Bibliotopia 2024 | Interview with Pajtim Statovci and Rumena Bužarovska

“Grappling with Social Conventions and Wartime Violence”
Moderated by Daniel Medin

Pajtim Statovci, a Finnish writer of Kosovar origin, teaches comparative literature at the University of Helsinki. His work, widely published internationally, includes three novels: “My Cat Yugoslavia” (Pushkin Press, 2017, Helsingin Sanomat Literary Prize), “Crossing” (Pushkin Press, 2019), and “Bolla” (Faber & Faber, 2022), all translated into English by David Hackston. Winner of the prestigious Finlandia Prize in 2019, “Bolla” draws on Albanian mythology to tell the story of a consuming passion between two men, thwarted by homophobia, a repressive society, and the violence of war.

Rumena Bužarovska, originally from Northern Macedonia, is a fiction writer, translator, and professor of American literature and translation at the University of Skopje. Her collection of short stories “My Husband” (Dalkey Archive, 2019, tr. Paul Filev), published in many languages and adapted for the stage, consists of eleven revealing scenes from married life. Women tell candid stories of their husbands, and question the idea of coupledom, limited by social conventions and marred by disappointments – all told with cruel and caustic humour.

Fondation Jan Michalski, Sunday 24 March 2024