Photo by Mattias Blomgren (Wikimedia Commons)
Despite living in the US for almost 30 years (he's a professor of European Literature and Writer in Residence at Bard College) and being a distinguished polyglot, Romanian-born Manea continues to pen his impressive body of work – novels, memoirs and essays – in his native language. Deported to a concentration camp as a Jewish child, and a dissident during the Communist regime (experiences he recounted in The Hooligan's Return), Manea talks about exile and his traumatic relationship to his country like no one else. He'll be reading from his latest collection of essays, The Fifth Impossibility (2012) on Sep 17 at 19:30.
Three-word alliterative self-description: Timid, tense, tenacious .
Why write: To postpone my death.
When/where: Whenever my body and mind allow me, in my Bard home.
Writing aids: Despair.
Defining literary moment: Moments, rather. The Nazi concentration camp, the communist dictatorship, exile in the free market globalism...
Advice to a young writer: Dear Friend, you should know that you start a very difficult, taxing and useless profession.
What would you be doing if you were not writing? Reading.
What would you like to be remembered for? I don't believe in posterity.