Michal Hvorecký

    is a writer, blogger, columnist and translator. He lives in Bratislava and heads the Goethe-Institut Library. He has published several novels, including Danube in America, The Escort, several short story collections and a memoir, Spamäti (2013, By Heart). His short story, Wilsonov, has been adapted into a fiction film by the Czech director Tomáš Mašín, released in October 2015. “Although I am 38, I still haven’t managed to integrate into Slovak society. I would go as far as to say that in recent weeks and months my sense of alienation from the majority has escalated. I feel like an ignorant savage among people who claim to be decent, civilized and able to resolve every problem quickly and easily. I refuse to live in hatred. I am sickened by violence. I have never learned to drink properly and find drunkenness repulsive. I don’t swear. And I don’t have the slightest intention of changing my habits. I don’t make special concessions for friends. I believe I ought to be critical of my friends and I, in turn, need them to be critical of me. I don’t care what people profess or believe in as long as they don’t impose their beliefs on me and as long as they don’t put their own views above other people’s. I ascribe almost no importance to my nationality. I don’t have any single identity. I am quite different from who I was ten or twenty years ago. My family has inculcated me with critical thinking and critical knowledge but these are now regarded as minority values. I don’t enjoy conspiracy theories unless they are part of literature, and find them deadly boring and annoying in real life. I don’t live only in my local culture, feeling equally at home in many other cultures. I would never claim that this earth belongs to me. I have often been on the run, especially from myself. Who am I to judge why so many people risk their lives to go on the run? I have many relatives who have emigrated, and that is why I regard going into exile as something extremely demanding and traumatic. I find fascism equally repellent wherever I encounter it: whether in countries that are poor and or more affluent, and abhor both its quieter and noisier variety.”