Monday, June 27, 2011

Mikhail Shishkin interview

Q:What is your ideal reader like?

Shishkin: Well he stands beside me and likes everything I like. And hates what I hate. The risk with this is that you are left alone with your ideal reader. But I was lucky enough to have lots of real readers in Russia, in my homeland. The prizes are great, so are the stage adaptations, but the most important thing for me was meeting my real readers in the provinces. A year ago I went on a reading tour through the small towns of the Vologda region, a hotbed of small-town mentality. It was a gathering for provincial intelligence: teachers, apothecaries, librarians. And they all had my books on them and were talking about how important they were for them. I found it very moving. The role and importance of literature in Russia is hard to compare with any other country in the world. Reading in Russia is a struggle for self-preservation, for maintaining human dignity in the face of degrading political reality.

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