Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis

Reading 'Goodbye Louise'

"Linda, Lyidia, Lindon, Lyda…" The acclaimed American short story writer Lydia Davis reads an ongoing piece of writing - 'a false autobiography' - of mistakes made about her name and profession. It's funny!

In this video Lydia Davis (b. 1947) reads "Goodbye Louise, Or Who I Am", a self-invented genre, which has not yet been included in any book. It is an ongoing piece of writing which Davis calls "a false autobiography" because it is supposed to collect information about her, but the information is wrong. The piece takes it's title from a conversation Lydia Davis had with a person who were supposed to know her name, but at the end of the conversation the person said: "Goodbye Louise", the writer explains.

Lydia Davis is regarded as "the master of form largely of her own invention". She has written a number of collections of short stories and one novel. When Lydia Davis received the Man Booker International Prize in 2013 the chairman of the judges said her "writings fling their lithe arms wide to embrace many a kind. Just how to categorise them? They have been called stories but could equally be miniatures, anecdotes, essays, jokes, parables, fables, texts, aphorisms or even apophthegms, prayers or simply observations."

Besides being a writer Lydia Davis is also an acclaimed translator of writers like Proust, Flaubert and Maurice Blanchot.

American writer Jonathan Franzen has characterized Lydia Davis in this way: "She is the shorter Proust among us. She has the sensitivity to track the stuff that is so evanescent it flies right by the rest of us. But as it does so it leaves enough of a trace that when you read her you do it with a sense of recognition."

Lydia Davis read 'Goodbye Louise, Or Who I Am' at the Louisiana Literature festival 22. august 2014, at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark.

Cameras: Klaus Elmer & Nikolaj Jungersen
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Doug Aitken

    The Nomadic Studio

    In this interview featuring extracts from Doug Aitken’s visually stunning videos, the American multimedia artist offers insight into his captivating work and how he learns from “watching things become a car crash in slow motion.”

  • Richard Ford

    Art is Heavy Lifting

    Watch Richard Ford on escaping the ‘southern writer’ label and how writing a novel is satisfyingly hard work: “Why should it be simple? Why shouldn’t it be a clerical nightmare? Why shouldn’t it take four years? That’s what I want it to be – a masterpiece.”

  • Joshua Oppenheimer

    Advice to the Young

    “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you how it should be done.” The commended American director Joshua Oppenheimer – nominated twice for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature – here shares his powerful advice for aspiring filmmakers.

  • Rachel Kushner

    Putting in the Hours

    “There’s something about habit that’s elemental.” American author Rachel Kushner has no doubt that consistent work on a novel is key. You never know when a moment of inspiration is going to hit – but when it does, you have to be there.

  • Margarethe von Trotta

    A Group of Rebels

    Award-winning film director Margarethe von Trotta – who has worked closely with the legendary directors Fassbinder and Schlöndorff – here shares the story of her winding road to becoming one of the leading contemporary German filmmakers.

  • Superflex

    Why We Flooded McDonald’s

    What motivates a Danish artists' group to make a movie where one of the most famous American fast food restaurants is inexplicably flooded? Superflex here comment on the content of their “post-apocalyptic movie” ‘Flooded McDonald’s’.

  • Peter Zumthor

    Different Kinds of Silence

    We visited Peter Zumthor – one of the world’s leading architects – in his studio in Switzerland. In this extensive and rare biographical video interview he tells the captivating story of his childhood, his studies in NYC and his parents’ strong influence.

  • Anna Bjerger

    It's All About Process

    “The painting moves me forward – and I follow.” Meet Swedish Anna Bjerger, who wants to preserve the excitement of painting, and who paints from photographs, feeling that she can somehow rescue images “that would otherwise disappear.”

  • 3 Artists

    On Yayoi Kusama’s Phalli’s Field

    An absorbing installation of mirrors and soft polka dots by Yayoi Kusama. Join artists Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Astrid Svangren and Alexander Tovborg as they explore what Kusama herself describes as “a sublime, miraculous field of phalluses.”

  • Colm Tóibín

    On Writing

    The award-winning Irish writer Colm Tóibín here shares his meticulous approach to writing, and how a novel can begin with – and build on – just one perfectly shaped sentence: “It moves into rhythm when you least expect it.”

  • David Shrigley

    Advice to the Young

    “You’re on the right track if you’re excited about what you’re doing.” David Shrigley, known for his humorous spin on common situations, here advises his colleagues to be open to learning from mistakes and stresses that being an artist “isn’t for everybody.”

  • Richard Ford

    Politicians are Liars

    “You get the politics that you deserve.” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Ford here speaks bluntly of the interplay between politicians and the public in America, arguing that people can only blame themselves for being lied to by politicians.