Tens of thousands crowded into the Litexpo conference centre for the Vilnius book fair, and a few hundred came into my interview with Jolanta Kryževičienė to hear about the translation of Some Unfinished Business, called Nebaigti reikalai in Lithuanian.
The level of literary interest in this country is very high. Even a high school kid asked for help on how to work on one of my books.
I was asked by the Canadian embassy to interview Giller prize winner, Suzette Mayr as she passed through the book fair, and it was a great to talk to her about The Sleeping Car Porter.
Here is the poster for the Lithuanian movie adaptation of my novel, Provisionally Yours known as Laikinai jūsų in translation. And below that you’ll find a link to the trailer as well as a few pics. The premiere in Vilnius on November 23, 2023 was a blast! We’ll see if it can get over here next year.
Provisionally Yours, will also be adapted in an 8-part TV serial in the spring of 2024. Here is a Lithuanian language newspaper article about it.
Below is a photo of me with the actors and crew on location in the spring of 2023. The director in white is Ramūnas Rudokas and the lead, Simonas Storpirštis, stands beside me. I wish I’d thought to ask after the other names, but it was all in a whirl. See a few more photos on the photos page.
In December of 2023 I spent a week in Rome helping my publisher, Del Vecchio Editore, to promote the Italian translation of my 2011 novel, Underground, about anti-Soviet resistance in postwat Lithuania. Becauae of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, interest was intense and the questions at various events were piecing both in Italian and in English, in Rome and in Naples.
My latest novel, Some Unfinished Business was published by Cormorant Books in February of 2023. I am very pleased indeed.
I received a wonderfully supportive description of the work in the introduction to an interview I did with Open Book.
Some Unfinished Business is a novel based on historical events that tell the story of a rhyming assassin, underground resistance, and precarious love in the Soviet Union of the postwar era.
Here is a link to my most recent audio book review on Shelagh Rogers’s CBC Radio 1 show, The Next Chapter. I have reviewed Marius Kociejowski before, and I thought I’d had enough, but this erudite bookseller with a love for culture has an eye for eccentrics who are more interesting than the mainstream.
A Chinese translation of Woman in Bronze, originally published in 2011, has just appeared .
I was in Europe for much of the spring and summer of 2022. I had a few literary readings in Lithuania and in May I toured the translation of Buying on Time in Italy, translated as Tempus Fugit. Here is a link to some of the events.
I have just signed with the wonderful Italian house that did Tempus Fugit, Del Vecchio Editore, in order to have them bring out a translation of Underground in 2023.
On March 19, I officially launched my new novel, Provisionally Yours at Ben McNally’s book store in Toronto. The novel is now available in Canada and will be launched in the USA in June.
I’ll be reading from it at the GritLit festival in Hamilton, on April 13, at the Eden Mills literary festival in early September, as well as Windsor in May and other places to be announced.
Here is what the flaps have to say about the novel:
After World War I and the collapse of Czarist Russia, former counterintelligence officer Justas Adamonis returns to Lithuania, a fragment of the shattered Empire. He’s not entirely sure what he’ll find. His parents are dead, he hasn’t seen his sister since she was a teenager, and Kaunas has become the political center of the emerging state. He’s barely off the train when he’s recruited back into service, this time for the nascent government eager to secure his loyalty and experience. Though the administration may be new, its problems are familiar, and Adamonis quickly finds himself ensnared in a dangerous web of political corruption and personal betrayal. In its vivid rendering, Antanas Sileika’s Provisionally Yours is an exploration of nationalism and realpolitik—as well as an unforgettable story about treachery and the enduring human capacity for love.
“A perfect calibration of pace and depth, a lucid, stylish and bittersweet chronicle of a country’s rebirth, and a thriller that is also a meditation. I loved this novel.”—Samantha Harvey, Man Booker-nominated author of The Wilderness and The Western Wind
“Sileika is a master at portraying moral ambiguity. Set in an overlooked corner of Eastern Europe, Provisionally Yours has the gritty realism of a noir and the pacing of an espionage thriller.”—Nino Ricci, author of theLives of the Saints trilogy
“Offers the delightful unearthing of a little-known corner of the world—post-war Lithuania. Espionage, illicit love, bureaucratic bungling, marvelous descriptions of food and drink, strong women, desperate men. And subtle humour. And ultimately sadness, brought on by amorality in the struggle for power. A fine read.”—David Bergen, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author of The Time in Between
I was at the Vilnius book fair again this year to launch my new novel, called Provisionally Yours in English and translated as Laikinai jūsų by the publisher, Baltos Lankos. It was a wonderful time as usual there. See the cover below:
But my memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller in English, and Basakojis bingo pranešėjas in Lithuanian, also published by Baltos Lankos, had been short-listed for book of the year there in the adult category. And it won! Here is a photo, of my receiving that award.
And finally, I launch my new novel in English in Toronto on March 19. Here is some news about that:
The Vilnius review has run a long interview with me, in which I respond to questions about the nature of my humour and write the story of Christmases (Kūčios) past and present, my Lithuanian answer to Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”
The Lithuanian translation of my memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller, has been short-listed for book of the year in Lithuania.
This is a readers’ choice award, so those who like the book can vote for it at this page. Simply click on the circle and make sure you choose the term, “įrašyti”, which means “enter”. The winner will be announced at the Vilnius Book Fair in February of 2019.
.November – December 2018 – I’ll try to stay in as much as possible to do a second draft of a novel in progress, whose working title is Skylark and Badger. I do some of my best concentrated work at the Toronto Writers’ Centre.
Snaige Sileika’s art show will be opening in Vilnius on May 31 – see details below – and I will be reading from the Lithuanian translation of my memoir, The Barefoot Bingo Caller. Come by if you are available for this rather rare Sileika double exposure.
The book fair in Vilnius was its astonishing usual self, 67,000 visitors over four days, and this in a city of half a million. The cab driver asked me what I was reading, passers by kept asking for signatures. The intellectuals asked if the event had not become too popular, a victim of its own success. Lithuania, and I expect much of the rest of Europe, continues to take books and writers very seriously in a way I have never seen here in Canada. Halls filled with over seven hundred people for stars such as Tomas Venclova and Kristina Sabaliauskaite, but even the small halls with talks on arcane subjects were full, and every hour on the hour I had a choice of seven or more talks. I had a couple of long television interviews and couple of radio interviews. Here is a link to one with the charming and whip-smart Juta Liutkeviciute, pictured below, but you need to have the language to understand it.
If you happen to be there and have the language, come out and see me interviewed on stage by Lithuanian television (LRT) on Friday, February 23 at 7 PM. Jolanta Kryževičiene has been interviewing me for years and she knows my work well, so I am looking forward to this talk. The interview will also run subsequently on television as will a couple of other interviews I will do both on TV and radio.
The Globe and Mail published a nice short review of my memoir and the Literary Review of Canada published a longer one, pasted in below. The jpeg of a magazine page is slightly hard to read, unfortunately..
It was a fun book launch, more like a wedding, many said, with a jazz trio and food and liquor and almost three hundred people. We sold a record number of books (213) and had a quick bingo game, won by my Humber replacement, the incoming David Bezmozgis, who tok home a mickey of Crown Royal Whiskey.
And now the first review comes in from Quill and Quire, Canada’s publishing industry journal, and it contains the much-coveted star. I have pasted in a photo that is a bit hard to read, but I’ll put in a link later if one shows up.
On September 25, The Word on The Street festival is being held at Harbourfront in Toronto and Kim Moritsugu and I will be hosting a day of talks by writers with new books as well as publishing industry professionals.
On September 29, I’ll be running a creative writing talk and introducing new and established writers from the west end of Toronto at The Assembly Hall. The event is free.
During the last week of October, The Humber School for Writers will hold a workshop inside IFOA, and on Wednesday, October 26, I will host a twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the school along with prominent alumni and writing teachers.
As for November and December, I’ll proof the Galleys of my forthcoming memoir, The Barefoot Bing Caller, due out in May, and polish up a novel called Provisionally Yours, a project I have been working on for years.