David Vann: Writing is a Second Chance

You need two things for a good book: a character with a problem and a landscape. Hear American bestselling-author David Vann tell why.

A good story starts with a landscape, tells bestselling-author David Vann (b. 1966). It forms the characters and it decides, how a story develops. “Landscapes can be anything. We can fill them. It’s through the landscapes, that most surprises come.”

Vann himself spent his childhood in Alaska. “There were wolves and bears and most days were filled with rain. In the woods, I always felt watched and hunted.”

Thus, Vann argues, that landscapes form the personalities of the persons living in them. “There is a transformation of the unconcious”. But even though one cannot escape your inner landscapes, literature allows you to confront them. “For decades I wanted to remake myselv and my family. I wanted to confront the ugly stories of the past and the suicide of my father. I wanted a secobd chance, I wanted to say yes to my father.”

David Vann’s books including Legend of a suicide (2008), Caribou Island (2011), Dirt (2012) and Goat Mountain (2013) have been published in more than 20 languages. He has received numerous prices, including best foreign novel in France and Spain and the St. Francis College Literary Prize 2013. Vann works currently as a professor at the University of Warwick in England and Honorary Professor at the University of FRanche-Comté in France.

David Vann was interviewed by Kristian Bang Foss at the Louisiana Literature festival 2012.

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Edit: Kamilla Bruus

Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner


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