What’s your name?
Patrick Lennon. But I sometimes wonder whether I wouldn’t prefer using another name, a pseudonym of some sort. I sometimes feel hemmed in by Patrick Lennon, for some odd reason, and I wonder whether using a pen name mightn’t help loosen me up a bit. There is a crime writer called Patrick Lennon and I don’t know whether that’s his real name or a pen name, but that’s not me.
But you still prefer to give your real name?
Because that’s who I am. It’s my real name. And because I’m not sure that using a pseudonym really suits me. It’s a fascinating subject. I see there’s a book by Carmela Ciuraru on the subject called Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms. It covers writers like George Orwell, George Eliot, Lewis Carroll and loads more. And I see on the Wikipedia page on pen names that C.S. Lewis published A Grief Observed (written after the death of his wife) under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk. I always thought it was by C.S. Lewis, but who is ‘N.W. Clerk’? Who, for that matter, is Ellis Bell, the great pseudonym Emily Brontë chose? I also feel that if I were to use a pseudonym I’d be unfaithful to myself in a sense and to the Patrick Lennons who came before me.
Have you ever thought of a pseudonym you could use?
I have. I’ve thought of a few, but I don’t know which one I’d choose, and I don’t know what I’d think of this new identity.
Where do you live?
In Brussels, Belgium.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a freelance translator. I have another blog where I present some of the stuff I do: thisispatricklennon.com.
What’s Superserious about?
I’m not quite sure. It was intended as something on novels with pictures in them, but I’ve kind of lost sight of that goal, not least because I find it difficult to talk about something if you don’t have a name for it. I recently became interested in books on Belgium too. So far I haven’t managed to stay really focused on either subject.
Why did you choose the name Superserious?
It has to do with Philip Roth, the pope of superseriousness. When he started out as a writer he took Literature with a capital L very seriously, superseriously. His first two novels – Letting Go and When She Was Good – have little to do with the Philip Roth who emerged with Portnoy’s Complaint. Roth has written on the subject in his essays and interviews.
Do you often interview yourself?
No, never. It’s the first time. It’s another thing I borrowed from Philip Roth.