Bojan Babić, European writer. And yes, our copywriter. We had a short chat.
Currently, you are on a mini book tour – Umeå in Sweden, Savamala festival at the Mixer House, Vršac. Are you having a good time? Where did you find it most interesting?
I am having a great time. I am fond of this sort of travels and festivals, and people I get to spend time with. It all makes me feel as though the whole adventure with literature, that lasts for a few decades now, makes sense. I found the trip to Umeå in northern Sweden the most interesting so far. Imagine a city with roughly 80 hundred inhabitants organizing a large book festival that normally fills up a hall as big as the one at the House of Trade Unions (Dom sindikata), and everyone is expected to pay a ticket. Besides, over there, it is usually rather cold, and during the first couple of days the temperature suddenly raised to a few degrees over zero. Hundreds of young people in short sleeves rushed to river shores, sat on benches under the strong sun, and the river, which was still frozen at the time, was steaming on the surface while the ice was melting. Fantastic scenery.
Recently, one of your stories was published in Islandic. How did it come to that? What other languages was your body of work translated into? Have you ever read one of your texts in another language and tried to understand it :)?
Translations of my prose to Swedish and Islandic happened thanks to my one-month residency in the Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators in Gotland (island in the Baltic See), as well as many people over there I had a chance to meet last year. The texts seem absolutely incomprehensive to me, but I had a chance to hear what my story sounds like in Swedish and I would have to say that it was a touchy moment. Parts of my books, other than already mentioned languages, were translated into English, German and Albanian.
Do you sometimes find it hard to switch from advertising mode to literary, and the other way round?
I don’t think about it anymore. I don’t do psycho analysis of my creative process. Whether I like it or not, I feel like doing it or not, whether I were in optimistic, or more often pessimistic mood, I turn my brain on in the morning and start the action, jump from one topic to another, from acceptance to criticism, from affirmation to negation, and back. All I want at the end of the day from all that chaos is to squeeze out at least a tiny bit of sense. I hope I sometimes manage that, both in terms of advertising and literary art.
You are working on a new book. Could you give us a little sneak peek?
No matter what I write about, the text always brings me to topics of sexuality, politics and death – or perhaps they are all aspects of one same topic. The same thing happened this time. In the next novel, under the working title Chaplin’s feet, among other things, I look into topics of old age and euthanasia. Given that the great Balkan tradition has a strong hold on lives of all of us, this also referrers to death, so the novel describes euthanasia, which our local contractors do on the black market, for small amounts of money :)