Crown’s Tricia Boczkowski on Marina Abramović and Her Memoir WALK THROUGH WALLS
Tricia Boczkowski, Vice President, Editorial Director, Crown Archetype, answers three questions about her work on WALK THROUGH WALLS by Marina Abramović, on sale now from Crown Archetype. Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A
remarkable work of performance in its own right, WALK THROUGH WALLS is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist. For fascinating insights, read on.
What was the genesis of Marina Abramović’s memoir, WALK THROUGH WALLS, and what was involved in the title being acquired by Crown?
Marina is turning seventy in November and decided to mark the occasion by writing her memoir. When she came around with her agent to meet with publishers, we were her twelfth and final meeting. But durational performance artist that she is, Marina was as full of energy as if it were her first. Before the meeting began she perused the bookshelves in the conference room until she came across two titles that delighted her so much she wanted to take them home: one called Yogurt and the other called Unleash the Power of the Female Brain. From those disparate topics we launched into an expansive conversation that gave us a true taste of Marina’s dynamic storytelling ability and were completely hooked.
How would you describe the editor/writer relationship and process between you and Marina during the creation of this book?
To know Marina is to love her. Within moments of meeting her you understand why thousands of people stood in line at her 2010 MoMA retrospective for a chance to sit across from her and communicate nonverbally. She is warm, funny, smart, and endlessly charismatic…. She’s also insanely busy, traveling nonstop with a full year of exhibitions ahead. So no small credit is due to her collaborator, James Kaplan (author of Frank and Sinatra), who managed to capture Marina’s distinctive voice so vividly on the page. Once you join Marina’s team, you join her extended family, and it’s a wonderful family to be a part of.
What aspects of WALK THROUGH WALLS do you think will resonate most strongly with readers?
Marina set out to write a book that would resonate with anyone who has experienced pain…which is to say all of us. In pushing her own body past its limits, she was able to overcome her fears, find human connection, and experience emotional and spiritual transformation. She hopes to inspire people to leave their comfort zones, walk through their own walls, and experience the freedom that comes with perseverance. There’s also an epic, heart-rending love story at the book’s core that sucks you in from the start. And jokes. Lots of jokes tinged with her indelible Balkan sense of humor.