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Swimmers Club

The pioneers of aviation were never lonely

Monday, March 19, 2018


Who: Rosie Šnajdr
What: Writer
Where: Cambridge, UK

Interview with Rosie Snajdr

Why do you write?

My main aim as a writer is to modernise the short story. What modernism did for experimental poetry and the novel is incredible and modernist experimentation still has a huge influence on experimental poetry and, when you put a pin in all the realism, the modern novel. I used to wonder: where are the people trying to find out what the short story form can do? How it can be challenged, perverted, bent, and tamed? Then I decided I could maybe have a go at it.

Can you tell us a bit about a few of the things that influenced you to become a person who writes things for publication?

I’m driven to write and to publish by a sincere desire to develop literature. Whilst I am undeniably influenced by postmodern theory and politics,in terms of artistic tactics I’m a modernist writer devoted to revolution and play; devoted to novelty. Often I begin work by asking myself what can’t I do–write genre highbrow, write a plot circle into linear time (‘Mobius Strip’), puppeteer my characters around a cube (‘The Lost Property’), drive each paragraph with a different character (the ‘Nativity Play’s), write a collection of short stories with an over-arching emotional narrative and argument–then I try and figure out how to do it.

Can you tell us a little bit about your most recently published book? It’s style and what influenced it, etc?

A Hypocritical Reader has a running joke about the absence of T.S. Eliot, despite the ubiquity his name and frequent echoes of his poetry. The reason for that was to pose the question of why the short story seems to have evaded the influence of modernist experiment, despite being a form raised to the level of realist art by modernists. That’s the books argument. There’s also an emotional narrative, a fluctuating temperature-taking of the relationship between the ‘author’ and the ‘reader’ as the stories roll out, as an investigation into their competing demands and desires.

What are you currently working on?

Since finishing A Hypocritical Reader, I’ve written a bingo game for lesbians to play when they are accosted by drunk men in the pub. It’s called ‘Bingo the Drunkman’ and it can be found in the fabulous Liberating the Canon, edited by Isabel Waidner.

Currently, I am working on a new book of integrated short stories. The one I’m working on at the moment explores the possibility of using textual design to spatialise and embody narrative. A concrete prose. Narrative has always been something I’ve subjugated to form; this new work in progress is my attempt to bring functional elements of narrativisation into elements of form. What the pieces are ‘about’ will continue to be an abstract descision made with a view to best colour the form, but I feel that getting the functional aspects of the narrative into the form is a new way to aggress against the linearity of writing, whilst still appearing to tell a story. If I’m not ‘telling a story’, then I’ve cheated my m.o..

Swimmers Club has a focus on the state of the independent culture of the moment (anything from independent presses, record labels, even coffee shops, etc). Any opinions on the current state of independent culture?

Honestly, I feel as though we’re on the cusp of something that I’ve wanted to happen for a long time. As a Co-Editor of the Cambridge Literary Review, I’ve witnessed the extraordinary community that underpins experimental poetry in the UK and lamented the lacking of such an underpinning for experimental prose writing. Something is occurring and, Dostoyevsky Wannabe, you’re a big part of that.

Thanks! What influence, if any, does the city in which you live have on your work?

Cambridge has a lot going on in terms of literature and is home to a lot of interesting writers and performers. Plus, it’s home to The Portland Arms wherein I wrote the majority of my last book. [n.b. I could mention that Cambridge needs to be one of yr DW City books and that I’d like to arrange that here, depending on when you’d like to go public about plans]. (Note to Rosie: Yes! Please do. We’ve love a Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities: Cambridge Edition).

There are some cool Choose Your Own Adventure type moments in A Hypocritical Reader. I think we spoke about this ages ago but I was once tasked with saving the entire Mayan Civilisation via one of those books and I failed to do so (it was quite a lot of pressure for me, I was only around 8 years old). What are your first memories of those books?

My main memory is incredible guilt at re-tracing my steps when I didn’t like the outcome of my first decision. I thought it was cheating and I did it anyway. I hope nobody does that with my book. But I never collapsed an entire civilisation. That is all on you.

Finally, can you swim?

Like a buttered otter.

Buy A Hypocritical Reader by Rosie Šnajdr, it’s OUT NOW on Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

Municipal Pool

Check which is the shallow end and note the point where you will be out of your depth.