An Exact Emotional State
“I always want to reach an emotional state, so exact and sharp that there are no words to say it.”
Meet the Berlin-based Argentinian writer Samanta Schweblin who reflects on writing and on being a Latin American writer. She quotes American writer Rebecca Solnit: “A good book is a heart that beats in someone else’s chest”. Read more …
It wasn’t until Schweblin moved to Berlin from Buenos Aires that she started to feel like a Latin American writer. When living in Argentina, Samanta Schweblin had only a little access to Latin American writers because each Latin American country only published its own national writers.
Therefore, she mostly read literature in translation until moving to Berlin, where Schweblin discovered “the biggest Latin American library in Europe”. At least half of Argentinian writers teach literary workshops in their homes and Schweblin took this tradition to Berlin. It obliges her “to face situations, writing styles, tones, storytellers, and genres that I wouldn’t naturally turn to.” Schweblin thinks “it is impossible to run away from your own fears, the big existential questions”. Therefore, she is not interested in the plot, but to reach “an exact emotional state”, where the plot is only “a bridge” to the reader.
Samanta Schweblin (b. 1978) is an Argentinian writer. Her first publications – two slim volumes of prose, ‘The Core of the Disturbance’ (2002) and ‘Birds in the Mouth’ (2009) – immediately led to her international breakthrough. Her short story collections have received numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize. Her original short novel ‘Fever Dream’ (2017, originally published 2014) is her first novel translated into English and was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Both Mario Vargas Llosa and the literary magazine Granta have proclaimed Schweblin as one of the most interesting contemporary young Spanish-language writers. She lives and works in Berlin.
Samanta Schweblin was interviewed by Peter Adolphsen at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival in August 2021.
Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Johan von Bülow
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2021
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet and C.L. Davids Fond og Samling.
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