Tomas Espedal Interview: My Books are About Language



“You have to cross all boundaries and live with the consequences.” Interview with award winning Norwegian writer Tomas Espedal on how being a writer means being willing to write about everything, even if doing so means hurting those closest to you.

“Writing often creates crises. It’s not therapeutic. But reading can be, because it’s comforting.” In this interview Espedal talks of having a special relationship with language and about the difficulty of writing contrasted to the pleasure of reading. Espedal says he thinks all writers have a sense of loneliness as foundation. Reading makes you realise that others have felt like you, that you are not alone, he says. He also talks of his mother, and how he began reading her books in an effort to get to know her and understand her better. By reading you can understand life better and it can even give you a greater faith in life.

Espedal also talks of his writing techniques, how he has managed to work as a single dad, and how he prefers to write on a typewriter. Typewriting is a organic method of re-writing till you get a good concentrate, he says. It’s a craft binding the hand and the mind together: “I’ve written one book on the computer, and it is really bad.”

Norwegian writer Tomas Espedal (b.1961) made his literary debut in 1988 with the novel ‘En vill flukt av parfymer’. Espedals 2006 novel ‘Gå. Eller kunsten å leve et vilt og poetisk liv’ was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, and in 2009 he was awarded the Norwegian Critics Price for Literature for his novel ‘Imot kunsten (notatbøkene)’.

Tomas Espedal was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken

Edited by Martin Kogi

Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner, 2013

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

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