Beate Grimsrud

Beate Grimsrud

Who You Are

A common thread in Beate Grimsrud’s novels is her portrayal of offbeat characters. Find out how the Norwegian writer wishes to broaden the spectrum for normality by becoming “a ladder” for all voices: “I suppose my aim is to include the outsiders.”

“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. She has written a wide selection of praised novels, short stories and children's books. Her 2010 novel ‘En dåre fri’ ('A Fool, Free') 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

  • Joyce Pensato

    Advice to the Young

    Homer, Mickey, Batman! Joyce Pensato – known for her unique work inspired by cartoon and comic book characters – here advises young artists to keep at it, love what they’re doing and, most importantly, “show your work, get it out there!”

  • Ulay

    Advice to the Young

    “If you want and need inspiration – go behind the central station.” The iconic artist – and self-proclaimed anarchist – Ulay here advises young artists to avoid art institutions and to make works that meet their own needs rather than that of the audience.

  • George Condo

    The Artist at Work

    The mind of American artist George Condo has been referred to as a place where “Picasso meets Looney Tunes.” Watch him at work in his New York-studio where he draws and paints his take on a 19th century painting by Manet.

  • Ulay

    Under My Skin

    This is the story of legendary artist Ulay, famous for his collaboration with Marina Abramović. As a solo artist in search for his identity, Ulay’s radical works have pushed the limits of photography and performance using his own body as material.

  • Olga Tokarczuk

    I Absorb Stories

    Olga Tokarczuk – one of the most important Polish writers of her generation – here shares how she draws inspiration from others: “People tell amazing micro-stories or even bigger stories. I seize them, absorb them and transform them in my books.”

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Mika Rottenberg

    What is the Connection

    The exceptional video artist Mika Rottenberg here presents her intriguing video installation ‘Cosmic Generator.’ Set on the U.S.-Mexico border and in a huge Chinese market, the work explores the collapse – or reinforcement – of distance.