Monday, November 30, 2009

Bolano's Last Interview

Roberto Bolano, who died in 2003, got bits of recognition and some fame - not money- during his last days. Several magazines interviewed him during this time. Meliville House Publishing has published a book compiling Bolano's last interview and other conversations.

Q: Have you shed one tear about the widespread criticism you’ve drawn from your enemies?

A: Lots and lots. Every time I read that someone has spoken badly of me I begin to cry, I drag myself across the floor, I scratch myself, I stop writing indefinitely, I lose my appetite, I smoke less, I engage in sport, I go for walks on the edge of the sea, which by the way is less than 30 meters from my house and I ask the seagulls, whose ancestors ate the fish who ate Ulysses: Why me? Why? I’ve done you no harm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

PEN appeals for release of Liu Xiaobo

A Writer in Peril
Pen American Center has appealed to President Obama to pressurize China for the release of Liu Xiaobo, a dissident writer, who has been detained since Dec 8, 2008 by Chinese authorities.

Liu Xiaobo is a renowned literary critic, writer, and political activist based in Beijing. He was a professor at Beijing Normal University and has worked as a visiting scholar at several universities outside China, including the University of Oslo, the University of Hawaii, and Columbia University. He served as president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center from 2003 to 2007, and holds a seat on its board.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daniel Kehlmann interview

"So much civilization and so much horror...What a combination!"
Daniel Kehlmann publishes an interview with Daniel Kehlmann , the author of "Measuring the World", now regarded as a masterpiece.

"Because fiction is a way to 'correct' the official ways history is written. If you read Humboldt you often get the impression that he does not narrate things exactly the way they happened to him. He cannot have been as relaxed, detached and aloof as he wants us to believe. Therefore in my novel the Humboldt-character often decides to write down things differently from the way they happened - a technique by which I am trying to show what I tried to do as a novelist: giving both versions, mine and his. In some cases my version might even be closer to the truth ... Only a novelist can do that, a journalist or a historian cannot. Only by making a contract with the reader, stating that nothing he or she will read is supposed to be taken at face value, can a novelist give us a form of truth that only literary art can provide."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to fight a dictatorship with a pen

It's lethal to even want to fight a dictatorship. But Herta Mueller, the Romanian writer who got the Nobel Prize this year, fought it ever since she started writing. The consequence being that she was intimadated, chased, interrogated and interned by the secret services all through her life.In the process she had a whole range of experiences of terror unleashed by the state. How did she take it? publishes a great narrative by the writer herself.

For me each journey to Romania is also a journey into another time, in which I never knew which events in my life were coincidence and which were staged. This is why I have, in each and every public statement I have made, demanded access to the secret files kept on me which, under various pretexts, has invariably been denied me. Instead, each time there was signs that I was once again, that is to say, still under observation.

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