Guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme 2009
Dorota Maslowska, born in 1983, gained international renown with her novel Snow White and Russian Red. On its appearance in 2002, she had just turned 19 years of age. The book, a somewhat aggressive, merciless and linguistically callous snapshot of present-day Poland, became an international success, and the language she used created a forum of identification for young Poles.
She had actually already written her second novel, The Queen’s Peacock, to help her come to terms with the media hype surrounding her first work, says Maslowska, who read psychology and cultural studies in Gdansk and Warsaw. The novel, written in a rap rhythm, is set in the sphere of media moguls.
It’s difficult to achieve success and it’s very difficult to repeat it.
Critics confirm that the author has a quite unique and personal language of her own. She allows the text “to continue over 240 pages in the staccato of a machine gun, allowing this to rain down on the reader”, writes one critic. Admittedly, such martial images do not really fit the small, girlish-looking woman, who likes to hide her face behind blonde-dyed streaks and responds to questions that are all too indiscreet with an embarrassed laugh or occasionally replies to political questions with irritation – because she has experienced how slippery and treacherous this stage can be.
It is precisely this combination of radical observation of everyday life, of merciless language and the charm of a teenager that has made Maslowska not only a literary but also a media attraction.
Her successful debut novel Snow White and Russian Red has since been made into a film, and her first two plays, We Get Along and A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, have been staged at numerous theatres. On the publication of her novel Darling I Killed Our Cats in 2012, she was hailed in Germany as “Poland’s star author”.
The author occasionally has difficulties with the omnipresent media interest. “It’s difficult to achieve success and it’s very difficult to repeat it.” But with her novels and her two plays she has shown that her literary debut was not a one-off success. Her plays have been successfully staged in Poland again and again. For her second book, Maslowska received the 2005 Nike Prize, Poland’s most important literary award.
The writer experienced her stay in Berlin, as guest of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin programme, as a welcome reprieve from turbulent times in her home country: “This external perspective on one’s own existence – that’s definitely a very important experience.”