Five Questions for Petra Hulova

Czech writer Petra Hulova has published six novels, including her 2002 smash debut, published in English as 'All of This Belongs to Me'; she appears as a Literary Cafe panelist on Tuesday, February 22, at 11 A.M.


Czech writer Petra Hulova, 31, has published six novels, including her 2002 smash debut, published in an English translation by Northwestern University Press as "All of This Belongs to Me." Her ambitious book is written not from the point of view of a European visitor to the East Asian country, but in the voices of rural Mongolian natives. She appears as a Literary Cafe panelist on Tuesday, at 11 A.M.

1. When and how did you become a writer?

Am I one? Who is a writer? The one who writes? The one who writes a lot? Who writes a lot, and well? Who earns her living from it? Or who doesn't, because good writers usually don't sell well ... I've always thought writers were those smart heads. I don't think I am very smart.

2. How and where do you find the material for your books?

I don't know. What I know is that there is a certain way of life I have to live in order to be able to write the best I can. It doesn't mean only having enough free time and space, but also trying to avoid everyday stereotypes, traveling, doing adventurous things, experiencing uncertainty. That is what I need. My mind is what matters. Topics and material then come by themselves.

3. Which writers have most influenced you?

Franz Kafka, Jack London, Toni Morrison, Elfriede Jelinek.

4. What does it mean for you to participate in book fairs, in general, and in the Jerusalem book fair, in particular?

Writing is a lonely process and book fairs offer one of the few ways to get responses, meet the readers, see the books having some kind of impact. I like the buzz around books. Well, sometimes I also don't.

5. What are you working on now?

I never tell until it's done. I am superstitious, and I'm also never sure that what I work on will be finished or finished successfully.

Petra Hulova



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