are culturally untranslatable. 
I experience that with Seb, my partner, all the time. He is laughing at how not funny a 
lot of the jokes I tell him are. Another example of lost in translation as a reaction to the 
globalized world, it can’t really translate all the way. It is ridiculous how many times I 
have been in meetings or just with friends in which I would try to say something funny 
and it ends up being totally a disaster, and I thought why not put all of these in a book.
I Don’t Think That’s Funny
I also think there is a very big difference of mentality and what we actually find funny. 
Bulgarian sense of humor is very dark at times and cynical, and here the general crowd 
wouldn’t really think that things that are really taboo are that funny. During the 
opening Seb and I created a collaborative performance, in which we set up a 
microphone a simple spot light and invited the audience to come and recite a joke that 
is not funny. It was actually pretty funny.
I Don’t Think That’s Funny
What are you currently working on?
I Don’t Think That’s Funny
Currently I am finishing a project based on factory workers’ survey I developed, and in 
return I am making works based on their requirements. I am really excited to be 
almost done with it, but I will have to spare the details until I am completely finished.
I Don’t Think That’s Funny
I am also preparing to travel to Amsterdam for 2 month residency program with my 
partner. It is very exciting and a bit frightening to leave New York for this long, but we 
have to keep moving forward wherever that might be! :)
This Interview originally appeared on

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Competitions & Submissions

At The Irish Writers' Centre

Monthly short story competition and reading at the Irish Writers' Centre.
Free entry.
The call is for a new anthology, 'Disobedience', which will be a collection of work by dyslexic writers that will focus on the theme of ‘disobedience and subversion’. That is, the way in which dyslexics are perceived to be defiant and disobedient when 'difference' is misunderstood, or misinterpreted and the kinds of affect this has on ones self-image, sense of self and meaning making. The purpose is twofold, first to give a voice to writers marginalised by prejudices Second, to provide a fresh approach to thinking about dyslexia by opening up a critical debate about authorship.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bombast and the sublime

Torsten Pettersson
Skapa den sol som inte finns. Hundra år av finsk lyrik i tolkning av Torsten Pettersson
[Create the sun that is not there. A hundred years of Finnish poetry in Swedish translations by Torsten Pettersson]
Helsinki: Schildts & Söderströms, 2012. 299 p.
ISBN 978-951-52-3034-8
€25, paperback
In the 1960s my mother sometimes used to amuse herself and us children by reciting, in Finnish, in our bilingual family, selected lines of verse from the half-forgotten poetry canon of her school years.
Eino Leino (died 1926) and the great tubercular geniuses Saima Harmaja, Uuno Kailas, Katri Vala and Kaarlo Sarkia (all dead by 1945) were familiar names to me as a child. Early on, I realised that their poetry was both profoundly serious and also slightly silly, just because of its high-flown seriousness.

Torsten Pettersson, a Finland-Swedish author who is also active as a literature professor in Uppsala, Sweden, has now taken upon himself a task at which few would have been able to succeed: the revivification of this largely dead, or at least convincingly dead-looking, Finnish poetic tradition in Swedish, Finland’s second official language [spoken by some five per cent of the country’s population as their mother tongue]. Pettersson’s extremely idiosyncratic selection Skapa den sol som inte finns presents a hundred and forty-four poems published between 1866 and 1969, written by eighteen poets born between 1834 and 1913.

With regard to the source language – i.e. that he understands what he is translating – I trust Pettersson completely. With regard to the target language, I often wish that he would let go a bit more and venture into even more reworking of details in order to render the whole thing more convincing, and above all make it resonate, seduce or entice, like real poetry.

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