Muharem Bazdulj: I Believe that Books and Literature Have a Future

We are dedicating the last week of the Kaleidoscope of Culture  in Novi Sad to literature, and at the very end of the programme we will have an interesting literary conversation in which some of the most widely read regional writers will participate – Muharem Bazdulj, Milica Vučković and Danica Vukićević. The Novi Sad audience will enjoy a literary evening in the Novi Sad District (Biro facility) on Saturday, 14 October, at 7 p.m.

In anticipation of the final event of the sixth Kaleidoscope of Culture, Muharem Bazdulj, a prominent regional writer, journalist and literary translator, winner of several literary and journalism awards, including ‘Stanislav Staša Marinković’ by the daily newspaper ‘Danas’, and ‘Bogdan Tirnanić’ by the Association of Journalists of Serbia speaks for Visit District. Bazdulj is the author of a large number of books, mostly novels and collections of stories, and in the interview he reveals that he is looking forward to coming to Novi Sad, what he is currently working on, and gives readers a few literary recommendations.

As part of the Literature Week at this year’s Kaleidoscope of Culture, you will participate in a literary conversation with two other prominent writers. What are your expectations and are you looking forward to coming to Novi Sad?

I expect a nice and meaningful conversation with the two successful authors, one is from an older generation compared to me, the other from a younger one, so I think that intersection is intriguing and may be attractive to the audience. I always look forward to coming to Novi Sad.

Kaleidoscope of Culture is the best European Trend Brand that lasts for five weeks and combines five types of art. One of them is literature. How important is it to promote this type of art today and how do you see the future of the printed book in the era of universal digitization?

Promotion is, of course, important. Despite digitization, I am convinced that the book has a future. Without language and story-telling, humans would not be humans, and exactly these two happily come together in literature.

How do you comment on the transformation of the District, the spatial legacy of ECoC, where part of the Kaleidoscope of Culture programme is held? It used to be the site of old factories, and today these spaces have been restored and serve the culture and art.

Although I do not live in Novi Sad, I visit it often, and it seems to me that the ‘evolution’ of the location has already happened. I am rooting for it to be even more obvious and even more intense. There are experiences of other European cities that are worth consulting. As in that famous eco-slogan: You should think globally and work locally. In the District, I would say, that trend is already visible.

Which young authors of local contemporary literature, worthy all attention, would you single out?

I like what a young writer who lived in Novi Sad until recently, Srđan Sekulić, does. He writes primarily poetry, but also prose. Marko Bačanović also writes good poetry, atypical for today’s fashion. I also like Mihaela Šumić’s poems.

How important is it today to bring art closer to everyone and how can it help us cope with the challenges we face in this modern age?

It is important that art is accessible to everyone, primarily in the context that it is still a class issue, not only in the context of money, but time. There are people who simply do not get to read as much as they would like. It depends a lot on the overall social situation.

Are you one of those writers who write in a wave of inspiration or do you still think about every sentence as you put the words together? What does your creative process look like?

When inspiration strikes, in my experience, you should use it, like a surfer uses a wave. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity to ‘re-cut’. Thus, my creative process is a combination of effort and wonder, as Marina Tsvetaeva would say.

What are you currently working on and what can we expect in the future?

I am writing a novella which I expect to be finished by the New Year. Part of the story is located in Banat, so not too far from Novi Sad.

What are you currently reading and what books would you recommend?

I am reading the absolutely wonderful book ‘Maniac’ by Benjamin Labatut. I am reading it in English, but since Akademska Knjiga published his previous book in a Serbian translation, I expect this one to be translated soon. I also read the poetry by Paul Muldoon, as well as the historical essays by Otto English. That is on my desk right now.

Authors: Marina Marić and Feđa Putnik

Photo: Petar Milošević, Vladimir Veličković

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