The Istanbul International Literature Festival (ITEF) is welcoming visitors and enthusiasts with great pleasure once again, albeit digitally due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
This year's theme is "Literature Above The Clouds," and on the first day of the festival Norwegian writer Vigdis Hjorth kicked off the event by talking about her novel "Heritage."
Answering the questions of Serda Kranda Kapucuoğlu and Nermin Mollaoğlu, Hjorth said that she has been a writer for 40 years and that she writes in a style familiar to the reader.
Hjorth stated that she believes she has improved throughout her career as a writer. "I hope I write differently than I wrote twenty years ago," she said. "I hope I've made progress, but of course I still have my own style.
"I truly write what I feel, what I want. It's so hard to hear that voice and to reflect what comes from within, what you feel, onto the sentences, but I find a way and write as I feel."
Hjorth noted that there was a unique sense of joy in writing. "Writing is very fun. I take great pleasure in writing," she told Anadolu Agency (AA). "The publishing side is a little more tiring, but of course it's nice to have readers.
"I always feel relieved after writing a novel. I don't know why this is so. I guess writing is a survival thing."
Alluding to the characters and the events that unfold in her novel, the author noted that it is a very painful experience to be ignored. She pointed out the importance, particularly for young children, of the love that comes from family.
Hjorth emphasized the significance of love for children, not only from their families but also from their environment.
"When growing up, we want to be understood, we want our teachers to understand us, we want our friends to understand, this is very important," she continued. "Especially if you have experienced trauma and no one wants to understand it, if no one wants to listen, you feel so lonely that your mind becomes confused. On your own, you start to question what you went through.
"You are alone. You feel rejected, melted down, and it becomes even more painful because the trauma gets bigger. When you talk, the pain lessens. Maybe it doesn't disappear, but talking is necessary to make it less painful."
Hjorth stated that reading and writing was her struggle to survive, that literature carried such importance in her life. She said when she wants to meet a wise man, she goes to the library and picks up a book, and in the end, her heart fills up with love.
The Norwegian writer touched upon the subject of social media as well, saying that it required too much time and led to addiction-like behavior, so she refrains from using it herself. "My editor follows the media and social media, and sends me the things that I should know," she said.
ITEF, celebrating its 13th anniversary this year, will continue to digitally bring together writers, publishers, translators and everyone who loves to read, with online events scheduled until June 5.
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