One is a CROWD – Jan Kaus

Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Tallinn looks like, meet Jan Kaus!

“To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, to close the writing” ( Roland Barthes) – Do you see yourself as an author and do you agree with this?

On the one hand, I cannot see myself otherwise as an Author – that is, as an origin of a certain text. On the other, my text is open to countless interpretations, which are constantly changing its meaning. Reading is a freedom, a very practical freedom, a certain form of creation – the reader’s glance creates layers and adds colours to the original meaning of the text.

Do you like reader comments and feedback on your texts? What could be the consequences of social editing?  

I consider reader comments crucial to my work. I could not work in a void – in a vacuum. Some of my best ideas have come from the feedback from different readers, beginning with the critics.

Which literary event has fascinated you the most and why?

I am one of the organisers of Tallinn literature festival HeadRead. Understandably, I feel the most affection towards this event because this is something I and my colleagues started practically from scratch and now it has grown to be the biggest international literary event in Estonia.

The photo of me was taken in Tallinn in front of the “Pegasus” restaurant – a legendary place (during the Soviet times it was the main meeting point and local haunt for artists, writers, musicians and other intellectuals).

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