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Miro Gavran Interview Vecernji List – Marinko Krmpotic

  1. It has been 40 years since the appearance of “Creon's Antigone”, your brilliant debut that immediately caught the public's     attention. What were the literary aspirations of the young man named Miro     Gavran back then? Did you perhaps have a sense that things would be at     least somewhat like they are today?

Even back then, I knew withcertainty that I wanted to dedicate my life to writing. I hoped to reach asmany people as possible with my texts, but I must admit that reality exceededeven my wildest dreams from that time. It is an exceptional privilege to beable to live off writing and for writing, and I am grateful to God for that.

  1. Being in literature for forty years is neither easy nor simple. Yet, it seems that in the past two years, you have been     working more than ever – theater, Matica Hrvatska, the poem “Defense of     Jerusalem”, a book of selected dramas, and now a four-hundred-page     novel... What is happening? Where does so much energy come from?

As time goes by, both awriter's literary and life experience grow. I feel that the emotional andexperiential reservoir is getting deeper, and I can draw more complex storiesfrom it. And what is most beautiful: I enjoy writing just as I did when I was sixteen,during summer holidays when I wrote my first five or six short stories and feltjoy in that play with words. Writing has never been a problem for me... Travel,experiments, literary performances, and leading a large institution I am incharge of require more energy, but the unusual results give me new strength andhelp me, at times, surpass my physical and psychological limitations. Contactwith concrete, harsh life is invaluable for writers in the long run.

  1. “Portrait of a Soul” is a powerful novel about art and the life of an artist. You often turn to this theme. What     initiated the creation of this novel?

My life initiated this novel,as well as the need to create a complex text that not only recapitulates mylife but also all the emotional states that were close to me and dear to thepeople around me. It is also a kind of recapitulation of the time I have lived,and I mean the past six decades. It involves personal stories of differentcharacters, from those on the margins of society to those engaged in art, withthe backdrop reflecting the Croatian reality over the past six decades. A lotis described in the novel, many characters with their dramas and thoughtlessmoves, without passing judgment on anyone.

  1. The story of Benjamin is conveyed to us by seven women using various forms of expression. Where did the idea for such an     approach come from?

As a reader, I noticed thateven the best international and domestic authors can
“put me to sleep” with straightforward, expected storytelling. Therefore, Iwrote each of the seven chapters in a different literary and non-literarygenre, so one chapter is a long letter, one a grand narrative, one an onlinecorrespondence, one a chapter of memoirs, one a poem, one a war report, and onea ninety-page film script. I know many people who have seen thousands of moviesin their lives but have never held a screenplay in their hands. By changingperspectives and storytelling methods, I believe I provide the reader withplenty of surprises and satisfaction because in this novel, they get a complexand clear plot that would suffice for four novels of average length. With thisnovel, I surprised my readers and myself. Fortunately, the readers' reactionshave been extremely positive, so the effort paid off.

  1. How long did the writing take? The impression while reading is that everything flows easily. Was it really like that?

I always strive to write anovel that is easy to read. Writing this novel took a little over three years,and it wasn't easy. I created six different versions... But now, when it's alldone, it no longer matters. The path a writer takes to the final versiondoesn't have to be significant to the reader.

  1. Behind you, if I'm not mistaken, is your most extensive novel. What is the experience of creating such a substantial     text?

The longer and more complexthe process of creating a novel, the greater the satisfaction when reaching thegoal. You've correctly noticed that this is my most extensive novel. Except for“John the Baptist”, all my other novels are relatively short.

  1. Recently, the fourteenth GavranFest was held in Prague, a festival dedicated exclusively to performing your dramatic     texts. What are your impressions, and how do you explain the constant and     significant interest in performing your dramas outside of Croatian stages,     where you are also well represented?

The impressions are fantastic.Selector and producer František Karoch did an excellent job. The 14thGavranFest brought extremely high-quality performances from the Czech Republic,Croatia, and Germany, with top-notch actors and excellent directors, and, mostimportantly, I personally witnessed the warm reception from the discerningCzech audience. Going to the theater is an integral part of life for Czechs. Itis enough to say that Prague, which is twice the size of Zagreb, has as many as140 theaters, while Zagreb has only about ten. In addition, this festival alsomarked the twentieth anniversary of the first GavranFest, held in 2003 at theJan Palárik Theatre in the Slovak historic city of Trnava. The festival hasbeen held in as many as five countries. In addition to four editions inSlovakia and six in the Czech Republic, there were two editions in Germany, inAugsburg, and one each in Krakow, Poland, and Belgrade, Serbia. There areliving writers who have been honored with a festival in their own country, butthere is no living playwright in the world who has had a festival dedicated tohis theatrical plays in five countries, none of which are his homeland. I amextremely grateful to the organizers from these five countries. In the CzechRepublic, I currently have as many as six live performances, three of which arein Prague.

  1. What are your future plans related to literature and theater?

Just these days, TheaterGAVRAN is beginning to perform my plays in the Small Hall of Lisinski in frontof the Zagreb audience. These include the plays “Ice Cream”, “Everything AboutMen”, “Everything Will Be Fine”, “Spokesperson”, and “Coffee at Noon”. InNovember, we are also taking “Coffee at Non” to Oslo, Norway, and Pécs,Hungary. In February, Theater GAVRAN is preparing the premiere of my new comedy“The Happiness Agency”, and until May, I have premieres in Graz, Tel Aviv,Prague, Vinkovci, and Dubrovnik. Of course, in the months ahead, there willalso be a series of promotions for my new novel “Portrait of a Soul” inCroatia, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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