“We are a literary species.”

Editing: Zachary Jacoba
Transcription: Miriam Schulten
Interview: Zachary Jacoba, Max Richter

Sjón, the contemporary Icelandic author par excellence, was among the internationally renowned poets and novelists who were invited to the second annual Poetica festival for world literature in Cologne. Norrøna was granted an interview with the astoundingly versatile writer and thus received the opportunity to pick his brain concerning himself, his work and literature on the whole.

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Sjón at the Nordic House in Reykjavík in 2005 (Source: Johannes Jansson – norden.org)

Norrøna: You’re here in Cologne for the Poetica festival, which gives your work the chance to be read in front of an audience and in a way close the gap between reader and writer that usually characterizes literature. Are literary performances and festivals an intrinsic part of literature as an art form, or just a part of the business?

Sjón: Well, my background is in the Icelandic scene of the eighties, where poets and musicians came together and rock concerts were a very important place for us to meet people and make ourselves heard. I used to read my poems between bands at these rock concerts, so I was very much aware from the beginning that there is an added dimension when you perform the poems yourself. But it’s not something that I try to rely on too much when I write them. They should survive my existence and have a life of their own.  Weiterlesen