This year the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – are celebrating 100 years of independence with new translations of Baltic Books coming to the UK for the first time and a series of cultural events happening across the UK. The Baltics are also being honoured as the Market Focus at London Book Fair (LBF), the biggest book trade event in the UK. Part of these celebrations is a blog tour. I was asked a while ago if I wanted to take part and since it sounded so interesting, I gladly accepted. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to read any books, but I’ll remedy that shortly. Instead of a review, I’m happy to share a guest post with you, in which Latvian author Kristine Ulberga writes about her writing day.
Kristine Ulberga’s acclaimed novel The Green Crow is a fable about womanhood, individual freedom and the strait-jacket of traditional gender roles. It’s one of Peter Owen’s leading titles for this year, translated from the Latvian by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini. I can’t wait to read it.
Here’s the blurb:
A feminist One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest…
Institutionalized in an asylum, a woman with a record of hallucinations commits her life story to paper. She records, from the age of six, her earliest memories of a drunken and abusive father, the strange men her mother introduced to repair the family, the imaginary forest to which she would run to safety, and, of course, the enormous talking green crow who appeared when she most needed him. The green crow is a conceited, boisterous creature who follows the novel’s nameless protagonist throughout her life, until the day that the crow’s presence begins to embarrass her. Confined to a tedious domestic life, she is desperate to hide the crow’s very existence. Failing to do so, she is placed in a psychiatric hospital. Can she repress and renounce her acerbic, sharp-beaked daemon? Or learn to love herself, bird and all? Ulberga’s The Green Crow is a fable about womanhood, individual freedom and the strait-jacket of traditional gender roles.
And, finally, the most important part of this post, Kristie Ulberga’s guest post.
My Writing Day by Kristine Ulberga
The order of my writing-day varies depending on the life period. B.B (before baby) and P.B (in the presence of my baby). B.B period was quite a boring one, no challenge at all and a lot of unused time. P.B period has been a very productive one, because the essence of Time has changed so very much. Every writing minute while my daughter is napping, has become so very precious.
Though the habits of my working process have not changed almost at all. A big amount of a warm black tea, lap-top, cigarettes and silence in my kitchen, for I do not have a special cabinet for working. Sometimes I seek for something else to do, instead of using my time for writing, because I know that every time I write, it takes some peace of my heart and a lot of living energy. Getting into deep is a pleasure, but at the same time that means entering a strange world, what has nothing to do with the ongoing reality. And then it is a hard work to get out from this depth to take care of my children and do house duties.
In the time of writing my last novel, my daughter was a new-born baby. I tried to use every single minute to go on writing, because of the deadlines. I lived between two worlds – one – the endless love of looking into my child’s eyes and the other – doing the stuff which at the one side is nonsence and just an illusion of the real living. When I am asked if I read books, I always say, that reading is not living, writing is not living. But I cannot throw away the gifts I have been given. The gifts and the burden.
Thank you so much, Kristine, for sharing this with us. It was so interesting. I know from other writers what a challenge it can be to write with a baby. I also know that many are not able to write again until the child is much older or that they only write short and very short fiction.
The Green Crow by Kristine Ulberga, translated from the Latvian by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, will be published by Peter Owen in May 2018.
The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).
Have you read any Baltic literature? If so, what would you recommend?
14 thoughts on “Baltic Books Blog Tour – A Guest Post by Kristine Ulberga”
The Green Crow looks like a fascinating read! Thanks for introducing it. 😀
My pleasure. 🙂 It does sound great.
Sadly I do not think that I have read any Baltic literature. I need to remedy that. Writing under ideal conditions can be challenging. I give credit to anyone who can can do it with a baby.
I haven read any Baltic literature either but I visited a couple of blogs on the tour and they sound so good.
It must be such a challenge to write with a small kid. It’s amazing that she manages to write so regularly.
I haven’t read any either – I obviously need recommendations!
Me too. Some of the authors the others write about sound very fascinating too.
I don’t know if I own any to be honest.
I’d be interested if you find any. I definitely don’t have any.
I’ll have to look for names and then see if I can match to books I own.
Let me know.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing Caroline.
I just read a book called A Journey to Nowhere by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, about his fascination with the former Courland, which is now subsumed by modern Lithuania. But I have never actually read any fiction “from” the Baltics.
My pleasure. I think it’s great they chose the Baltic countries at this year’s London Book Fair. Many sound very interesting. A Journey to Nowhere must have been great.
to Ian: it’s modern Latvia, not Lithuania. But Kaufman’s book is great, at least I liked it a lot. And Ulberga’s Green Crow is one of my favorites.
To all who are looking for literature from Latvia: on this site you can find names and titles, including upcoming translations: http://www.latvianliterature.lv/en/news
Thanks for your comment and the link, Tulkotaja. I appreciate it.