Kerstin Ekman

Kerstin Ekman

Be Careful of Writers

Swedish writer Kerstin Ekman, one of Scandinavia’s most renowned authors, talks about how she uses her own experiences when writing and why we should be careful of writers when they try to preach to us about society.

In this interview Kerstin Ekman (b. 1933) explores her relationship to literature. Growing up in rural surroundings, reading was already important during childhood. Later on, especially Thomas Mann and other German authors draw Ekman's attention. Then, because of a longer period of illness, Ekman starting writing herself - in the beginning concentrating on crime fiction. Very soon, Ekman tells, she found out, that the crime story format was not enough for her. She was getting more engaged in social issues. Especially nature, and society's relationship to nature, has since played an important role in all her books. Importantly though, Ekman underlines, that writers do not have a moral higher than others. As the example of Strindberg has shown, you can be a brilliant author and at the same time have views on society and public life, which we should be be careful of listening to.

Kerstin Ekman was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner during the Louisiana Literature festival, 2012.

Camera: Troels Kahl and Martin Kogi
Produced by: Martin Kogi & Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2012

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Sammy Baloji

    The Past in Front of Us

    Through his intriguing and poignant pictures, Congolese artist and photographer Sammy Baloji confronts the Western portrayal of his country by linking old photographs from Belgian colonial times with contemporary ones. The result is captivating.

  • COBE

    Monuments of the Future

    Dan Stubbergaard, founder of the internationally praised COBE Architects, takes us around his hometown Copenhagen in Denmark to show and discuss what motivates their exciting socially conscious and highly innovative projects.

  • Juliana Spahr

    Politics in a Poem

    “Politics are constantly shaping literary practices.” Pioneering and conceptually challenging American poet Juliana Spahr here ponders on the tenuous, ever-changing overlap between poetry and politics.

  • Christien Meindertsma

    The Illusion of Safety

    Does increased security make you feel safer? Cool Dutch designer and artist Christien Meindertsma investigates this issue in her compelling art book ’Checked Baggage’, which comprises a week’s worth of objects confiscated in Schiphol Airport after 9/11.

  • Michael Ondaatje

    We Can’t Rely on One Voice

    Man Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, widely known for the novel ‘The English Patient’, here contemplates how his novels always start with a landscape and end with a conversation. It’s through these different voices that his stories truly come alive.

  • Susan Hiller

    Advice to the Young

    Too many people think that you can only be creative within the field of art: “It’s not just a little ghetto called ‘art’ that allows you to do that.” Internationally acclaimed artist Susan Hiller advises younger colleagues not to make art unless they have to.

  • Alfredo Jaar

    Images are not Innocent

    "A million people were killed in 100 days under the criminal indifference of the world". In this interview artist Alfredo Jaar reminds us of the importance of images and why they are not innocent.

  • Michael Ondaatje

    The Music in the Words

    “The rhythm of music has been the biggest influence on my writing – it’s not Wordsworth, it’s Ray Charles.” Michael Ondaatje, one of Canada’s greatest authors, on how music and writing are so connected that they must sometimes be separated.

  • Susan Hiller

    Stories from the Other Side

    A cascade of voices belonging to people who have been declared physically dead, but lived to tell the story, comes together in a ghostlike installation of 104 screens. Experience the intriguing art installation by the influential American artist Susan Hiller.

  • Jeffrey Eugenides

    Reading from 'The Marriage Plot'

    “The problem of being Superman was that everybody else was so slow.” Enjoy this video of Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides reading a hilarious section from his novel ’The Marriage Plot’.

  • Umberto Eco

    Advice to the Young

    Best-selling Italian novelist Umberto Eco here advises aspiring writers not to take themselves too seriously, but to go step by step and remember that: “You’re 10 per cent inspiration and 90 per cent perspiration.”

  • Norman Foster

    Striving for Simplicity

    “Quality is an attitude of mind.” The great architectural mastermind of our time Norman Foster, who turned 80 in June 2015, here reflects on a long and prosperous career – and life – with prominent buildings and more than 1,000 employees all over the world.