22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sigitas Parulskis

Portrait Sigitas Parulskis
© Hartwig Klappert

Sigitas Parulskis was born in Obeliai in rural Lithuania in 1965. He studied Lithuanian language and literature at the University of Vilnius. In 1991 his first volume of poems »Iš ilgesio visa tai« (1990; t: All this arises from longing), was awarded the Zigmas Gėlė Prize for the best first collection of the year. Three further collections of poems have followed, along with several plays, two novels, volumes of essays, a radio play and a volume of short stories. Parulskis has worked for various newspapers, including Lithuania’s best known daily newspaper »Lietuvos Rytas« and the cultural magazine »Šiaurės Atėnai« (Athens of the North).

While images of his rural childhood dominate Parulskis’ poetry, in his plays allegorical constellations of figures reminiscent of parables make the existential dimension of his work stand out clearly. References to religion and theology are all-pervasive. »I make no claim that the Holy Scriptures and magazines showing naked women bear any easy comparisons. However, it is true that I am actually only interested in God and women. These two themes are the starting point of everything, the beginning and ending of all things.« Parulskis devotes particular attention to death. His second volume of poems, which was awarded the Jotwingian Prize, »Mirusiųjų« (1994; t: On the dead), testifies to this, as does his subsequent collection »Mortui sepulti sint« (1998; t: The dead shall be buried). His first stage play »Iš gyvenimo vėlių« (1995; t: From the life of dead souls) received the Kristoforas Prize for best theatre début. It depicts a man’s meeting with the devil, with whom he enters into a Faustian pact, and with the figure of Death who pulls the strings and finally gains the upper hand.

In his play »P.S. Byla O.K.« (1997; t: P.S. file O.K.) Parulskis deals with the same theme as in his first novel, i.e. the after-effects of Soviet rule in Lithuania. »Trys sekundės dangaus« (2002; Eng. »Three Seconds of Heaven«, 2005) was named book of the year by the Lithuanian writers’ association and celebrated by the critics as a book with cult status. The novel is based on experiences of the author who, as a young student of languages, was called up by the airborne troops of the Soviet Army. It recounts the scandalous behaviour which prevailed there, describes strange meetings with the local population in a military station near Cottbus, and examines the lack of orientation in the aftermath of the newly gained independence.

Parulskis’ works have been translated into eleven languages. In 2004 the author was awarded the Lithuanian national prize for literature. Recently, he published the collection of short stories »Sraigė su beisbolo lazda« (2006; Snail with a baseball bat). He lives in Vilnius.

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