Kate Novak is a feminist, immigrant, vegan cat lady. She writes about what she considers important: being an outsider, speaking from the margins, representing a minority perspective. She teaches American literature and writing. She is passionately anti-anthropocentric.
Kate has published several short stories in online and print magazines (Eunoia, The Bookends Review, Literary Yard, Literature Today vol. 7). She also writes academic books and papers about literature, culture and translation. She has two novels in preparation, which she hopes to publish one beautiful day.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: There are so many I’d like to talk to! If I had to choose only one, I think it’d have to be Venedikt Yerofeyev, the author of Moscow Stations. What I find fascinating about Russian literature in general (if such a generalisation makes sense at all) is the peculiar mixture of profound sadness and wild humour, both of which in Yerofeyev’s writing are amplified to absurd proportions. I’d like to talk to him to know how this is possible.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: Recently, it’s a quote from Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead: ‘It’s Animals show the truth about a country. Its attitude towards Animals. If people behave brutally towards Animals, no form of democracy is ever going help them, in fact nothing will at all.’ (p109)
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: There are several. I generally like the classics and I’m not ashamed of it. I love Joan Didion, Flannery O’Connor, Virginia Woolf… Recently, it’s been Tatyana Tolstaya’s The Slynx, which I read in two different translations, English and Polish.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: The power to make empathy and humility the most highly valued qualities. The power to distribute wealth equally. To save the world from the ridiculous greed and ego that have somehow become what’s admired.