The Sarmatian Review interviews

Suzanne Strempek Shea

author of Lily of theValley (see reviews on pp. 674 and 682)

SARMATIAN REVIEW. Has there been any response in Poland to your writings? Translations? Interviews?

SUZANNE STEMPEK SHEA. I have had a couple of responses. The first was the sale of the Polish rights to Selling the Lite of Heaven by my publisher, Pocket Books, to Pax Publishers in Warsaw. That book was published by Pocket books in this country in 1994. The Pax translation was to have been printed in 1998. I have never seen a copy, so I can't give you any further information on that.

The other response was interest from the literary/arts magazine Akcent, which printed general comments and an excerpt from Selling the Lite of Heaven in a 1997 issue on Polish American works. I enclose a copy: it might be of some help with your topic. Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska was my contact on this and was very enthusiastic.

SARMATIAN REVIEW. Any thoughts on the attitudes of the Polish publishing circles, academics, writers, etc., toward Americans of Polish descent?

SUZANNE STEMPEK SHEA. I have no information on Polish publishing circles, but in my book tour travels have had some contact with Polish academics and a couple of Polish writers. All have received me kindly and were interested in learning about my work, but it was rather clear that the majority were encouraging me to write about more "serious" things--Polish historical topics, events, people--non-fiction. I was a newspaper reporter for 15 years, and had a good dose of writing the truth. My answer is that right now I am greatly enjoying the freedom of just making up my stories. I basically write what I know, and that is stories from and people in Polish-American communities. There might be some day when I'll take up their suggestions, but for now I'm enjoying fiction.

As an aside, I think whether or not I were a writer, they might express a version of the same--for me to know them, and to know them through the history of their country, their triumphs and challenges, and our shared ethnic heritage. Just as I might want them to do the same regarding me and the history here.

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