In March of 2016, Finland-based Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim spoke with Johanna Sellman and Margaret Litvin. An edited transcript of their talk now appears at Tank Magazine.
As Sellman and Litvin write in their introduction:
In this conversation, he asks instead what it would mean for world literature to be truly global and for the novel to be completely transformed by today and tomorrow’s creative online culture. This concern for opening borders spills into other areas. For Blasim, literary texts are open. Reverence for literary figures is counter-productive. National identities are also open-ended and inconclusive. And somehow, he believes, fiction has power to grapple with contemporary challenges. His recent foray into sci-fi, editing a volume of short stories imagining Iraq in 100 years, is a gesture of hope.
The part of the interview that made me laugh:
ML So what’s your role in Finnish culture?
HB My role? For years I would receive emails, hate mail from the Arab world. Now I get hate mail from Finns! Because I speak about racism, about refugees.
You can read it all at Tank.