5 minutes with Nora Ikstena

5 minutes with Nora Ikstena

Latvian author of prose, biographies and short stories, Nora Ikstena, will be participating in this year’s London Book Fair discussion Art as a Reassessment and Overcoming of History. The discussion will take place Wednesday 15 March, 10 am, in the Cross Media Collection at London Book Fair. Nora Ikstena is the author of 13 novels and has received the Baltic Assembly Prize for her novel “The Indefinite Was” (2006, Diena Publishing), the Latvian Literature Award for her collection of stories, and other prizes. Her works have been translated into English, Italian, Hindi, Macedonian and Russian. This year, Ikstena’s novel Mother’s Milkpublished as part of the historical novel series We. Latvia. The 20th Centurywill be published by the British Pereine Press.

What was the last book you read?
James Joyce’s Dubliners. I read this book from time to time so that I don’t forget the taste of a real story. In my mind, Joyce’s story The Dead is storytelling gold. When I am reading this story I feel like Joyce’s hero—“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe…’’.

Where did you buy it?
In a small book shop in London near Baker street.

And what did you read it on?
It was a paperback. Complete and unabridged.

What’s next on your reading list?
I am going to read the novel Duna about the so-called thaw in the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death written by the brilliant Latvian prose writer Inga Ābele. She is still unknown for wider world but she also belongs to storytelling gold of modern literature.

Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
If I had a time machine, Isak Dinesen or Karen Blixen for her unbelievable life story and for her Seven Gothic Tales that changed the women’s story telling tradition. In these days, Michael Cunningham for his vital, precise language and for his novel The Hours.

Tell us what you do in 20 words or fewer?
I am a freelance writer. Working in many fields- prose, scripts, biographies. In short- living on and in language.

What do you like about your job?
Freedom, sense, sensitiveness, being between reality and fiction.

What would be the title of your autobiography?
“Observe and Destroy”.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the publishing industry right now?
To still find authors who can create in this crazy world.

When was your first London Book Fair?
This year, 2017. My novel Mother’s Milk will be published this November by Peirene Press in London.

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