Unless you’re a former US president, the Dalai Lama or a world recordbreaking athlete, few people write their autobiographies. But we sometimes realise that the life of the person next to you can be equally interesting. Today we look at five things you (most likely) didn’t know about Voicu Mihnea Simandan, the author of the intertextual study The Matrix and the Alice Books.
1. He’s a Bangkok-based Romanian writer. Voicu Mihnea Simandan was born, raised and educated in a small city in Transylvania, Romania. In 2002, at the ripe age of 24, after working for a year as a teaching assistant at his local university, he packed his bags and moved to Thailand to continue his career as a secondary school teacher. He now lives in Bangkok with his Thai wife and teachers Language Arts and Social Studies at an international school in Bangkok.
2. He is an accomplished archer. In 2009, after a ligament injury, Mihnea took a break from martial arts, his passion since high school, and started practicing archery. Although he has never shot a single arrow in his home country, he now represents Romania at a range of international archery competitions organized on the Asian continent. In 2012, he finished the winter indoor season in 9th place at the Indoor World Cup held in Singapore.
3. He has been a freelance journalist for the last 16 years. Apart from writing fiction and being a school teacher, Mihnea is also a freelance journalist with hundreds of articles published in newspapers, magazines and journals in both Romania and Thailand. On a monthly basis, he publishes two articles in an English-language Bangkok-based magazine, covering diverse topics from art to sport and from literature to tourism.
4. He has an extensive presence on the Internet. Mihnea’s first internet article was published on a Romanian book review blog (bookblog.ro) in 2006 and reflected his interest in Japanese literature. His love for books, especially about the Japanese culture, history and civilization, hasn’t wavered a bit in the years following his internet debut. Since 2009, when he started his own blog (simandan.com), he has published over 600 book reviews, author interviews, and travel articles.
5. He is passionate about Japan and martial arts. Mihnea has been practicing aikido, a Japanese martial arts for many years now. His fascination with all things Japanese is obvious both in the non-fiction articles, studies and books he has published until now as well as in his more recent fiction work, where his characters are ninjas, yakuza or samurai. He goes to Japan on a yearly basis to travel and gather material for his writings.
Voicu Mihnea Simandan is currently on a virtual tour with The Matrix and the Alice Books, an intertextual study that looks at the connection between the sci-fi movie The Matrix and Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
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Genre – Non-Fiction/Movie Studies/Literary Criticism
Rating – G