Last month Scots Whay Hae! reviewed Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story, the recent memoir by Kapka Kassabova, and proclaimed it one of the most interesting and arresting books of recent times. It is one of those rare treatise on the human condition which stays with you long after you’ve placed it back on your shelves, asking questions about obsession, place, belonging and self. There was only one person who could satisfactorily answer such questions so we asked Kapka if she would talk about her writing, her love affair with tango and the appeal of Edinburgh. What we got was all of that and so much more.
Born in Sofia, Kassabova moved to New Zealand at the age of 19, and she admits to experiencing an advanced case of wanderlust before finding a sort of homecoming in Edinburgh. Her presence in Scotland has already had a positive effect as can be seen in her contribution to The Year of Open Doors anthology and her work with creative writing students at the University of Strathclyde, and she improves the balance of culturally diverse voices that Scottish literature is often accused of lacking.
A widely published and admired travel writer, poet, journalist and novelist, there are few better placed to talk about writing, particularly with reference to current Scottish literature and culture. As some auld poet alluded to, it is always beneficial to try and see ourselves as others see us. You can find out about the woman and her work by going to Kapka Kassabova and as a wee taster for the podcast here is a short clip of her being interviewed on New Zealand TV in 2008:
You can listen to Kapka and Ali’s chat, the aural equivalent of beauty and the beast, at iTunes or by subscribing to the RSS feed. Next time round we hope it’ll be our top 5 Scottish Albums…Ever podcast, although sometimes our plans do go awry so that’s not a solid promise. Whatever happens there will be a Margins Book & Music Festival special which will bring some of the atmosphere from that weekend at The Arches (24th-26th February) both on stage and off. If you’re there, and you spot two men and a microphone roaming about, come over and say hello.