An Interview with Matthias Politycki

Here is an interview with Matthias Politycki, the author of Next World Novella. It was a pleasure interviewing him. Here goes:

1. Why the topic of marriage? What drove you to write about a couple?

Well, I AM married. And the longer I am, the more I am afraid that some future day I won’t any longer – at the latest when one of us will die. Isn’t that the ultimate horror, to find the beloved person dead, as the protagonist of „Next World Novella“ does? Maybe it was nothing else but worries that made me write.

2. When did you first decide to become a writer and why?

At about 15. And why? Because I was in love with a girl that definitely wasn’t in love with me. Writing poems helped, reading them to friends and getting their response seemed to help even more.

3. What inspired you to write Next World Novella?

A nightmare, including all the shimmering light, the floating colours, even the smell described on the very first pages of book, and all that and more in precise details. I was so overwhelmed by the dream that I could only get rid of it by inventing more horror to top the initial one.

4. Your literary influences…

Kafka, Eichendorff, Brentano, Laurence Sterne, Diderot, Hofmannsthal, Nietzsche, Benn, Hemingway … only to name a few. The more you think about influences, the more you accept having been influenced – one way or another – by nearly every book. Even the bad ones make you think, don’t they, make you think WHAT makes you feel so bad while having read them. Maybe you can learn more about writing when NOT being pleased by a book?

5. Matthias as a writer…

I don’t have a daily writing routine; to be honest I love days, weeks, months without writing at all. What makes me write is … if nothing else helps, in order to get rid of an experience, a thought, a certain emotion, phantasy, whatsoever. Writing to me is not a job to be done, but the only means to get back to those happy days when there is no need at all to write.

6. Matthias the reader…

If I only could read again as I did when I was a child, when I was at school, at university! But I can’t, some 20 years ago writing started to be a profession and reading, sad to say, changed to be nothing but part of the job. If I could concentrate on the plot, while reading, and on nothing else but the plot! But I can’t, have to concentrate on the set of tools the author shows or tries to hide, have to concentrate on the way he/she puts his words etc. pp – I can’t help it.

7. Did you get involved in the translation process yourself?

Well, you shouldn’t bother a genius at work, should you? I am so pleased Anthea Bell is my translator. When I first looked at the translation I felt a bit sad, because some of my beloved long sentences had been cut into pieces. But that all changed after my first reading in English, when everybody told me how good the text sounded. Thank you, Anthea.

8. Your next venture…

… has already been gone through und just these days been published in German: „London for Heroes. The Ale Trail – an Ale Tale“, a long poem about pubs, ales, regulars & irregulars. As I had the opportunity to spend some months in London’s East End, you can picture me there, the German, being brought up with Bavarian beer, and now sipping and supping that strange „real ale“ that tastes like … (better read the book). I love London, the Londoners, even love the slogans about their beers, the claims of the brewing companies, the poetry of the tasting notes, the names of the ales; but … Well, it was high time to make fun of it. Cheers, mate!

You can read the review here

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