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Christina Hesselholdt Interview: Small Dramas of Existence


“In my books, there aren’t many meals or people brushing their teeth.” Join us as we visit the critically acclaimed Danish writer Christina Hesselholdt in her apartment in Copenhagen. In the video, Hesselholdt talks about her writing process, including how she works with concentrates of language and content.

Hesselholdt attributes her ability to express herself briefly but expressively to her background in poetry: “That’s a good place to start if you want to work with concentrating and condensing.” She feels that what her characters have in common is that you meet them in existentially pointed situations. To this, she adds that perhaps all her books can be described as existential dramas: “You find them where the existence is seething and boiling.” In continuation of this, Hesselholdt is very interested in intensity: “When you meet people at times when their lives are changing it’s as if you meet a sharpened version of them … It then swings with the language that attempts – as precisely and concentratedly as possible – to describe such human states of mind.”

Christina Hesselholdt (b. 1962) is a Danish writer. Her first novel, ‘Køkkenet, Gravkammeret & Landskabet’ (The Kitchen, the Tomb & the Landscape), was published in 1991. She has since written numerous books including ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ (1994), ‘Companions’ (Selskabet) (2012, 2017), and ‘Vivian’ (2016), which won the 2017 Danish Broadcasting Corporation Best Novel Award and was shortlisted for the 2017 Nordic Council Literature Prize. Hesselholdt was included in Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2013, and she is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Beatrice Prize in 2007, the Critics’ Prize in 2010, and the Grand Prize of the Danish Academy in 2018.

Christina Hesselholdt was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at her apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark in January 2020.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Produced by Marc-Christoph Wagner
Edited by Klaus Elmer
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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