“When you start reading, you learn who you are and also who you aren’t.” As a child, reading and writing weren’t easy for Grimsrud, as she was both vision-impaired and dyslexic. This, however, didn’t prevent her from being a born storyteller: “Thinking back I was rather like the girl in ‘One Thousand and One Nights’. I told stories to survive. And after what I’ve been through in my life, I still do that.” Because of her dyslexia, Grimsrud doesn’t read books, but listens to audio books instead: “I started when I was 23, and it was great to enter the world of literature.”
According to Grimsrud there is a clear distinction between the things that go on inside and outside, and whereas the things that go on in your head don’t have to conform to the surrounding world, the things you say usually follow implicit conventions: “No matter whose thoughts you could read, they’d come off as crazy… speaking is a way of showing you’re a good person. That you know the rules.” When she writes, she therefore aims to make “the inside so big that there is no outside.”
Grimsrud was – and is – very much into sports, but following an accident where she hurt her back, she decided to focus on doing something about her stories. In connection to this, she draws on her experience from sports when writing, always pushing things a little further when she is on the verge of quitting: “… sports has taught me, both when writing and in life, not to give up. When you’re lying on the floor drenched in sweat and you can’t go on and your coach tells you to do another 30 push-ups and 150 sit-ups, some might give up, but I think: “Okay!””
Beate Grimsrud (b. 1963) is a Norwegian writer and playwright. Her novel ‘En dåre fri’ (2010) was awarded the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature. Among several other literary awards, Grimsrud was awarded the prestigious Dobloug Prize in 2011. She lives and works in Sweden.
Beate Grimsrud was interviewed by Anette Dina Sørensen in August 2016 in connection with the Louisiana Literature Festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
Camera: Anders Lindved
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Nordea-fonden