Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer of novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays and films. His novel LoveStar got a Philip K. Dick Special Citation, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire in France, and “Novel of the year” in Iceland. The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Award and has been published or performed in 35 countries. He co-directed “Dreamland,” a feature-length documentary film based on his book, Dreamland: A Self Help Manual for a Frightened Nation. His most recent book, The Casket of Time, has now been published in about 10 languages.
On April 16, he will be speaking at House of SpeakEasy’s Seriously Entertaining show, The Strength of Ignorance, alongside Max Boot, Ross Gay, and Vicky Ward. We spoke to Andri ahead of the show.
What is your earliest memory involving reading or writing?
My very first reading memory is reading dinosaur books, as a child in New Hampshire.
What is your favorite line from your current work?
I can pick a slogan from the TimeBox firm in The Casket of Time. “No More Februaries!”
What is your favorite first line of a novel?
The only I can remember is Kafka: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot and write a lot. And notice what you notice. That is – if you write about what you notice, not what others have noticed, you might write about things others have not noticed.
What writer past or present do you wish you could eat dinner with?
I would like to have dinner with Kurt Vonnegut and Astrid Lindgren.
What writer do you wish you could share with the world?
Jónas Hallgrímsson. The national poet of Iceland born 1807. A typical writer stuck to place, language and time that is diffucult to share with the world.
What are you reading right now?
Lots of non fiction at the moment. Timothy Morton, Svend Lindqvist, George Lakoff and Rebecca Solnit.
What fictional character do you most closely identify with?
My first was I think Huckleberry Finn.
If you could live inside a fictional world, which one would you choose?
I guess I would want to be a tiger in Brautigans Watermelon Sugar.
Are there any quotes you use to inspire you?
Icelandic artist Þorvaldur Þorsteinsson was a master of good quotes: “Notice what you notice.”
And other is: “It’s never too late to give up.”