An Interview with the Author of Raising Girls in Bohemia
Good news, everyone! For this month’s author interview, Three Rooms Press is sitting down with poet and essayist Richard Katrovas, author of Raising Girls in Bohemia (3RP, 2014) as well as seven collections of poetry, a short story collection, a novel, and three memoirs. He’s also the founding academic director of the Prague Summer Program and a spectacular literati all around. A chat with him is just what is needed to kick off the start of spring!
3RP: As always, we like to start off easy, with some questions about books. So we’re curious, Richard: what’s your favorite book? (Not written by you, of course.)
RK: The Denial of Death by Earnest Becker
An intriguing choice! 3RP readers, we definitely recommend checking out Richard’s favorite book (it won a Pulitzer!). So what are you reading now?
Magic Realist Fiction a short fiction anthology, edited by David Young and Keith Hollaman.
A classic anthology—very cool. Ready to switch gears and talk shop? What makes you want to write?
A desire to please fellow writers I respect, to earn their respect.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes, I turn off the sound of MSNBC.
Is that currently being put to use? Do you have any projects you’re working on right now?
A novel titled Confessions of a Waiter, and a collection of stories, The Great Czech Navy. Both are more or less finished, and I’m quite proud of them, but I’m still tinkering, editing, fussing over both manuscripts.
We can’t wait to read them! But in addition to writing, you also run the Prague Summer Program for writers. Can you tell us a little more about it? Do you have anything special planned for this year?
We’re going into our twenty-second year. The PSP was affiliated with the University of New Orleans for nine years, with Western Michigan University for eleven. Last year and going forward, the program is a limited-liability company that I own. We’re loosely affiliated with the Anglo-American University in Prague. Close to two thousand writers have attended the PSP. We dovetail culture studies and creative writing, and are known for dishing out tough love to aspiring writers. The PSP receives rave reviews, and deserves them!
That sounds amazing! Congratulations! For our last question, mind if we ask about your new essay collection, Raising Girls In Bohemia (Three Rooms Press). What were your reasons for compiling it?
I composed those essays over more than a decade. As I composed them, I worked on other projects, in verse and prose. I knew early on that I wasn’t simply shooting off essays to literary journals, that I was shaping a book that chronicled my raising very unique cultural beings.
Yes, you’re daughters! We’re excited to hear what they’re up to, as they essentially grew up throughout the pages of the collection.
My oldest daughter, Ema, twenty-four, is an opera singer. She will find my playlist quaint and amusing. It is so wonderful to have a daughter as sophisticated as she. Annie, my eighteen-year-old, will also find this list amusing. She is so incredibly hip. Ellie, my ten-year-old, is ultra-hip. Her head is in the 22nd century.
Richard’s Raising Girls In Bohemia playlist:
- “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton
- “Layla” by Eric Clapton
- “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack
- “These Boots Were Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra
- “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell
- “Gypsy” by Shakira
- “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday
- “Song Bird” by Fleetwood Mac
- “I Did It My Way” by Frank Sinatra (and Sid Vicious)
- “Imagine” by John Lennon
- “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
- “Ave Maria” by Schubert/Scott (and Beyonce)