Paul Auster

Paul Auster

How I Became a Writer

A rare visit at Paul Auster's brownstone home in Brooklyn. Auster shares the story of how he became a writer and how he works: “A good day's work is if I have one typed page at the end of the day, two is amazing, three is a miracle.”

New York novelist, Paul Auster, tells the story about how striking out on an autograph from the legendary baseball player Willie Mays led him to become a writer.

“After that incident at the age of 7, I always remember to keep a pen in my pocket, because you never know when you might need one.”

Auster is widely known for his use of blurring out the lines between realism and fiction in his writing, drawing on his own experiences: “The job of a writer is to keep his eyes open. In this video he reflects on what it means to be a writer and why a good day's work sometimes consist of crumbling up the written papers and throwing them into the trash."

When Auster was young he wanted to write something beautiful, but as he got older he discovered that this wasn't what it was all about: “The essence of being an artist is to confront the things you are trying to do, to tackle it head on, and if it is good, it will have its own beauty - an unpredictable beauty.”

Paul Auster (born 1947) is a highly acclaimed American novelist. He has published numerous novels such as the famous ‘The New York Trilogy’ (1987), ‘Moon Palace’ (1989), ‘Sunset Park’ (2010) and the autobiographical books ‘Winter Journal’ (2012) and ‘Report From the Interior’ (2013). He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, novelist Siri Hustvedt.

Paul Auster was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in Brooklyn, New York, December 2014.

Camera: Anders Urmacher

Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Renzo Piano

    On the Shoulders of Giants

    In-depth biographical interview with the Pritzker prizewinning Italian architect Renzo Piano – known for celebrated buildings such as The Shard and Centre Georges Pompidou – who explains why it’s okay “to steal” as long as you give something back.

  • Bjarke Ingels

    Different Angles

    “Great buildings blatantly express their true essence to the world.” The lauded Danish architect Bjarke Ingels here shares his personal story and his bold approach to architecture, which he feels should always be playful, generous and empathetic.

  • Riad Sattouf

    On 'The Arab of the Future'

    Franco-Syrian Riad Sattouf here discusses his emotionally honest graphic memoir, praised as ”a classic within its genre.” Sparked by the civil war in Syria, it is told from a child’s perspective, humorously balancing between two cultures.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

  • Svetlana Alexievich

    A Human is a Scary Creature

    Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich is known for her monumental non-fiction narratives exploring war and its aftermath in the former Soviet Union. In this video she discusses the role of the writer in a corrupted society permeated by money.

  • Eileen Myles

    A Poem Says 'I Want'

    “I think a poem really is a statement of desire.” Meet the legendary American poet, writer – and homosexual icon – Eileen Myles. In this video, she discusses the innate power of poetry and how to address the absence of the female genitalia.

  • Sambuichi

    One with the Earth's Cycle

    “Architecture should thrive like a plant.” Gain insight into the philosophy of a frontrunner in sustainable architecture, Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi, and hear how he created some of his unique, site-specific buildings.