One is a CROWD – Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo

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 questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist from Finland looks like, meet Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo!

Who are you as a poet/writer/author/artist?

For me, writing is about questions, not answers. It’s not about enlightening me or you, nor about showing us the world as it is. It’s to hover in the shadows, to explore and to wonder.

What kind of literary tradition, authors or concepts have you found inspirational for your work?

What I have found most inspirational has always been authors and texts concerned with the will to renew the literary tradition – in my case contemporary prose, and in particular the novel. The contemporary and popular novel, with its love for plot and characters, fails to offer me the things that I want as a reader, not to mention what I’m looking for as a writer. I’m not a writer looking for a plot or a story to tell, or questions to be answered; I’m more interested in posing the questions, evoking an atmosphere and investigating what I would like to call some kind of emotional existentialism.

What do you think about the current state of the relationship between the author and the reader? Is there a mentionable shift in that relationship through new media as in terms of being alienated on the one hand or being enlivend on the other hand?

The only thing that really worries me is the lack of patience to read longer texts that new media partly is nurturing, and perhaps also a loss of knowledge of how to read and understand larger bodies of text. How this will affect literature and reading, and the significance of literature as a form of art in our contemporary culture, is something we do not know yet. But when it comes to the possibilities for readers and writers to interact through for example social media, and the possibilities to publish texts in alternative forms, there are both pros and cons: this is how we communicate right now, in this world, today – and when it comes to writing, I would say that the will to communicate is one of the main essences, regardless of channels.

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