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III Vilnius

ULYSSES European Odyssey

Andrius Jakučiūnas
Urban renewal and the reinvention of the city

Eighteen established writers, one from each city/region, will be commissioned to write a chapter in a response to their Arts & Society theme within the context of their city.

Just as Ulysses is innovative in its form and language, so the writers will be chosen with a view to reflecting a breadth of genres, styles and innovations. Each writer will ideally attend their own city’s event. All the (new) chapters from the 18 cities/regions will be brought together in a book publication: ULYSSES European Odyssey.

Andrius Jakučiūnas will write Vilnius’ chapter.

Writer’s Statement

It would be fair to say that James Joyce has played a role in my creative development primarily as the legend of a complex narrative, as an approach towards the world of interiority, contexts and cultural meanings, and as the courage to break stereotypes and experiment, and this was an important support for me as a budding writer. Joyce tries to create, and in fact he does create, a universal model which, encompassing both the micro and macro levels like an epic, seeks to explain all existence. Like an alchemist, Joyce fuses together different materials, and produces a functioning structure which, not coincidentally of course, draws on a Classical epic, Homer’s Odyssey. It is in Joyce’s phenomenal ability to see (or even, I would say, to create) the whole where I see a shadow of what concerns me as well. Like Joyce, I have always been attracted to universal models based on the principles of the epic, and to systems of thought that can be applied to a single individual, to society, and to the Universe. Thus, much of my writing has sought to encompass the whole context, or rather to provide a kind of reflection of it, both by engaging in an abstract discussion of values and meanings, and by mimicking processes of thought and turning them into artistic forms.

Writer’s Biography

Andrius Jakučiūnas was born on the 2nd of July 1976 in Vilnius. After graduating from Vilnius 43rd Secondary School (1994), he went on to study Classical Philology at Vilnius University. After his studies, he taught Latin in gymnasiums and worked as a news editor of the weekly cultural newspaper Nemunas (2007-2015).

He started his writing career with the collection of novels The Life or Death of Socrates (1999). Later works: novels Notes of Servius Galus (2005) and Homeland (2007), a collection of short stories Lalage (2011), which was awarded the Lithuanian Writers’ Union Prize in 2012, and the journalistic project Utopia (2017).

Jakučiūnas collaborates with the cultural press, writes literary criticism, and has published numerous texts on cultural and social topics, including those related to urban change, on the country’s largest online media outlets lrt.lt, 15min.lt, etc. He was honoured by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture Award for Journalism in 2012 and 2019. Presently Jakučiūnas is teaching creative communication at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas.