Hello there, Katarina Kieri

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri is member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury since July 1st. Her body of work encompasses novels, poetry and short stories for children, young adults and adults. Initially she intended to write only poetry, but she later felt increasingly drawn to the prose medium.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Katarina Kieri?

A description might sound like this: Born in Luleå with deep roots in the Torne Valley. An author who write books instead of going around feeling ashamed about oneself.

You have published two novels, four collections of poetry and a dozen children’s books since your debut in 1993. You´ve also written several plays. What’s your relationship to the different genres?

For me, the dividing line is not between writing for adults or for children and young people, but between the prose on one hand, and poetry, drama and picture books on the other. The former is all about structuring thoughts in a line that fairly can be followed. The latter is more out of being in some kind of state and to try to describe it. It’s a totally different way to behave in terms of work. In one case I sit on my chair at my desk working all day. In the second case I wander restlessly around anywhere, which is pretty exhausting.

You are trained recreation teacher and worked as such for nearly ten years. How has that influenced your writing?

Actually most as an extraordinarily wrong choice in my life. When I had worked as a recreation teacher for eight years my whole body screamed after change. And, as I´m a lucky person living in one of the world’s richest countries, I had the possibility to sit down and think about what I really wanted to do. It didn´t take long before the answer became obvious to me. I wanted to grab hold of my writing. When I visit school classes now days, I usually say that it’s good to go the wrong way, because then you know you should change direction.

What gives you inspiration in your writing?

Complications within and between people. And the fact that we are so wonderfully irrational and contradictory. For example.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

I will read a biography of Tove Jansson, a randomly selected Moomin book and Eyvind Johnson’s novel Romanen om Olof (The novel about Olaf). Everything might not be read, but to me the dream about summer reading is almost as good as the actual reading.

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