Writer Maria Stepanova: Advice to the Young | Louisiana Channel

In this short video, Russian writer and journalist Maria Stepanova encourages emerging writers to focus on hope, even though it might seem difficult.

Maria Stepanova’s multifaceted career spans various genres and forms, including poetry, essays, and novels. She is widely recognized for her literary and journalistic contributions that explore themes of memory, history, and identity.

When offering advice to young writers, she hesitates, because she never gives any advice. Still, she says:
“Maybe, the most important thing and he skill we have lost during the last couple of decades is an ability to look into the future with some degree of hope.”

She is not sure whether we want to get into the future, “but maybe we can ask ourselves to try wanting it” and look forward to something unknown, which, she adds, is an essential part of the writing process.

Maria Stepanova, born in 1972, is a Russian poet, essayist and journalist. She is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry. ‘War of the Beasts and Animals’ came in the US in 2021 along with ‘The Voice Over’ (2021), which includes a selection of Stepanova’s poetry and essays originally published in Russia between 1996 and 2016. In Russia she has received many important literary prizes, including the Pasternak Prize and the Andrei Bely Prize in 2005, and the Moscow Account Prize in 2006, 2009, and 2018. Stepanova’s work has been translated into English, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, German, Finnish, French, Danish, and other languages. In 2021 ‘In Memory of Memory’ was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Stepanova was appointed Siegfried-Unseld Guest Professor at Humboldt Universität in Berlin in 2018–2019. In 2007, Stepanova founded Openspace.ru, an online magazine dedicated to Russian-language arts and culture. She served as editor-in-chief of Openspace.ru until 2012, when she left the publication along with the majority of her editorial staff due to a withdrawal of funding from private investors. Stepanova disagreed with investor oversight amid the uncertain Russian political landscape; this droves her to found Colta.ru, the first Russian media outlet supported entirely by crowdfunding, providing Stepanova more editorial freedom as editor-in-chief.

Lotte Folke Kaarsholm interviewed Maria Stepanova in August 2022 in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edit: Signe Boe Pedersen
Produced by Christian Lund

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2024
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.

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