Author and art scholar Gundega Repše (1960) is a writer of prose, an essayist and critic. Repše has worked as an editor and contributor in various magazines and other media discussing culture and literature. Her prose has been published since 1979. Repše has published many novels, several of her works have been adapted for theatre. Her trilogy Heavy Metal is informed by autobiographical material and has become one of the most important works of contemporary Latvian literature. Repše's short story How Important Is It To Be Ernest was included in the prose anthology "Best European Fiction 2013" (Dalkey Archive Press, USA). The novel Bogene was published in 2016 as part of the We. Latvia. The 20th Century novel series. Repše's prose has been translated into English, German, French, Swedish, Russian, and other languages. Gundega Repše is a member of the Latvian Writers' Union and the Latvian PEN club. In 2000, she received the Annual Latvian Literary Award for her novel Thumbelina/Īkstīte.
Bogene. Riga: Dienas grāmata, 2016.
Jauki ļaudis [Nice People]. Riga: Dienas grāmata, 2014.
Vīrs tapīrs un citas radības [The Tapir Man and Other Creatures]. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2013.
Triloģija Smagais metāls [Trilogy Heavy Metal]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2012.
Dzelzs apvārdošana [Conjuring Iron]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2011.
Stāsti par mācekļiem [Stories About Disciples]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2009.
Audiogrāmata Septiņi stāsti par mīlu [Audio-book: Seven Stories about Love]. Riga: Apostrofs, 2009.
Bāreņu nams [The Orphanage]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2008.
Vara rati [Copper Cart]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2006.
Ludovika zemes [Ludovik's Lands]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2004.
Alvas kliedziens [The Tin Scream]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2002.
Īkstīte [Thumbelina]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2000.
Sarkans [Red]. Riga: Preses nams, 1998.
Ēnu apokrifs [Shadow Apocrypha]. Riga: Preses nams, 1996.
Ugunszīme [Firesign]. Riga: Liesma, 1990.
Šolaiku bestiārijs [Bestiary of the Times]. Riga: Daugava, 1994.
Septiņi stāsti par mīlu [Seven Stories about Love]. Riga: Literatūra un Māksla, 1992.
Koncerts maniem draugiem pelnu kastē [A Concert for My Friends in a Box of Ashes]. Riga: Liesma, 1987.
Essays, diaries, biographies, miscellaneous
Skiču burtnīca. Simts [Sketch book. Hundred]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2019.
Laiks esi tu [You are Time]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2013.
Rakstnieki IR. Gadsimta sākuma skatiens [Writers ARE. A Vision at the Start of the Century]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2012.
Mala. Tā rakstīja Fridrihsons [The Edge. Thus Wrote Fridrihsons]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2010.
Pilsoniskā rasa [Civil Dew. Riga]: Dienas Grāmata, 2007.
Brālis: Ojārs Vācietis [Brother: Ojārs Vācietis]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2005.
Sieviete miglā: Līga Purmale [Woman in Mist: Līga Purmale]. Riga: Jumava, 2002.
Tuvplāni: Džemma Skulme [Foreground: Džemma Skulme]. Riga: Jumava, 2000.
Gadsimta beigu skatiens [A Look Back at the Century]. Riga: Pētergailis, 1999.
Pieskārieni: Kurts Fridrihsons [Light Touch: Kurts Fridrihsons]. Riga: Jumava, 1998.
Books to fall for
In her latest novel, Bogene, Gundega Repše sheds light on events that until now had received only pointed silence. Therein lies the symbolic gesture of Bogene: to address the subject instantly, directly, and first-hand. Only then does the author let her readers regain their footing and gather up the threads of information.This is how we can come to understand the inner workings of silence. There’s no single answer – just like with speech, silence is both a strength and a weakness. The opposing side consist of the victim and salvation. One of the main purposes is to articulate and express feelings that have been repressed for so long – and to reveal the violence and suffering for what they were: visceral, corporeal, immediate and in shocking contrast to the clear vision and soaring spirit always looking to the future.
Lote is on a train headed east in the sweltering summer of 1941. She remembers the past, but forbids herself to think about it, much less talk about it. Lote spirals into silence, shifting the trajectory of her life from a future where she experiences new love, hopes and dreams, to the present, the now, inwardly – to life, existence, expressing herself only in the simple and basic phrases she needs to survive. The minimalism of living, keeping your mouth shut and helping others – this is the world according to Lote, a mute and broken existence, an unlikely victim. Repše has portrayed her protagonist with subdued compassion, refraining from exaggeration and drama, yet still articulating the long-silenced suffering by giving it greater meaning.
Contacts: Mrs. Dace Sparāne-Freimane, email@example.com www.dgramata.lv
Rīga, Dienas grāmata
All languages available
Marked by Fire
Marked by Fire (Ugunszīme)
The book describes a time before both the author and the novel’s narrator, Erika, were born; its historical foundation is rooted in the post-war life of the Latvian intelligentsia, in the tragic fate of the so-called “French Group” and their search for intellectual nobility. The story is told from the point of view of Erika, born to Kārlis and Magda during the exile of Kārlis’s wife Dagmāra. Just as the French Group’s members were exiled to Siberia, the novel’s heroine Dagmāra too suffers the horrors of deportation, as did Kārlis’s mother before her. Their lives are destroyed by the age in which they live – Kārlis stops painting because his work isn’t being recognized, and he undergoes treatment for alcoholism. Dagmāra dies early, her translations unpublished. Marked by Fire’s ringlike composition ends in 1987, when, rereading what she wrote thirteen years prior, Erika marvels at the self-righteous tone of her memories. Taking into account that these notes were written when she was eighteen, the narrator’s impatience with the vagueness of historical events is an understandable youthful ardour. At the end of the novel, Erika is working in the library of a seaside village, where she becomes certain that the passage of time is no excuse, and where better than in a world of valuable books, like an eternal flame – a place of remembrance that never burns out.
Contacts: Mrs. Bārbala Simsone firstname.lastname@example.org www.zvaigzne.lv
Marked by Fire
The Tin Scream
The Tin Scream (Alvas kliedziens)
Written in the style of a diary, The Tin Scream centres on the world of a 1970s teenager, a world that refelcts the ongoing social and psychological processes of society. At the beginning of the book, Rugetta, the main protagonist, is attending school in the 6th grade and, on a friend’s recommendation, she starts keeping a diary. This reveals the everyday life at an elite Soviet school, friendships and betrayals, a protest over the presence of Russians and an admiration for Tarkovsky and world culture, including Bach and Shakespeare. There is also a realignment of ideals – hence the title of the novel, tin being a metal that is ductile and easily wrought, and the noise it makes when broken is called “the tin scream”. With this novel the writer offers readers a rich, evocatively drawn gallery of characters who have been delightfully and wittily rendered, despite the tragic circumstances of that era. The world-renowned Latvian theatre director Alvis Hermanis and his theatre company, the New Riga Theatre, staged a production based on motifs from the novel, and this too has enjoyed public acclaim.
The Tin Scream
All rights available except Swedish
Gundega Repše, writer's profile // Investment and Development Agency of Latvia [EN]
Interview with Gundega Repše // Diena.lv, 2012 [LV]
Best European Fiction 2013, preface by John Banville // Dalkey Archive Press, 2013 [EN]
Gundega Repše's story included in "Best European Fiction 2012" anthology // The Baltic Course, 2013 [EN]
Gundega Repše, Mēs un Bogene/ We and Bogene // TvNet.lv, 2016 [LV]
Conversation with Gundega Repše // LA.lv, 2018 [LV]
Ligita Levinska, Pasaules smagums kamiešos, review of Nice People // UbiSunt, University of Latvia, 2014 [LV]
Sandra Bedeice, Latviete ar lielo L/ Latvian with the capital L, review of Time is You // UbiSunt, University of Latvia, 2013 [LV]
Aija Fedorova, Māksla neļauties/ The Art of Not Giving In, review of The Orphanage // Internet magazine Satori.lv, 2008 [LV]
Mārtiņš Zelmenis, Izlasāmais/ The Readable, review of The Orphanage // Dienas Grāmata Publishing, 2008 [LV]
Guntis Berelis, Varas trūkums vai pārākums rada vielmaiņas traucējumus/ Lack or overdose of power causes metabolism problems, review of The Carriage of Copper from the Heavy Metal trilogy // Critic Guntis Berelis literary blog, 2006 [LV]
Ildze Kronta, Laikazīmju raksti/ Marks of Time, review of the biographical work Brother: Ojārs Vācietis // Jaunā Gaita, 2006 [LV]
2018, Baltic Assambley Prize for her conceptual idea and curatorship of We. Latvia. The 20th Century novel series and Bogene
2014, Silver Ink-pot Award from the International Writers' and Translators' House and City Council of Ventspils for Nice People
2011, the Annual Latvian Literary Award for We. Latvia. The 20th Century novel series idea
2007, Diena Short Story Contest Prize for the story The Story Tram
2001, the Annual Latvian Literary Award for contribution to Latvian prose in 2000
2000, the Annual Latvian Literary Award for Thumbelina
1993, Rainis and Aspazija Foundation Prize
How Important Is it To Be Ernest? / Best European Fiction 2013
How Important Is it To Be Ernest? / Best European Fiction 2013 (Stāsts "Cik svarīgi būt Ernestam")
Title: How Important Is it To Be Ernest? / Best European Fiction 2013
Title*: Stāsts "Cik svarīgi būt Ernestam"
Dalkey Archive Press, United States
A story of Latvian author Gundega Repše included in anthology "Best European fiction 2013".