“I´m one of those boys who never grew up.”

 

Three members of the ALMA jury: Lennart Eng, Stefan Casta and Ulf Boëthius. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Three members of the ALMA jury: Lennart Eng, Stefan Casta and Ulf Boëthius. Photo: Stefan Tell.

ALMA jury member Stefan Casta is a highly productive author and one of Sweden’s most respected writer for children and young adults. No less than three of his books will be launched this spring, Stora mesboken (non-fiction book about birds, with illustrations by Staffan Ullström) was launched in January, and books soon to be published are Blåbärspatrullen och vampyren på vinden (Blueberry patrol and the vampyre in the attic, our trans., illustrations by Mimmi Tollerup) and Sofi’s expedition (illustrations by Bo Mossberg), a nature science book.

Tell us about your writing, how do you manage to be this productive?

I do not think of myself as a particularly productive writer. On the contrary, I think I work very slowly. Almost all my books are projects that have taken several years to produce. “Stora mesboken” for example, is a project that has taken me four years to write. For me, writing is about shifting between different genres. I write novels for young people, picture books and non-fiction. This means that I often have books in various stages, one  that is “resting” a little, one or two that are about to be published and one that is only at a conceptual stage. It’s fun and actually quite constructive to switch between such different projects. Perhaps it is this that makes me regarded as productive?

From where do you get inspiration?

What drives me to write is all the questions I still have. About life itself. About us as humans and all animals on this amazing planet. What will happen? I´m one of those boys who never grew up. I think that´s a gift, because it gives you a certain perspective. When you are little, you hold the whole universe in your hand. That´s the feeling I´m trying to maintain.

In your upcoming book (about the Blueberry patrol) one of the children’s father is hiding a refugee family. When the children discover this, they protect the family, by lying to the police among other things. What reactions have you received on the book?

I don´t think this should be exaggerated. The adventures of the Blueberry Patrol are often quite cozy and a little bit exciting. This is the seventh book, and here the children discover a hidden refugee family in an attic. Naturally, whey want to help to protect the family. I didn´t think that this would be controversial. Many refugees have been hidden in exactly this way. But I recently heard from my publisher that the Danish publisher, who usually prints the books about the Blueberry Patrol, found the topic too delicate and turned the book down. It made me very surprised.

Has your work within the ALMA jury added ideas to your work as a writer?

For me, reading and writing have always belonged together. I´ve had the privilege to work in a context where reading and conversations about books have been in focus. This mission within the ALMA jury is of course very special, as the nominees are from all around the world. Personally I think that it´s incredibly stimulating to take part of the work of reading promoters from other countries. And I am quite convinced that it makes me a better and more conscious as a writer.

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

 

Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House

 

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