Goce Smilevski is a writer from Macedonia who has won the European Union Prize for Literature 2010, for his last book ‘Sigmund Freud's Sister’, along with 10 other European authors. The ceremony was held in the Flagey Theatre in Brussels on 18 November 2010, where Smilevski was presented with the award by the Minister of Culture of Belgium, Mrs. Fadila Laanan.
Smilevski (born in 1975) was educated at the Charles University in Prague, at the Central European University in Budapest and at St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, where he is now working. Even though ‘Sigmund Freud's Sister’ is only his second novel, writer Joshua Cohen, author of the novels ‘A Heaven of Others’ and ‘Witz’, has called him: “A young heir to Gunter Grass and Jose Saramago”. Cohen thought that “Smilevski might be the newest of a rare thing -- a living European novelist with a message for the future of his continent." In an interview for Southeast Europe: People and Culture, the writer, whose books are translated into English, Polish, German, Serbian, Slovenian and Croatian, talked about the award, about his first book called “Conversation with Spinoza” and about his message to the audience.
In 2010 you were awarded with the European Union Prize for Literature for your last book ‘Sigmund Freud's Sister’. Please tell us more about the book and the award:
The aim of the prize is to shine a spotlight on the creativity and diverse wealth of Europe’s contemporary literature and to promote the circulation of literature within Europe. The novel has as one of its main themes the apocalyptic crisis of Europe at the beginning of the Second World War, as something that can be understood in the context of the Nietzschean concept of eternal return, narrated from a personal point of view - that of one of Freud's sisters, who died in a concentration camp.
In the book ‘Conversation with Spinoza’ there is a contemplative bond between philosophy and literature. In ‘Sigmund Freud's Sister’ the bond is between psychology and literature. What is the outcome of that bond?
The outcome is a narration of simple, personal stories, as for me Baruch Spinoza was not a conquering historical figure or anything similar - for me Spinoza was a fragile human being, a thinker, a philosopher whose emotions were in a struggle with his idea(l)s. A simple personal story is the focus of ‘Sigmund Freud's Sister’ too - it portrays the life of a woman, one of the many, one of the billions of women that are forgotten by history.