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Interview of Nina Munteanu / Toronto ON

1. Nina, the Observatorul newspaper is targeting the Romanian community especially in Ontario. What is your connection with our community?
Nina, ziarul Observatorul se adreseaza comunitatii romanesti din Ontario si nu numai. Care este legatura ta cu comunitatea noastra?

I was born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec to a German mother and Romanian father. While my parents spoke German in the house and I lived in a French neighbourhood and went to an English school (learning all these languages proficiently) our father ensured that we also knew and spoke Romanian and knew its history. Many years later, when my writing guidebook was published by Editura Paralela 45, I visited Bucharest to launch my book (published in Romanian as: Manual de Scriere Creativa. Scritorul de fictiune) at the Gaudeamus Book Fair. I currently live in Toronto, Ontario and maintain contact with Romanian writers (e.g., Costi Gurgu, Claudiu Murgan, Gabriela Casineanu, and Andreea Munteanu), attending local events with the diaspora community. I recently joined the Immigrant Writers Association in Toronto and will continue to mentor new writers starting on their careers. The IWA will host several of my workshops for writers in the coming years.

M-am nascut in Estul provinciei Quebec. Mama a fost de nationalitate germana si tata de nationalitate romana. Am invatat limba germana pentru ca se vorbea in casa, limba franceza pentru ca locuiam intr-o suburbie franceza, iar limba engleza la scoala. Iar tata s-a asigurat sa invat sa vorbesc romaneste si sa cunosc istoria tarii pe care a lasat-o in urma. Multi ani mai tirziu am vizitat Romania in timpul Tirgului de Carte Gaudeamus ca sa lansez cartea Manual de Scriere Creativa, publicata de Editura Paralela 45.
In present locuiesc in Toronto, Ontario unde mentin contactul cu citiva scriitori romani (Costi Gurgu, Gabriela Casineanu, Andreea Munteanu si Claudiu Murgan) si merg la evenimentele organizate de comunitate.
Recent m-am alaturat Immigrant Writers Association (IWA) unde ma voi implica activ in a ghida scriitori la inceput de cariera si voi organiza seminarii pe aceasta tema in anii urmatori.

2. When did you start immersing yourself in the "Romanian spirit” and what you are trying to communicate to our members?
Cind ai inceput sa te apropii mai mult de “spiritul romanesc” si ce vrei sa comunici membrilor nostril?

In recent years, I’ve met several great Romanian writers and have felt compelled to showcase their work in Canada. I have and will continue to bring in successful Romanian authors to my science fiction writing class to share their story and writing process with my students. In joining the IWA, I hope to mentor new writers to Canada who are in various stages in their writing career and establishing a writing career here. I have over twenty years of knowledge and experience I can share with those starting out.

Nu demult am cunoscut citiva scriitori romani care m-au impresionat si m-am simtit atrasa sa promovez creatiile lor in Canada. Pe citiva dintre ei i-am invitat sa vorbeasca despre procesul lor de creatie in fata studentilor mei la seminariile de Science Fiction pe care le sustin. Dorinta mea este ca prin asocierea cu IWA sa pot ajuta si imparti din experienta de douazeci de ani cu cit mai multi scriitori romani care sunt in diverse stadii ale carierei

3. Tell us a little bit about yourself
Spune-ne mai multe despre tine.

I received my M.Sc. at Concordia University in Montreal in ecology and limnology and served as an environmental consultant in British Columbia (where I raised my family) before I went into writing and teaching full time. I currently teach writing at The University of Toronto and George Brown College and have been coaching writers to publication for over twenty years. I write mostly eco-fiction and speculative fiction, but also space operas, alternative history and science non-fiction. My latest book is “Water Is…” a scientific study and personal journey as limnologist, mother, teacher and environmentalist. “Water Is…” was recently picked by Margaret Atwood in the NY Times as her #1 choice in the 2016 ‘The Year in Reading’.

Am absolvit facultatea Concordia din Montreal la sectiunea Ecologie si Limnologie si am lucrat ca consultant de mediu in British Columbia (unde mi-am si format o familie) inainte sa ma dedic in intregime scrisului si predatului. In prezent sunt profesor la University of Toronto si la George Brown College. Am publicat citeva carti in diverse domenii: eco-fiction, speculative fiction, dar si space operas, istorie alternativa si stiinta. Ultima carte publicata se intituleaza “Water Is…” care este un studiu stiintific dar in acelasi timp si un jurnal personal ca limnologist, mama, profesor si ecologist. “Water Is…” a fost selectata de Margaret Atwood in NY Times ca si cartea ei favorita in 2016.

4. I know you visited Romania several years ago. How did you find the country?
Acum citiva ani ai vizitat Romania pentru prima oara. Cum ti s-a parut?

In 2011 I attended the launch of my writing guide Manual de Scriere Creativa. Scriitorul de fictiune (The Fiction Writer) in Bucharest, hosted by Editura Paralela 45 at the Gaudeamus Book Fair. Dr. Florin Munteanu, respected scientist in Complexity Theory, kindly picked me up at the airport and took me to the Phoenicia Grand Hotel where we relaxed in the lounge and discussed fractal geometry and the Fibonacci Golden Ratio over café cremes. It was a very civilized introduction to this eclectic “city of joy” and I felt strangely at home.

It was a wonderful experience, which included drinking copious amounts of Tuica with my publisher and touring the Lipscani District with George Kudor, a student of Florin’s. Florin calls Romania “the corpus callosum of the world” where east and west converge, mingle and learn. It’s no wonder that Romania is one of the leading countries in the world on complexity theory, a science that embraces the “collision” of different “worlds” to create more than the sum of its parts.

The Fiction Writer was very well received by the Romanian writing community. Writer V. Timea Noemi says this about the book: “Eu multumesc enorm! Cartea aceasta ma invatat atat de multe lucruri esta biblia mea de scriitor. Din pacate nu prea se gasesc carti despre scriere creativa in tara si m-am bucurat tare mult sa gasesc aceasta carte.” (see others on Goodreads)

Romanian poet and English instructor, Lucia Gorea, calls The Fiction Writer “the most practical book on publishing that I’ve ever read, and I’ve read them all!”

Am vizitat Romania pentru prima oara in 2011 cu ocazia lansarii cartii Manual de Scriere Creativa – Scriitorul de Fictiune, publicat de Editura Paralela 45 la Tirgul de Carte Gaudeamus. Dr. Florin Munteanu, un cercetator recunoscut in domeniul Teoriei Complexitatii, m-a asteptat la aeroport. A urmat o discutie interesanta in holul hotelului Phoenicia Grand Hotel despre geometria fractala, Numarul de Aur si seria Fibonacci. A fost o introducere civilizata a Bucurestiului, si m-am simtit ca acasa.
In general calatoria in Romania a fost o experienta nemaipomenita care a inclus printer altele cantitati mari de tuica consumate cu editorul meu, vizitarea Lipscanului cu George Kudor, un student al lui Florin Munteanu. Florin numeste Romania “corpus callosum al lumii” unde Estul si Vestul converg, se amesteca si invata unul de la celalalt. Nu este de mirare ca Romania este una din tarile care sunt lider in a promova si intelege teoria complexitatii, un concept care imbratiseaza “coliziunea” lumilor diferite pentru a crea mai mult decit suma partilor.
Cartea The Fiction Writer a fost primita foarte bine de comunitatea scriitorilor din Romania. Scriitorul V. Timea Noemi a comentat urmatoarele: “Eu multumesc enorm! Cartea aceasta m-a invatat atat de multe lucruri. Esta biblia mea de scriitor. Din pacate nu prea se gasesc carti despre scriere creativa in tara si m-am bucurat tare mult sa gasesc aceasta carte.”

5. What other projects do you expect to develop in Romania?
Ce alte proiecte ai in lucru in Romania pe termen scurt si lung?

I have an excellent relationship with publisher Calin Vlasie of Editura Paralela 45. After The Fiction Writer, he commissioned a book from me on journal writing. The Journal Writer (Scritorul de Jurnal: Descoperirea vocii interioare) was published several years after The Fiction Writer.

I also co-edit Europa SF, a European ezine on speculative fiction from around the world, with a focus on European science fiction, fantasy and horror. I hope to collaborate more with colleague and friend Cristian Tamas, who introduced me to Italian publisher Mincione Edizioni. They published my short story The Way of Water, which was developed in novel form and will be released next year.

I hope to do more with Dr. Florin Munteanu and Claudiu Murgan on projects to do with water—particularly on entanglement, intention, subtle energies and memory. I would be delighted if a Romanian publisher chose to translate my book Water Is…The Meaning of Water and publish it for Romanians.

Am o relatie de business excelenta cu directorul editurii Paralela 45, Calin Vlasie, care, dupa publicarea cartii The Fiction Writer, mi-a comandat o alta carte despre cum sa scrii un jurnal personal - Scriitorul de Jurnal: Descoperirea vocii interioare, a fost publicata citiva ani mai tirziu.

De asemenea m-am implicat in co-editarea unui ezine specializat in speculative fiction si in special science fiction, fantasy si horror din zona Europeana, numit Europa SF. Sper sa colaborez mai strins cu un bun coleg si prieten, Cristian Tamas, cel care m-a introdus la editura italiana, Mincione Edizioni, care mi-a publicat povestirea The Way of Water, care mai tirziu am dezvoltat-o intr-un roman a carei publicare va avea loc in 2019.

Doresc sa ma pot implica mai mult in proiectele legate de apa initiate de Dr. Florin Munteanu si Claudiu Murgan – in special in entanglement, intentie, energii subtile si memoria apei. As fi foarte incintata daca o editura romaneasca ar decide sa traduca cartea “Water Is…The Meaning of Water” pentru cititorii romani.


by Claudiu Murgan    9/3/2018


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