V4 diaries: Bence Szenderák

V4 Workshop, 27. August


It’s only the first meeting, but I’m already anxious. Everyone sounds professional, and I can’t even collect my thoughts. Let’s try it anyway.

Réka Mán-Várhegyi and Kinga Tóth lead the discussion. They talk first: Réka tells us the plans, Kinga follows up with a few questions she thinks we could discuss. We introduce ourselves, everything feels a bit uncomfortable so far. Right now we are only strangers around the same table hoping to start a conversation about series of events we only heard about, but which changed our lives even before we were born. I can barely say anything about myself, but all the others seem collected. We go through compulsory topics; I feel like we are comparing the habits and ways of the countries, but of course it’s not competitive… I hope, as I later pass some of the others in front of the Trianon Memorial as I’m coming from the market… we’re merely just mentioning things.

The main question of the day is: how can a young writer or poet start their literary career in the V4 countries? Is it easier to get into literary circles through other forms of art (Jan started with performance poetry; Kinga with noise music)? How fast can one get published in good periodicals? Is it more difficult for a woman or is that already a thing of the past? Do online magazines have a good reputation or is it a printed publication that counts? Bartosz, as a journalist, explains to us the way of getting into in writing about politics.

Suddenly there’s a small halt; the discussion’s been going on for two hours, so the coordinators decide that the last question should be about influences and mentors. I feel that everyone has totally different attitudes, and it shows in the answers as well (is reading good, are closed groups effective, is working on different kinds of text a help, etc.); I suspect fierce argument is on the way. But to be honest, I’m really looking forward to it.

Bence Szenderák

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