«From a very early age, I dreamed of Europe. I wanted to be a philosopher in Greece or a novelist in Russia or England»
-What did you feel when you first learn about the results?
I was very excited. I got the message early in the morning when I had just woken up, and it took a moment to separate the reality from the dream. It's a great honor. As the first contest I've won in my many years of writing, it felt like a little retribution for the long hours of story writing.
Last year your story was also in the short list of our contest, actually you get a dinstinction for ''Achilles and Tortoise''. This year you won the first prize again with a story inspired from Greece.
I think that our country is one of your favourite places, at least from literary view. Have you written other stories placed in Greece?
Most of my stories are not specifically about Greece, but myth and folklore play a very important part in my writing. I try to explore old ideas in the ancient tales of the world through a modern context. Obviously, Greece is second to none in its rich history of story and thought, so it makes for an excellent resource.
Have you ever visit Greece?
I have only been to Greece once, for a week back in 2009. I went to Chios, which seems now like a perfect choice, being the birthplace of Homer. At the time, it was just a random decision. I was impressed by the beauty of the island. For as short-lived as my time was, it was integral to my development as a writer. Something in the air gave an extra sense of the poetry of life. I have often gone back to that week for inspiration in my stories.
Tell me about your story. How did you come up with the idea?
My stories usually come out of a single scene that I merge with a question that happens to be plaguing me. This particular story came out of the first image at the outset - a man standing at the window when the rain stops. I had just come back from a holiday during which I kept thinking how I didn't want it to end. The idea of things remaining of the same, of trying to hide from abandonment, all came together and fleshed out this first scene.
I can see from your bio that you have travel across Europe and lived in Russia. How is this experience for you, you are still a young man, was it easy to leave Unites States?
It was surprisingly easy for me to leave my homeland. I have known many people who aren't built for it. Somehow, I am. I grew up in a small town in the center of a very large country that has trouble looking outside of itself. I was never able to feel comfortable in that environment. From a very early age, I dreamed of Europe. I wanted to be a philosopher in Greece or a novelist in Russia or England. When the opportunity came, I had very few reservations. America has many fine qualities, but there is something in the history of Europe that makes even the average citizen think a little deeper about life. To a writer, it is like living on a mountaintop and coming down to sea-level. It's just easier to breath, the ideas are all there because they've already been written so many times.
I read also that you have written a novel. Can you tell us more about it?
Certainly. The novel follows the fall of a young man, Henry Thomas. It's a faustian tale in which he loses his soul to greed and selfishness once he begins working for a sinister operation called Walpurgis Bank. Dark dreams and visions plague him as he continues down his path, destroying the decent life he had laid out for himself. I was very much inspired by the financial crisis of the last few years and by my friends in the banking industry, who all knew they shared some small responsibility for all this pain but couldn't convince themselves to walk away from the incentives of the industry.
Do you live as a professional writer?
I would love to live as a professional writer, but unfortunately my career isn't there yet. The options for a writer a bit more limited compared to previous generations. I do work as a writer and editor for the football magazine Rabona and try to get my stories out, but at the moment I have to work as an English teacher to make up for the missing income.
Tell me a few words about your plans about your future writings.
I have a series of new stories I hope to publish in various magazines in the next few months. I will be restarting my personal blog at www.figuratively.net, which was on hiatus for the last few months. I am also in the process of starting a new novel.
Seth Libby is a 28-year-old writer from the United States. Brought up in small towns all across America, he developed an interest in literature at an early age, often reading through his classes and being sent away to the library. His interest in writing dates back to his childhood, but really became a passion in his teenage years. He wrote comics and film scripts with friends in high school before taking up short stories and longer fiction in his university years. Since 2005, he has lived mostly out of the United States, first as a university student, and later as a teacher of English. He now lives in Moscow, Russia with his wife. Along with teaching and writing, he has taken on duties as a writer and editor for Rabona Magazine, a journal about international football. He has recently completed his first novel and is looking for a publisher.
* Seth Libby's Sandglass and all the short listed stories of Eyelands/Strange days books
4th international Short Story Contest
will be published in the anthology ''The Time collection''.
Soon to be released from Srange Days Books