Gunnhild Øyehaug Interview: Crossing Long and Short



“Using language takes you in unexpected directions.” Meet the award-winning poet and writer Gunnhild Øyehaug, who has been described as “a Norwegian master of the short story.” In this video, she talks about the potential of short stories and her interest in writing about interpersonal relationships.

“I think I work a lot with crossing different styles. Crossing long and short. The essay style with the narrative,” says Øyehaug of her way of writing. However, she adds, she is also fond of poetry’s condensational nature and feels that the best way to describe herself as a writer is by viewing her texts as focused on junctures: “You could say that I’m a prose writer longing to reconnect with poetry.” The Norwegian writer considers writing a form of identity, as well as a kind of freedom on a personal level: “It’s a way of saying something that I can’t say any other way.” The most fascinating thing about writing, she finds, is that unexpected things always happen – the text takes over in an unforeseen way, which gives her a sort of “kick.”

Øyehaug feels that the short story is good at capturing things on a particulate level: “It allows something simple to define the entire text.” In connection to this, she talks about her collection of short stories ‘Knots’ (2004), in which she sought to “describe people in relation to each other as an organic, indefinable movement.” Finally, Øyehaug touches upon her interest in the individual versus the collective, as well as the disparity between the interior and the exterior.

Gunnhild Øyehaug (b. 1975) is a Norwegian poet and writer. Øyehaug made her literary debut in 1998 with her poetry collection ‘Slave of the Blueberry’ (‘Slaven av blåbæret’, 1998). Her second book ‘Knots: Stories’ (2017) (Knutar, 2004) received rave reviews and was nominated for the Brage Prize of the Norwegian Publisher’s Association. She is also the author of ‘Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life’ (2018) (Vente, blinke’, 2008), which was turned into the acclaimed film ‘Women in Oversized Men’s Shirts’ in 2015. Øyehaug is also the editor of the leading Norwegian literary journal, ‘Vagant’ as well as co-editor of the literary journal ‘Kraftsentrum’. She lives in Bergen, Norway.

Gunnhild Øyehaug was interviewed by Anette Dina Sørensen in August 2018 in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.

Camera: Klaus Elmer

Produced and edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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