Adnan Mahmutović is a Bosnian Swede who teaches English literature at Stockholm University in the daytime, and works with people with mental disorders at night. His other works include Thinner than a Hair, Washing and Illegitimate

Short Story Collections

(Refugee Books, 2005)

reviewed by Elizabeth Rutherford-Johnson

Interview with Adnan Mahmutović

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Adnan Mahmutović: A year, I think, including long periods of time spent on university studies. I finished the book under a lot of pressure. I had just begun my PhD, and Stockholm Art College wanted the manuscript ready within those few months I had to kick-start my academic project. I guess that’s why the book became a hybrid between my creative writing and the academic research.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?
How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

AM: Not really. I was writing lots of stories using the same character. Almasa was a kind of female alter ego. She would say things she felt had to be said. I put them together and also wrote some flashes and poems that both created links and breaks between the "main" stories. I wanted to introduce discontinuity between stories that naturally fit each other, and linking pieces between stories that did not. For me this book is more of a novella than a collection, or some hybrid form.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

AM: Candy. The kind that my grandma loved, and taught me to love, these bonbons that look like colourful silk balls with secret fillings. You never know what you’re going to get inside.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

AM: No.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

AM: Do you feel I’ve been honest with you?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

AM: Brilliant. Especially the fact that many of the readers felt like getting in touch or leaving comments, for instance on amazon and other places.

TSR: What are you working on now?

AM:  A new novel, and another short film called Cup, about a little black cupid that is adopted by an old English widow who confuses him for an orphan from Africa.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

AM:  Nik Perring’s Not so Perfect, Nuala Ni Chonchuir’s Nude, and the new editions of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy (actually, three tomes with all the stories in best print ever)
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>