Sjón Interview: Advice to the Young
Remember what excited you when you were a child, and carry that enthusiasm onwards. Award-winning writer Sjón here advises young writers not to be embarrassed by what initially inspired them: “All of us come to culture through trash.”
“Very few of us grow up in a castle, and have private tutors who teach us Greek before noon and Latin in the afternoon, and then we take piano classes and learn about classical painting.” Don’t spend too much time worrying about living up to certain cultural standards, and accept that culture exists on many levels, Sjón argues: “In my case, the impression that the Icelandic folk stories had on me, and at the same time I was highly impressed by the Belgian boy detective novels about Bob Morane. These two elements informed me as a reader. They excited me as a reader. And it’s that excitement that I would like to return.”
Sjón (b. 1962 as Sigurjón Birgir Sigurosson) is an Icelandic writer, poet, playwright and lyricist. He received the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize in 2005 for his novel ‘The Blue Fox’ (‘Skugga-Baldur’, 2003). Sjón has been active on the Icelandic music scene since the early 1980s and is also known for his collaborations with legendary Icelandic musician Björk and was nominated for an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for the song ‘I’ve Seen It All’ from the film ‘Dancer in the Dark’. He currently resides in Reykjavík, Iceland with his wife and children.
Sjón was interviewed by Bjørn Bredal in connection to the Louisiana Literature festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in August 2014.
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Edited by: Sonja Strange
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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