Peter Høeg Interview: On Fame

“Lots’ of people have money and fame, but they aren’t satisfied. They are stuck on the treadmill.” Meet world famous author Peter Høeg, who here reflects on the success of his bestseller Smilla’s sense of snow. “I am grateful for my success and my readers, I am also very happy that it eases off.”

“The success I had with Smilla was okay. It’s a part of my destiny. From my very first book , I have had the freedom to dispose of my own time. That’s the greatest freedom you can have, but you must internalize it as well. You may earn a lot of money, but if you become addicted to fame and attention, you aren’t free. Then you are chained. I have learned that fame and notoriety are temporary. So it’s fleeting and I never got caught up in it.”

Peter Høeg was born in 1957 and grew up around Copenhagen. He studied literature and worked as a sailor, ballet dancer and actor before focusing on his career as a writer in the 1980’s. His first novel, A History of Danish Dreams, was published in 1988 and well received by critics who in Høeg discovered a new literary voice with an international potential. The novel was followed by Tales of Night in 1990 and ‘Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow’ in 1992 – a crime-story about the scientist Smilla Jaspersen who investigates the mysterious death of a small Greenlandic boy who lived in her housing complex in central Copenhagen. The book turned out an international bestseller and was adapted to film by Danish Oscar-winner Bille August five years later. In 1993, Høeg followed up with ‘Borderliners’ – a critical novel about the Danish school- and education system that the author experienced himself in the early 1960’s. The excerpts about time, that Høeg reads in this video, are taken from this book. After ‘The Woman and the Ape’ in 1996 there was a span of ten years before Høeg released ‘The Quiet Girl’ in 2006. Since then ‘The Elephant Keepers’ Children’ (2010), ‘The Susan Effect’ (2014) and ‘Through your eyes’ (2018) were published.

Peter Høeg was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Vækstcentret – a training center for meditation – close to his home in Nørre Snede, Jutland in August 2020.

Camera: Klaus Elmer and David Schweiger
Edit: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020
Supported by C.L. Davids Fond og Samling




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