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“It’s like a slightly overweight, bald boss saying: ‘Oy, get to work! You’re supposed to be a writer, aren’t you? You can’t just sit around on your fat ass waiting to be inspired’.” Hear how David Mitchell and seven other critically acclaimed authors face the blank page.

“The blank page of the mind has to be filled before you can face the actual blank page,” says American author novelist Jonathan Franzen (b. 1959) – a view mirrored by several of the writers featured in this anthology. Lydia Davis (b. 1947) never sits down in front of a blank page, but only confronts it when she has a note or a thought at hand, and Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938) runs, meditates and thinks deeply before approaching the blank page: “I would never write first,” she says. “As soon as you write in language it becomes frozen (…) writing prematurely is a mistake.”

A blank page can also be a door, a portal opening onto infinite possibilities. To David Mitchell (b. 1969) the blank page is like a fantastic night sky “with a super moon really close to the ground and all the stars and the galaxies. It makes your heart beat faster.” And the most important, explains award-winning author Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), is to be in the flow: “If you’re skiing downhill, and you stop in the middle of it to think ‘how am I doing this?’ you’ll fall over.”

Also featured in this anthology is German novelist Daniel Kehlmann (b. 1975), American novelist Philipp Meyer (b. 1974) and Egyptian novelistAlaa Al-Aswany (b. 1947).
Interviews by Christian Lund, Kasper Bech Dyg and Marc-Christoph Wagner. The interviews can be watched in full length at channel.louisiana.dk.

Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016

 

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