out-of-office: aleksandr skorobogatov (english)

Summertime! The international house of literature Passa Porta will briefly close its doors from 20 July to 15 August. We have entrusted the contents of our - and your ? - auto reply assistant to 12 different authors, in various languages and genres. Their out-of-office messages, including their personal reading tips, will be unleashed on you in four episodes over the next few weeks. Follow the series and use your favourite message for your own out-of-office!

Aleksandr Skorobogatov (b. 1963), one of the most original Russian writers of the post-communist era, was born in Belarus and has lived in Antwerp since the 1990s. He has written short stories, essays and novels. His work boasts the most wondrous, absurd and violent plot twists and is full of long, meandering sentences. He is seen by many as an heir to the surreal line of the Russian literary canon.



Thank you for your message. I am currently on holiday for an indefinite period.

Did you know that the smallest person in the world is only 11 millimetres long? Believe me. Daniel K., the smallest person in the world, lives in Ireland, is 38 years old, and is a professional installer of electric charging stations. Daniel enjoys watching skating competitions on TV. Like all Irish people, he is a passionate beer lover.

Daniel is a music connoisseur and knows several classical operas by heart. He also loves to sing himself.

Recently, his mother sewed him several costumes for the opera Aida. The costumes are well-made and colourful.

Daniel sings, jumps and taps with his patent leather shoes, and his mother cries while watching her son through a magnifying glass.



Aleksandr Skorobogatov's reading tip

Speak, Memory - an autobiographical memoir by Vladimir Nabokov, the greatest stylist in world literature A masterpiece about the immortality that art bestows on life.

(You are free to take this message from Aleksandr Skorobogatov and use it as your own out-of-office message, stating: © Aleksandr Skorobogatov, for Passa Porta, International House of Literature, Brussels, 2022.)

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Illustration: copyright Valentine Lafitte & Passa Porta, 2022