I was writing books before I even knew how to write. I would sound out words and write their approximations on sheets of typing paper and then illustrate them. From earliest childhood I knew that I wanted to write, and to paint. I remember spending my summers clacking away on my parents’ old typewriter, composing my first novels. I remember that one of those novels was set during the Great Depression.
As an undergraduate at Rutgers University I studied English, Creative Writing, worked towards a Minor in German Literature, took as many studio art courses as I could fit into my schedule, and earned a Secondary School Teaching Certificate in English. I still did not feel knowledgeable enough to teach, so I applied to Columbia University School of the Arts to study in the Master of Fine Arts program. To my astonishment, I was accepted. Columbia gave me my real foundations in the craft of writing poetry, as well as fiction and nonfiction. I always wanted to challenge myself to write at the best of my ability in all genres—poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction. I also worked to develop my skills as a literary translator from Lithuanian into English. Years later I earned a second MFA in Nonfiction from the University of New Hampshire. I am about to defend my doctoral dissertation in Cultural Studies from Vilnius University. Then I will consider my education finally complete.
While putting together this website, I had to go back and list the books that I have written. I was astounded to realize that I have written one novel, one collection of essays, four works of literary nonfiction, two collections of poetry, six plays (three of those for young adults), two children’s chapter books, and I edited three collections of contemporary Lithuanian literature. That’s nineteen books! All of those books were written in English, my native language. This spring, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I wrote my first book in Lithuanian, Karantino dienoraštis (The Quarantine Diary), and so that is my twentieth book!
I just keep writing as new themes that I wish to explore enter my life, as I find myself living in new countries and experiencing new cultures, but until now I hadn’t counted. I just kept on writing my way through life, eager to explore the insights I’ve gained with my readers. I have three novels in my head right now and hope to have time to write them down this year.
I have taught Creative Writing workshops since I graduated from Columbia University in 1994. That’s a quarter of a decade of teaching writing, working closely with students, drawing out their creativity and encouraging to find and trust their own writer’s voice.
My Lithuanian heritage has been important to me throughout my life. I was born in the New York metropolitan area to a mother who is the daughter of the legendary diplomat in exile, Ambassador Anicetas Simutis, and to a father who was a World War II displaced person from Lithuania. The intellectual Lithuanian diaspora community was a strong influence on shaping my character and I longed to learn the Lithuanian language thoroughly and to one day return to Lithuania. This is something that I have done. I am writing this while living in Lithuania right now. When I was sixteen in 1982, I enrolled myself in the Lithuanian Gymnasium in West Germany and earned a scholarship to attend high school there for two years. The generosity of that scholarship set me on a life course that has shaped me into the writer who I am today—a writer who writes about Lithuanian history and contemporary Lithuania and at the same time an American writer who writes about New York, New England, the years I’ve lived in Hong Kong and China and on other topics.
In 1987 I heard the Lithuanian poet Judita Vaičiūnaitė read in the basement of Our Lady of Vilnius Church in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York. I was so moved by her poetry, and the subtle resistance poetry of Marcelijus Martinaitis, Sigitas Geda, Vytautas Bložė, Nijolė Miliauskaitė, Justinas Marcinkevičius, and others, that I resolved I wanted to translate Lithuanian poetry into English. That evening the Lithuanian literary critic, Vytautas Kubilius, announced that Vilnius University would like to invite students of English literature to Vilnius University to study literary translation. I wrote a letter to Vilnius University and a year later, in the summer of 1988, I received a telegram inviting me to apply for a one-year Soviet student visa. I took a leave of absence from Rutgers University and arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania in time to join in the Singing Revolution, the Independence Movement. The spirit of those times is with me still and continues to inspire me as I research and write about Lithuania.
The selfless and sincere dedication of the people of Lithuania of those years to achieve freedom, independence, and democracy through techniques of peaceful resistance has taught me to value all human effort anywhere on the globe to achieve individual and national freedom from authoritarianism.
I feel that my contributions to helping to rebuild an independent Lithuania has been through literary translation, my writing and research about Lithuania, and through teaching. Together with my family, I returned to Lithuania as a Fulbright lecturer and taught in Vilnius University 1995 – 1997 and 2007 – 2011. I translated Marcelijus Martinaitis’s Kukučio baladės (The Ballads of Kukutis), and then K. B. Įtariamas (K. B., The Suspect). I edited and translated three anthologies of contemporary Lithuanian literature in the 1990s, when Lithuania was barely known to the outside world, and I have since then translated seven book length literary works from Lithuanian to English and countless poems, articles, and essays.
I continue to write and to encourage others to write.
There is nothing more wonderous than the timeless conversations we can hold with each other through literature.
Laima Vincė Sruoginis
• Doctoral Student in Cultural Studies, Vilnius University, 2020
• Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction, University of New Hampshire, 2014
• Master of Fine Arts in Writing, Columbia University, 1994
• Bachelor of Arts in English, Minor in German, Rutgers University, 1990
• Secondary School English Teaching Certificate, State of Maine
Additional Course Work
• Hong Kong University, English Department: Graduate course: Global Fiction,
• Hong Kong International School, College Board Training Course: Advanced
Placement Literature and Composition, 2013
• Fine Arts studio courses at School of Visual Arts, New York, Hunter College,
New York, The Art Students’ League of New York, University of Southern
•Fulbright Lecturer in Creative Writing, 1995 – 1997, 2007 - 2009
•National Endowment for the Arts, Literature Fellowship, 2004
•PEN International Translation Fund Grant, 2004
•Lithuanian National Drama Theater prize for best first play, 2011
•Three Percent Best Translated Poetry Book Award Short List, 2010
•National Lithuanian Television and Radio Prize for best books of 2008 for Children
•Witter Brynner Award for Young Literary Translators, 2003
•Academy of American Poets Award for Student Poetry, 1994
•New York State Yeats Society Fellowship, Yeats Summer School, Sligo, Ireland, 1993
•Karl and Franzeska Lederer Stipend for German Literature, 1989
•Goethe Institute Certificate for Excellence in German, 1989
•Membership in Delta Phi Alpha: German Honor Society, 1989
•Douglass College Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, 1986
Publications in English
•This is Not My Sky. Amazon Publishers, 2017
•A Writer in Stephen King Country (draft)
•The Way Life Should Be: Essays About People Who Live Their Dreams, Amazon
•Digging a Hole to China: A Memoir on Teaching and Traveling, Amazon
•The Snake in the Vodka Bottle: Life Stories from Post-Soviet Lithuania Twenty
Years After the Collapse of Communism, Amazon publishers, 2012
•Journey into the Backwaters of the Heart: Stories of Women Who Resisted Stalin and Hitler, Amazon publishers, 2012
•Lenin’s Head on a Platter: An American Student’s Diary from the Final Years of
the Soviet Union, Vilnius: Lithuanian Writers’ Union Publishers, 2008
• A Hike at the Seashore, Amazon Publishers, 2017
• How Many Ways Can You Break a Woman’s Heart, Amazon Publishers, 2017
• A Mong Kok Romeo and Juliet, Amazon Publishers, 2015
• , Amazon Publishers, 2014
• Friday Night Live in Hong Kong, Amazon Publishers, 2013
• The Interpreter, Amazon Publishers, 2012
•The Earth Remains: An Anthology of Contemporary Lithuanian Prose, Edited and translated by Laima Sruoginis, East European Monographs: Columbia University Press, 2003. Listed October 2008 National Geographic Traveler as one of the top two reads about Lithuania.
•Raw Amber: An Anthology of Contemporary Lithuanian Poetry, Edited by Laima Sruoginis and Wolfgang Goertsacher, Transl. by Laima Sruoginis, Poetry Salzburg, 2002.
•Lithuania: In Her Own Words, Edited by Laima Sruoginis, Tyto Alba, 1997. An
anthology of contemporary Lithuanian poetry and prose.
•The Ghost in Hannah's Parlor, Vilnius: Domus Lituanus, 2008
Essays in English
• “Poetry,” Vilnius Review: The Online Magazine for Lithuanian Literature, 2020
• “On Identity and Acceptance,” Vilnius Review: The Online Magazine for Lithuanian Literature, 2019
• “A Question of Identity: Lithuanian American/Canadian Writers,” Lituanus, Vol. 64 (2019)
• “Bhutan: A Land of Poetry,” Tashi Delek: Royal Bhutanese Airlines Flight Magazine, December, 2018
• “The Silenced Muse: The Life of a Murdered Jewish Poet,” Deep Baltic, May 2018
• “Mushroom Hunting in Vermont—Lithuanian Style,” Deep Baltic, 2017
• “The Snake in the Vodka Bottle,” Deep Baltic, 2017
• “Living in a State of Non-History,” Deep Baltic, 2017
• “Survival in a 1984 Soviet Bunker,” Deep Baltic, 2017
• “Her Nora Has Come Back from the Dead,” Deep Baltic, 2017
• “Tough Lessons Learned on the Edge of the Kalahari Desert,” The EARCOS Triannual Journal: Spring 2015
• “Candy As Memory Catalyst,” Lituanus, Vol. 60 (2014)
• “Tutoring Nepalese Children in Hong Kong,” The EARCOS Triannual
Journal: Fall 2014
• “Twenty-Four Teens and a Teacher in Siem Reap, Cambodia” Aspen Review 4: 2013
• “Antakalnis Cemetery,” Aspen Review 3: 2013
• “The Dictator Within,” Aspen Review 2: 2013
Plays Performed in English
•Chaos@Chungking.Mansions. American International School of Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Performance date: January 30, 2015.
•A Mong Kok Romeo and Juliet. American International School of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong. Performance date: May 2015.
•I Always Lock My Doors in Portland, Maine. Portland Stage Company, Improvised Puppet: Act One Scene Two series: Performance date: January 4, 2014.
•Friday Night Live in Hong Kong. American International School of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong: Performance date: November 29, 2013.
•The Interpreter, Freedom Ltd. Dublin, Ireland: Staged reading: Performance date: May 3, 2012.
Publications in Lithuanian
•Mūsų nepalaužė, trans. Inga Būdvytytė, Vilnius: Alma Littera, 2019
•Tai ne mano dangus (This Is Not My Sky), trans. Loreta Gema Baltaduonė,
Vilnius: Alma Littera, 2018
•Rašyti Gali Kiekvienas (Everybody Can Write), Vilnius: Baltos Lankos, 2010. A
textbook on teaching creative writing, including methodology, theory, and writing exercises.
•Juk pažadėjai (You promised), Vilnius: Baltos Lankos, 2010
•Lenino galva ant padėklo (Lenin’s Head on a Platter), trans. Eugenijus Ališanka,
Vilnius: Lietuvos Rašytojų Sąjungos Leidykla, 2008
•Anicetas Simutis: 60 Metų Lietuvos Diplomatinėje Tarnyboje (Anicetas Simutis: 60 Years of Diplomatic Service), Edited by Laima Vince Sruoginis and Rimantas
Morkvenas, Vilnius: The Lithuanian Centre for Genocide and Resistance, 2007. A
collection of the diplomatic and journalistic writing of my grandfather, Ambassador Anicetas Simutis, 1936 – 1991.
•Vaiduoklė Svetainėje (The Ghost in Hannah's Parlor), Laima Vince, Transl. by
Vida Bekštienė, Vilnius: Gimtasis Žodis, 2007. Selected by a committee of children’s book experts as one of the top five books for children published in Lithuania in 2007.
Plays Performed in Lithuanian
•Žygis prie jūros (A Hike at the Seashore) Alternatyvas Alternatyvai, Tallaght
Theatre, Dublin, Ireland, ten performances in 2017.
•Vertėjas (The Interpreter). Vilnius Chamber Theatre, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Performed once a month since September 2013 as part of the repertory theater; tours in the Lithuanian cities of Kaunas, Siauliai, Kedainiai. To date: 28
performances. This play is about global and social issues as experienced by
Lithuanian immigrants in the United Kingdom and filtered through a
Lithuanian/English telephone interpreter living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
•Vertejas (The Interpreter), Vilnius Chamber Theatre: Sponsored by the United
States Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. Special Baltic Pride performance dates:
Baltic Pride 2013 Program: July 26 and 27, 2013.
•Vertejas (The Interpreter), National Drama Theater, Vilnius: Staged reading:
Performance date: November 22, 2011. First place winner of the “Versme” National Drama Theater contest.
Essays in Lithuanian
• “Taip kinai susitaiko su totalitarizmu,” Literatūra ir Menas, January 18, 2020
• “Nutildyta mūza. Apie Matildos Olkinaitės gyvenimą ir poeziją,” Bernardinai,
January 25, 2019
Selected Translations from Lithuanian into English
•The Unlocked Diary: The Poetry and Diary of Matilda Olkintaitė, Trans. Laima
Vincė, Vilnius: The Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore, forthcoming
•The Ballads of Kukutis, Marcelijus Martinaitis, Trans. Laima Vince, United
Kingdom: Arc Publications, 2011 (Reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement,
•K.B., The Suspect, Marcelijus Martinaitis, Trans. Laima Vince, New York: White
Pines Press, 2009
•The Dead, Sigitas Parulskis, Trans. by Liz Donnaghue, Intermediate Translations by Laima Sruoginis, Munster Literature Center, 2004
•The Philosopher's Wife, Dalia Dilytė, Trans. Laima Vincė, Vilnius: Sofoklis, 2016
•Musica Mathematica, Rima Povilionienė, Trans. By Laima Vincė, New York: Peter Lang, 2016
•Forest Brothers, Juozas Lukša, Trans. Laima Sruoginis, Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2010
•My Voice Betrays Me, Vanda Juknaite, Trans. Laima Sruoginis, New York: East
European Monographs: Columbia University Press, 2007
•Just One Moment More, Konstancija Bražėniene, Trans. Laima Sruoginis, New
York: East European Monographs: Columbia University Press, 2007
•Letters from Nowhere, Jonas Mekas, Trans. Laima Sruoginis, Paris: Paris
• Sons of a Bitch, (Kalės vaikai), Saulius Šaltenis, Trans. Laima Vincė.
Performed by Klaipėda Theatre, 2018 - 2019. Directed by Eimantas
Nekrošius. Klaipėda International Theatre Festival, June 2018 and Shanghai
International Theatre Festival, September, 2018.
• The Girl Who God Feared, (Mergaitė, kuri bijojo Dievas), Gintaras
Grajauskas, Trans. Laima Vince. Performed in Dublin, Ireland, 2011.
• The Lives of the Dead, (Iš gyvenimo vėlių), Sigitas Parulskis, Trans. Laima
Vince. Performed in the Lithuanian Open Society Fund Theater Festival,
• Assistant Professor of English, the University of Southern Maine, Portland,
Maine (Online Creative Writing course and Ecocriticism course), 1998 - Present
• School Year Abroad – China, Beijing, Hosted by Beijing Normal University,
September 2017 – June 2019.
Taught a course on Chinese literature in English.
•American International School of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, August 2013 – July 2015. Position: Head of High School English Department and Twelfth Grade English Teacher. Courses taught: British Literature; Advanced Placement Literature and Composition; Drama.
•Modern Didactics Center, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2011 – 2013.
Position: Educational Researcher. Participated in a European Union sponsored project on researching and developing creative teaching methodology in literature and language education with a focus on grades four, eight, and eleven.
•Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater, Department of Theater and Film,
Vilnius, Lithuania, 2011 – 2012. Position: Assistant Professor. Courses taught: Playwriting.
•American International School of Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2009 – 2011.
Position: English teacher, grades 7 – 12. Courses taught: Advanced Placement
English Literature; English and American Literature; Speech and Debate;
Coordinator of Creative Writing program; Coordinator of visiting writers.
•Fulbright Lecturer in Creative Writing, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania,
2007 – 2009. Courses taught: Creative Writing; the Literature of War in America.
Other Fulbright duties: Taught teacher training workshops at the Teacher
Professional Development Center; wrote a textbook on teaching creative writing for Lithuania's largest educational publisher, Baltos Lankos; presented creative work frequently at readings and conferences in Lithuania and Europe; taught creative writing workshops in Lithuania and Europe.
•Stonecoast Summer Writers Conference, Freeport, Maine, 2004 – 2007. Position: Faculty Director. Responsibilities: Selected faculty to teach intensive writing workshops in Nonfiction, Poetry, Short Story, the Novel; organized faculty and student readings, panel discussions, workshops and thematic seminars; organized and supervised all aspects of a ten-day writing intensive conference.
•University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, 2000 – 2007. Position: Assistant
Professor of English. Courses taught: Fiction Writing; Poetry Writing; Advanced
Memoir; Creative Writing; Memoir and Autobiography; Topics in Literature;
Introduction to Literature; College Writing. Participated in the organization and
creation of the Creative Writing Minor. Organized and taught English Department courses at off-campus centers.
•University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, 1997 – 2000. Position: Adjunct
Professor of English. Courses taught: Creative Writing; Introduction to Literature;
College Writing; English as a Second Language
•Fulbright Lecturer in Creative Writing, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania and
Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania, 1995 – 1997. Courses taught:
Creative Writing; Literary Translation; Seminar on the American Multicultural
•College of New Rochelle, School of New Resources, New York, New York,
1994 –1995. Position: Lecturer. Courses taught: Academic Writing.
•Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University, New
York, 1993 – 1995. Position: Assistant Director. Oversaw all aspects of coordinating the visiting lecture series.
•Prentice Hall Publishers. Old Tappan, New Jersey, 1984 – 1985. Position:
•Simon and Schuster Publishers, Englewood, New Jersey, 1985 – 1988. Position:
Customer Service. Worked full-time in the customer service department during my semester breaks from Rutgers University.
•Freelance work: Contributing writer to Huffington Post Blog. Staff writer for the
Lithuanian Airlines magazine Lithuania in the World, September 2007 – 2009;
Summer Literary Seminars, Vilnius, Lithuania, July – August, 2009. Taught Travel
Writing to Concordia University students. Freelance Literary Translator, 1989 –
Present. Clients include: Institute for Lithuanian Literature and Folklore; Books
From Lithuania; Vilnius: An English Language Literary Magazine; The British
Council; Baltos Lankos; The Lithuanian Writers Union Publishers; The Aspen
Review; Lithuanian Culture Institute; Freelance writer.
•Narratives of Forced Migration, University of Stirling, Scotland, October, 2019.
Paper: “The Question of Identity: How Lithuanian American and Canadian Writers Self Identify.”
•IAFOR, Kobe, Japan, March, 2018. Paper: “The Microcosm Within the Macrocosm: How the Literature of a Small Country Fits Within a Global Context.”
•Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, University of Pennsylvania,
May 26-29, 2016: Panel presentation: “Researching and Writing the Lithuanian
•Lithuanian Culture Institute, Kedainiai, Lithuania. International Translators'
Conference, October 10-15, 2015: Staging of Vertejas (The Interpreter) followed by a discussion on the play.
•East Asia Council of Regional Schools, Sutera Harbor, Kota Kinabulu, Malaysia,
April, 2015 Presentation: “Strategies for Integrating Creative Writing Techniques
into Your Classroom.”
•Central East European Schools Association, Budapest, 2011: Presentation:
“Applying techniques of teaching Creative Writing to the ELL classroom.”
•The Center for the Study of Nazi and Soviet War Crimes in Lithuania, Ukmergė,
Lithuania, 2009 Presentation: Using Lenin’s Head on a Platter as a tool to teach
students about Soviet oppression.
•Stonecoast MFA, Summer Residency, Freeport, Maine, 2007: Seminar: “The Art of Translating Poetry.”
•English Teachers’ and Lecturers’ Association Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania, 1996. Seminar: “How to conduct a Creative Writing workshop for ELL students.”
•Lithuanian Association North American Studies Conference, Kaunas, Lithuania, 1996.
•Swedish National Conference of English Teachers, Gavle, Sweden, 1996.
Presentation: “Close Readings of American Multicultural Literature.”
•British Council Advanced Writing Conference, Tallinn, Estonia, 1996. Seminar:
“How to conduct a Creative Writing workshop for ELL students.”
•Vilnius Book Fair, Vilnius, Lithuania, February, 2020
•The Lithuanian-American Alliance, New York, New York, January 2020
•The Consulate General of Lithuania in New York, December, 2019
•Vilnius Book Fair, Vilnius, Lithuania, February, 2019
•Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2016
•Maine Writers Series, South Freeport Church, Freeport, Maine, 2016
•Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester, United Kingdom, 2011
•Lancaster Literature Festival, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 2011
•Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania, Dublin, Ireland, 2011
•Gothenburg Book Fair, Gothenburg, Sweden, 2011
•London City Poets, London, England, 2011
•Druskininkai Autumn Poetry Festival, Druskininkai, Lithuania, 2010, 2009, 2008,
•Vilnius Book Fair, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2010, 2009, 2008
•Lithuanian Liberals Conference, Kedainiai, 2010
•Lithuanian Translator’s Conference, Tomas Mann House, Nida, Lithuania, 2008,
•Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury, England, 2008
•Mažeikiai Library Reading Series, Mazeikiai, Lithuania, 2007
•SLOWWWO, Russian Poetry Festival, Kaliningrad, Russia, 2007
•Vermont College, Winter MFA Residency Program, Vermont, 2006
•Lithuanian Liberals’ Conference, Lemont, Illinois, 2004
•Valley Cottage Library, Valley Cottage, New York, 2004
•New York Public Library, New York, New York, 2004
•Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany, 2002
•American Literary Translators Conference, New Mexico, 1993
•The Baltic Center for Writers and Translators, Visby, Gotland, 2008
•Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference, Freeport, Maine, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
•Lithuanian Writers Union
•Associated Writers Program
•Modern Language Association
•Mother tongue: American English
•Expert in Lithuanian with native fluency
•Intermediate in German
•Some reading and speaking knowledge of Russian
•Basic conversational Mandarin