Lithuanian Culture Institute
Lithuanian Culture Guide, Non-fiction



Ellen Hinsey, Tomas Venclova, Magnetic North: Conversations with Tomas Venclova. University of Rochester Press, 2017, Vilnius: Apostrofa, 2017, 531 pp., 48 illustrated pages.

A conversation between Ellen Hinsey and Tomas Venclova which covers all eight decades of Venclova’s life and con-stantly interweaves personal, political and literary history, as well as facts and memory.     One of the most famous Lithuanian intellectuals, poet Tomas Venclova is inter-viewed by American author Ellen Hinsey. He shares with her his whole life: the four decades leading up to his emigration from the Soviet Union in 1977 and the four decades that followed. In these conversations we get a glimpse of Venclo-va’s personal life behind-the-scenes: the atmosphere of the times he is telling us about; the historical and political context; (un)official cultural life; people’s attitudes and value systems. Venclova’s calm tone, precise knowledge, authen-tic, unsentimental and detached objectivity are all impressive. The book is full of personal stories featuring famous artists of the twentieth century, including Boris Pasternak, Anna Achmatova, Josif Brodski and Czesław Miłosz.

Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian poet, writer, schol-ar and translator. He is Professor Emeritus of Slavic Lan-guages and Literatures at Yale University. Ellen Hinsey is a poet and essayist. Her most recent book is “The Illegal Age” (2018).


Russian: Точка притяжения. Разговоры с Эллен Хинси. Translated by Anna Gerasimova. Saint Petersburg: Ivan Limbakh Publishing House, 2021

Polish: Magnetyczna Północ: Rozmawia Ellen Hinsey. Translated by Maryna Ochab. Warszawa: Zeszyty Literackie, 2018

German: Der magnetische Norden: Gespräche mit Ellen Hinsey: Erinnerungen. Translated by Claudia Sinnig. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2017

Lithuanian: Nelyginant šiaurė magnetą: pašnekesiai su Ellen Hinsey. Translated from English Laimantas Jonušys. Vilnius: Apostrofa, 2017