Flash Interview with Maarja Kangro

Photo by Sander Ilves Courtesy by the Author

Interview by Skirmante Ramoskaite

Q: Please, tell us about the women in your fiction: what are their cultural messages?

MAARJA KANGRO: They are ambitious, bold, in control, professional, and ironic, if not sarcastic. They’ve got their obsessions and quirks, but I don’t think there is anything significantly gender specific about them, except for their anatomy. If the latter is not mentioned (e.g. if I don’t write about miscarriage or hysterectomy directly), it has happened that translators have taken my women protagonists for men — in Estonian, there is no gender even in the personal pronoun. I want the reader to focus on an interesting and strong female personality. I never felt like writing about a weak, oppressed and victimised woman.

Q: How do you select your work for reading to the international audience in order to represent your cultural background?

MK: In general, I choose the pieces that reflect something that is deeply important to me and which have proved to mean something for the readers as well. I don’t place much emphasis on aspects or features that would have a culturally exotic flavour for international audiences. Probably it would be a good marketing tool, but again, I just don’t feel like it. If it’s there, it’s there. I guess one’s cultural background shines through in one’s work anyway.

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