A Conversation with Tadeusz Konwicki by Victoria Knyszek

Alien in My Homeland

             Mr. Tadeusz Konwicki lived through World War II and his memories and experiences stuck with him throughout his life. His writing style was dark, conveying the anxiety and helplessness he felt while living in war-torn Poland. After serving on the front lines against the Nazi forces, he began writing pieces for newspapers and became the editor of a literary magazine. Sharing a Communist perspective, his work was received by a split nation. Some were in favor of a Soviet way of life and others were set on reestablishing Poland’s prior government. His novels and autobiography can be described as “a loose stream of memories” and compared to his own self-told novel Konwicki criticizes most people’s for having “no dread, no real-life experiences.” His recollections of life are conflicted; when visiting his hometown of Wilno he referred to himself as an alien. The area he recalled had changed immensely in terms of its cultural because of its location in close proximity to both Lithuanian and the Russian Federation. In The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Konwicki makes the comparison “If we look at America, I, as an unprofessional observer, see that the American South is closest to this ethos. Why? Because of a mixture, a clash of cultures.”

Tadeusz stood out to me initially because I wanted to discover a Polish writer that had a different style. His story behind his body of work and the way he conveyed it truly displayed his unique voice. Even his novels, he explains his characters and plot as a representation of his own life; “Everything started with me” he said. Konwicki’s own experiences is what he felt he knew best. He also described himself as “an exceptional outsider” but still would “show up in the city; make jokes and so on.” These words connected with me on a much deeper level than I had anticipated. I in the same way feel that I am different than everyone while still constantly surrounding myself with other people. I enjoy making other people happy; however, I personally am not.

Had I been given the opportunity to speak with Mr. Konwicki before his death in 2015, I would have asked him about his relationship with his wife. I imagine it to be based on love and support. He must have adored her as he spoke of women as a “mystery” and mentioned that his generation was “intrigued by women” not at all how men write about them today. I, being a Catholic as he was, would have asked him how his faith shaped him as a person and affected his writings. Assuming his response, he would have said his religion humbled him and gave him hope through his time fighting on the front lines.

Tadeusz most famous works included:

  • Przy budowie (At the Construction Site) – 1950
  • Rojsty (The Marshes) – 1956
  • Ostantni dzien lata (The Last day of Summer) – 1958
  • Sennik wspoczesney (A Dreambook for Our Time) – 1963
  • Zwierzocztekoupior (The Anthrops-Spectre-Beast) – 1969
  • Kompleks polski (The Polish Complex) – 1977
  • Mata apokalipsa (A Minor Apocalypse) – 1979
  • Wschody I zachody ksiezyca (Moonrise, Moonset) – 1981
  • Bohin (Bohin Manor) – 1987



Title: Wikipedia : Tadeusz Konwicki

Website Set Up: Biography followed by a list 0f writings and films

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tadeusz_Konwicki

The website is headed with a bulleted list of the page’s contents including Life, Literary Works, and References. There is also general information provided in a box separate from the test. It gives date of birth and death, occupation, as well as a dated picture of the writer. After providing a brief synopsis of his life and summarizing famous work, the page lists references used for this source. I loved the “Categories” of related topics included at the bottom allowing readers to explore other subjects after learning about Mr. Konwicki.

Interview with Roger Boylan by Jack

After scanning some of the authors, I finally decided to choose Roger Boylan. The main reason I chose Roger Boylan was because of his unique multi-cultural background and surprising answers to some of the interview questions posted by Eamonn Wall. His unique perspective and writing style combine different cultures, and express his unique understanding of multi-cultural literature which I am very interested about. I can strongly feel his passion for writing through the interview. I can tell that he must be a very good writer with plenty of knowledge and great passion.

Roger Boylan was an American writer but grew up in Europe and Ireland. After attending the University of Ulster and the University of Edinburgh, he worked as a translator, computer technician, teacher, and book editor. His first novel Killoyle was published in 1997. Currently, Roger lives in San Marcos with his wife. He is on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University as a lecturer in creative writing. His novels includes Killoyle, The Great Pint-pulling Olympiad, and The Adorations. As a critic and essayist, he has been a regular contributor to Boston Review and The New York Times Book Review. Roger’s articles and reviews also appear in many other well-known publications, including The Economist, Context, and The Scotsman.

If I can get a chance to have a conversation with Roger Boylan, I would ask him three questions. The first question I want to ask is: what is your opinion about the differences and similarities between Irish and American literature writing style? I expect he can give me some specific examples and some general ideas. The second question would be: is there anyone or any books that inspire him to form his own multi-cultural writing style? The last question I am curious about is: what does he set out to achieve in his writing, and what is his purpose.

Website Link: http://www.rogerboylan.com/.

After searching on Google, I found out about Roger Boylan’s website. This website is edited by Roger Boylan himself. The website mainly gives a brief introduction of Roger Boylan, and also gives descriptions and reviews of his books in English, German, and Italian. Overall, the website design is very good and friendly to readers. The title is big enough to attract readers. Under the title, there is a horizontal navigation bar to help readers to quickly reach. The information and resources are enough to introduce Roger to someone does not know him before, and the website uses many pictures to help illustrate Roger’s book and Roger himself which makes the website more vivid to readers. Besides, there are also many links in different paragraphs to help reader navigate to his books.

Roger Boylan has written many books through his life time. Below is a list of his famous publications.

  • Killoyle, An Irish Farce, Dalkey Archive Press (1997)
  • The Great Pint-Pulling Olympiad, Grove Press (2003)
  • Killoyle, Eine Irische Farce. Translated by Harry Rowohlt. Published by Rogner and Bernhard, Hamburg (1999)
  • Rückkehr nach Killoyle: Eine Vorwiegend Irische Farce. Translated by Harry Rowohlt. Rogner and Bernhard, Hamburg (2002)
  • The Maladjusted Terrorist. Forthcoming in English.
  • Killoyle Wein und Käse. Translated by Harry Rowohlt. Rogner and Bernhard, Berlin (2006)
  • The Adorations. Olympiad Press (2012)
  • Run Like Blazes. Duvel Press (2011)

Interview With Kuzufumi Shiraishi by Kesi

     I chose this author, Kazufumi Shiraishi, for several fate-ish reasons. Shiraishi was born in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture. Given that I am a secondary Japanese major, if there was ever I time I had to research contemporary Japanese authors I could pull this article out of my archive. Secondly, in the interview, the title of the novel of interest, “Me Against the World” piqued my interest and invited me to view a unique narrative,of an individual’s struggle within society. I share initials and sympathize with the character that Shiraishi depicts “Mr. K”.  When researching the author, I acknowledged and realized that I shared several viewpoints with him.

     The author’s free-willed novel has no story line but presents a fictional discovery of a manuscript that holds Mr. K’s outlook of society, wars and the afterlife. The author establishes his position that there will never be a “just” government and the dreams and expectations that humans have for politicians are quickly fleeting. Shiraishi references that in history, governments were able to provide for their nations because the earth had more exploitable resources. Now that resources are drying up, governments are finding it more difficult to showcase their power and usefulness to their people; this backs up how people expect too much from the government. The author also attacks the sentiment that people have towards victims of war, especially children. Society broadcasts images of victimized children in order to hit on the emotions of humans and form their repulsion for war. However Shiraishi claims that if humans require the death of a child to recognize the faults of war, then “ninety percent of the world’s children will have to die first” before wars cease to exist.The author uses Mr. K, to depict his personal clashing love and hate for humanity. He presents the case that “if there is no death, there is no love”, to show that humans have washed out the value of “love” and abuse love to justify fighting against terrorism as well as wars. He wishes for humans to rediscover the “foundations of love” as mortality; coping with the fact that one day we will pass from this world.

     The author, Shiraishi, takes after his father as a novelist and even won the same Naoki Prize that his father did. After graduating from college, Shiraishi worked as an editor and during his free time wrote his first novel, “A Ray of Light” (2000). He quit his job three years later and became a full time writer. His works are translated to English by Dalkey Archive Press. As a successful contemporary Japanese writer, he currently resides in Tokyo with his wife. Shiraishi’s running list of translated novels includes:

  • A Ray of Light (2000)
  • The Part of Me That Isn’t Broken Inside (2002)
  • Me Against the World (2008)
  • Remove That Arrow from Deep in My Heart (2009)
  • To An Incomparable Other (2009)
  • The Lightless Sea (2015)

     If I was able to interview Shiraishi I would question whether he experienced love as he described how it should be in “Me Against the World”. I would hope that his answer would be more positive but I wouldn’t be surprised if the novels he wrote represented his true nature. I would ask him then whether his propositions are meant to be practiced haphazardly or to their full intent. He might mention that his unique perspective might seem worrisome; but that’s only due to its radical sense. The overall goal he is trying to display is that such a thing like peace does not come with the world’s current mindset. Lastly I would ask him how he felt about the US election. If he would mention anything it would most likely be that people hold too much faith in their government to change how they live their own lives. They need to shift their focus away from politicians to notice other issues around them.

Title: J’Lit | Author’s Kazufumi Shiraishi

Format: Biography with related facts

Rating: 3 out of 5

Source: http://www.booksfromjapan.jp/authors/item/24-kazufumi-shiraishi

Flann O’Brien and John O’Brien


Flann O’Brien

Flann O’Brien is the author on the list, but I accidentally picked John O’Brien at first. It’s very interesting to learn two writers with a same last name.

Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen was the pen name of Brian O’Nolan (1911-1966). He was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist. He was taught in English in college, and started showing his interest and talent on writing. In the University College, Dublin (UCD), he was a member of Literary and Historical Society, writing some controversial articles. His early works greatly affect his novels in the later life. Besides, he was also an Irish government civil servant, supporting his huge family after his father dead. He published some works using two different pseudonyms, which forced him to retire from this job. He was alcoholic, and suffered from cancer and diseases in his later years and dead from a heart attack, having no child in his life.

List of Works:

Published as Myles na gCopaleen


  • An Béal Bocht / The Poor Mouth (Irish: 1941; English: 1973)


Selections of Cruiskeen Lawn Columns have been published in seven collections:


  • The Best of Myles
  • The hair of the Dogma
  • Further Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn
  • Flann O’Brien at War: Myles na gCopaleen 1940-1945
  • Myles Away from Dublin
  • Myles Before Myles
  • The Various Lives of Keats and Chapman


As Flann O’Brien


  • At Swim-Two-Birds (1939)
  • The Hard Life (1962)
  • The Dalkey Archive (1964)
  • The Third Policeman (1968)
  • Slattery’s Saga Saga (unfinished)




This website gives biographical introduction of Flann O’Brien. Talking about his life and his works in many details. However, this website contains too much word and less organized, which is hard for a person first leaning him to catch a brief introduction of Flann O’Brien.

The Atlantic


The article has a very attraction title and subtitle. It begins with a nice picture. For the texts below, it gives brief introduction of his life and his work, also highlights his famous quotes. The author also gives some interpretation of his radical ideas and his characteristics.



This website gives a several sentence of introduction of who Flann O’Brien is and listing 10 most famous quotes he had in his works. This website is better for the readers who already have an brief idea of who he is, and know some of his works, better understanding his writing and thinking styles.


I picked Flann O’Brien is because there are lots of interesting things on Flann O’Brien. Dalkey Archive Press is named for his novel The Dalkey Archive, which is a great coincident for this assignment particularly.  It was very interesting that as a governor who was prohibited to write current event in newspapers and publishing personal thoughts, Brian O’Nolan still did it. He had huge pressure feeding 10 siblings’ family. He needed this secure and high-paid job. His writings were funny and sometimes upsetting politicians. If I have a chance to make an interview with him, I would ask:

When did you thinking to use two different pen names to publish your work? How you do decide which name to use? Have you ever thinking your family when you are publishing your critical articles using other pen names during your civil service period? Even that Brian O’Nolan, Flann O’Brien and Myles na gCopaleen were the name person was an open secret among your colleagues, and you know there is a high risk to lose your job, have you ever feel regret of your decision to publish them?


Flann O’Brien was alcoholic, but not as intense as John O’Brien. Flann did crazy things, but readers can tell that he is a optimist person, from his humor languages and writing styles. If saying him was more like a rat standing on a waterlily leaf in the center of the lake, where he screamed and shouted out, then the John would just use his nails scratching the leaf, then jumped into the lake.


John O’Brien

John O’Brien was an American novelist, most famous of his work Leaving Las Vegas. He was born in Ohio State on 21 May 1960, living in different part in America for years. He published his first novel Leaving Las Vegas in 1990 by Watermark Press. In 1995, the same novel was made into a film. Two weeks after knowing his novel was to be made into a film, he ended his young life by gunshot. Three other novels were published by his dad after his death.

John O’Brien’s Work:

  • Leaving Las Vegas (1990)
  • The Assault on Tony’s  (1996)
  • Stripper Lessons  (1997)
  • Better: a novel (2009)




Goodreads website gives a brief introduction of his life, providing an picture, and gives the link, rate of his four novels. In the bottom of the page, selected quotes from John O’Brien was listed. The overall appearance of this website is clean. Clicking on each book will lead to another page with brief summary of the novel.



This page is written by an editor of Watermark Press, recording his interaction with John O’Brien, focusing more details like the title mentioned, his great novel Leaving Las Vegas and his death. This website contains lots of details of his certain period of life and more like a journal. This page contains too many words, which is not an good source for a person first know him.


John O’Brien was alcoholic since his early teenage. His father said Leaving Las Vegas was a reflection of his inner characteristics and thoughts. His sister Erin O’Brien explained that “While John’s life and death had many parallels with his character Ben Sanderson”. Ben in this novel was also alcohol addicted, calling himself “angel” but with no hope for his life. If I have a chance to interview this person, I would ask him:

The person under your pen is full of negative thoughts, disappointing with the surrounding life. His life is cruel and dark, if you have a chance to make some change, would you like to save his life?

I chose John O’Brien, because he was very special. He only have one work published during his lifetime. He committed suicide only in an age of thirty. I am very interesting in how great the suicide rate among writers. His experience caught my eye. He dead in a hotel in Los Angeles, with many bottles of Vodka around him. The reason of his suicide sounds crazy that his novel was to be made into a movie. He expressed how he hated his alcohol addiction in other novels. He could not stand to publish his disappointment. This great tension from society and himself ended his life. The author in LynnCinnamon website said “The wills of others can destroy our lives, unknown random events can kill or cripple us at any moment, but the damage that we are capable of doing to ourselves is the scariest reality of all” after reading both the book and the film of Leaving Las Vegas.


Work Cited

Cinnamon, Lynn. Web. Feb 18, 2017.



Interview with David Markson

I decided to write about David Markson because he was the author of the most popular fiction book on the site called Wittgenstein’s Mistress. He was the author of many postmodern novels. Markson was educated at Union College and Columbia University. His career began as a journalist, book editor, and college instructor. Malcolm Lowry was a big influence in Markson’s writing career. Markson spent several weeks with him in New York after Markson graduated from Columbia. He published his first novel in the late 1950s but he didn’t gain popularity until the 1980s. Wittgenstein’s Mistress was known as his most popular piece, even though it was first rejected 54 times before being published. The book is an experimental novel about a woman who thinks she is the last person on earth. She makes a series of statements on western cultural icons in the first person. He later published a book of poetry, a study of Malcolm Lowry, and The Ballard of Dingus Magee which was later turned into a movie.

Markson’s works included,

  • Epitaph for a Tramp Dell, 1959.
  • Epitaph for a Dead Beat Dell, 1961.
  • The Ballad of Dingus Magee; Being the Immortal True Saga of the Most Notorious and Desperate Bad Man of the Olden Days, His Blood-Shedding, His Ruination of Poor Helpless Females, & Cetera Bobbs-Merrill, 1965.
  • Miss Doll, Go Home Dell, 1965.
  • Going Down Holt Rinehart Winston, 1970.
  • Springer’s Progress Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1977.
  • Malcolm Lowry’s Volcano: Myth, Symbol, Meaning Times Books, 1978.
  • Wittgenstein’s Mistress Dalkey Archive, 1988.
  • Collected Poems Dalkey Archive Press, 1993.
  • Reader’s Block Dalkey Archive Press, 1996.
  • This Is Not a Novel Counterpoint, 2001.
  • Vanishing Point Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004.
  • The Last Novel Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007.

If I were to interview David Markson I would ask him why he writes in such an unconventional and experimental way. Markson said that he gets some of his writing style from Malcolm Lowry and William Faulkner. I would also ask him why he decided to go visit Malcolm Lowry after graduated. He spent several weeks learning from Lowry in New York. Also, I would ask how he was able to stay focused after not getting anything published for a long time. His first published novel was in the 1950s and he didn’t gain recognition until the 1980s.


Title: David Markson

The website is a biography with many links to other sources.

Author: Anonymous

Rating: 4 out of 5

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Markson

Author Profile: Zoran Zivkovic

Zoran Zivkovic

To be completely honest, I originally chose this writer because he has the same surname as the composer that wrote the vibraphone solo I played a few years ago, and there was a small part of me that thought “maybe it’s the same guy?” I quickly realized that he was not in fact the same man, but as I read more about him, the more intrigued I became.

Zivkovic was born on October 5, 1948, in Belgrade, Serbia. He fell in love with literature at a very young age, and in 1979 he received his master’s degree from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade. Three years later he received his doctorate from the same school, and then went on to become a full time professor at the school, were he still teaches Creative Writing to this day. Zivkovic has been awarded nine different literary awards since 1994, and has written over thirty works, becoming one of the most translated European authors to date. Most information on Zivkovic can be found on his personal wordpress page, zoranzivkovic.com.

The thing that drew me into to Zivkovic, was an interview between him and Ana Lucic. In this interview, he described his struggles with translating his works during the beginning of his carrier. Living in Serbia, Zivkovic had very limited means of getting his writing to the people, as only a very small population of the world speaks Serbian, and Serbian to English translators are very scarce and very expensive. Zivkovic preserved though, and has now become a very successful European author and translator.



  • Fiction
    • “The Fourth Circle” (Četvrti krug, 1993)
    • “Time Gifts” (Vremenski darovi, 1997)
    • “The Writer” (Pisac, 1998)
    • “The Book” (Knjiga, 1999)
    • “Impossible Encounters” (Nemogući susreti, 2000)
    • “Seven Touches of Music” (Sedam dodira muzike, 2001)
    • “The Library” (Biblioteka, 2002)
    • “Steps through the Mist” (Koraci kroz maglu, 2003)
    • “Hidden Camera” (Skrivena kamera, 2003)
    • “Compartments” (Vagon, 2004)
    • “Four Stories till the End” (Četiri priče do kraja, 2004)
    • “Twelve Collections and The Teashop” (Dvanaest zbirki i Čajdžinica, 2005)
    • “The Bridge” (Most, 2006)
    • “Miss Tamara, The Reader” (Čitateljka, 2006)
    • “Amarcord” (Amarkord, 2007)
    • “The Last Book” (Poslednja knjiga, 2007)
    • “Escher’s Loops” (Esherove petlje, 2008)
    • “The Ghostwriter” (Pisac u najam, 2009)
    • “The Five Wonders of the Danube” (Pet dunavskih čuda, 2011)
    • “The Grand Manuscript” (Nađi me, 2012)
  • Nonfiction
    • “Contemporaries of the Future” (Savremenici budućnosti, 1983)
    • “The Starry Screen” (Zvezdani ekran, 1984)
    • “First Contact” (Prvi kontakt, 1985)
    • “The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction”, I-II (Enciklopedija naučne fantastike I-II, 1990)
    • “Essays on Science Fiction” (Ogledi o naučnoj fantastici, 1995)
    • “On Genre and Writing” (O žanru i pisanju, 2010)
    • “The Clay Writer: Shaping in Creative Writing” (Pisac od gline — oblikovati u kreativnom pisanju, 2013)
    • “Challenges of Fantastika” (2013)
  • Anthologies edited
    • “The Devil in Brisbane” (2005)
    • “Fantastical Journeys to Brisbane” (2007)



I think if I were to conduct a short interview with Zivkovic, the first thing I would want to know is why he never gave up when the language gap between Serbian and the rest of the world was so significant. I believe it is safe to assume that he preserved because of his love for writing, and he wasn’t going to let any language barriers stand in his way. Zivkovic is one of those writers that doesn’t do it for the fame or the money, he does it because he wants everybody to have access to all literature imaginable. I would also ask him what got him into the subject of science fiction and speculative fiction. I believe his response would highlight the fact that he doesn’t really enjoy the limitations that genre prefixes entail, that he just writes what he feels and what he perceives, and it just so happens to fall under that category.



Title: “A Conversation with Zoran Zivkovic By Ana Lucic”

Format: Interview

Author: Ana Lucic

Rating: 9/10, very comprehensive with well thought out questions and responses

Source: http://www.dalkeyarchive.com/a-conversation-with-by-ana-lucic/


Title: “Zoran Živković: A Biographical Sketch”

Format: Biographical Article

Author: Michael A. Morrison

Rating: 7/10, provided quality information but it was a little impersonal and failed to provide a comprehensive list of works

Source: https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/2011/november/zoran-zivkovic-biographical-sketch


Works Cited

Europa SF. “Writing In Languages Other Than English – Zoran Živković.” Europa SF The European Speculative Fiction Portal. WordPress, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

Lucic, Ana. “Interviews.” Dalkey Archive Press. Dalkey Archive Press, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

Morrison, Michael A. “Zoran Živković: A Biographical Sketch.” World Literature Today. World

Literature Today, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.

“Zoran Zivkovic.” Zoran Zivkovic. WordPress, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.