Rasa Aškinytė "There are books and there are products" 0

Jurga Tumasonytė
www.kamane.lt, 2015-04-07
Rasa Aškinytė. Photo from a personal archive

In brief: Rasa Aškinytė is already well known to the readers interested in Lithuanian literature. Writer has published three novels, and this year, her book "The man who did not need anything" won the Book of the Year award. But this is only an official pretext for this interview.

I wanted to know how Rasa Aškinytė started her writer's career, whether she exercised and read textbooks on writing. Writer says that it began in 2009, when in a few months she wrote her first novel "Not damaged by the fog." "Until then I had not written a single line of fiction. I have never had "first tries" as a teenager, not later. I have never attended any courses or studied textbooks, I am entirely self-taught," says the author.

Writer belongs to the Writer's Association. She says “it is an honor to be a part of it. All the best writers belong to it, and being among them I feel highly evaluated. The function of this association is more symbolic than real. I believe we should all think what we could provide to it rather than what the association should give to us." Thinking about the opinion of the guild and readers, R. Aškinytė says that both are equally important and also unimportant. "Whether I want it or not I learn about their assessment, but I try, as much as I can, not to pay attention to it. I am afraid, I might (even if unconsciously) start listening to advices and try to make them like me.

Once in a public speech Andrius Tapinas said that he had decided to write a book in a year that would pay off financially, otherwise it would make more sense to receive governmental benefits. I wondered what R. Aškinytė outlook on marketing was and whether she thinks a book should pay off financially. She said "There are books and there are products. I do not know if "unfortunately" of "fortunately" none of my books are a product. There has never been a special marketing or even a simple commercial. I do not have a Facebook account, so I do not self-promote. Definitely some information about my books are spread by others, on social networks. Of course, I never say no to an interview or meeting with my readers.

Writer says she is really surprised that people ask her whether it was hard to write from a perspective of the different gender "Like I was the first one to write like that. And if someone could explain to me what it means to write in a 'feminine' way, I would probably try that."

I wondered what author’s outlook on feminism was. She said she liked all the movements for equal rights. "It is a pity, that in almost all of such movements radicals emerge, the wronged ones forget they were fighting for equal, not better rights. They forget that every fight, first of all, has to be against stereotypes and traditional thinking in our own heads and not against the external enemies."

What does R. Aškinytė do when she is not a scientist of a writer? "I do not think that person is so easily dissociated, like organized by the pushing of a button. Every second, does not matter what we are doing then, we are ourselves. For example, now I am going to clean the windows. Spring has arrived, but I cannot see it through the dirty windows..."

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