Zoom in: Writers in times of COVID-19
These authors talked to DW about how they're experiencing the coronavirus restrictions. The complete interviews are available on the YouTube channel DW Books.
Max Porter, UK
Max Porter is the rising star of the British literary scene. His first novel "Grief Is the Thing with Feathers" was published in 2015, followed by "Lanny" in 2019. Both books have won several prizes. Porter is based in Bath, England, which has been in lockdown since March 24. The crisis hits the poor most of all, he says, and that's something that needs to be addressed.
Erik Fosnes Hansen, Norway
Erik Fosnes Hansen is one of Norway's most famous writers. He has written seven novels so far. "Psalm at Journey's End" (1990) was a global bestseller and has been translated into dozens of languages. When the national lockdown was announced on March 12, Fosnes Hansen returned from a trip abroad back to Oslo, where he lives with his wife, the writer Erika Fatland.
Ira Mukhoty, India
Ira Mukhoty reaches a large audience in her home country with her non-fiction books. "Heroines" from 2017, for example, addresses Indian women in mythology and history. The author lives with her family in New Delhi and has experienced the world's biggest lockdown there: 1.3 billion people are not allowed on the streets. It's a catastrophe for the poor in the country, she says.
Hanne Orstavik, Norway
Hanne Orstavik is another one of Norway's most renowned writers. She published her first novel at the age of 25. Her breakthrough came in 1997 with "Love." The author lives in Milan, Italy where COVID-19 raged the fastest and the hardest. This is where she also experienced the lockdown.
Mike Nicol, South Africa
Mike Nicol is a widely famous thriller writer. His crime novels show us the dark side of South Africa: the history of apartheid, as well as today's violence and corruption. "Payback" and "Killer Country," like all his books, are global bestsellers. Nicol lives in Cape Town, where he says he feels safe, but he points out that things are different for people in the townships.
Bel Olid, Spain (Catalonia)
Bel Olid is one of the most distinguished authors and translators in Catalonia. She writes novels, essays and children's books. Spain has had high infection and death rates in the COVID-19 pandemic. "It's a catastrophe," says Bel Olid, who has been in Badalona during the lockdown. She is convinced that the virus and its economic consequences can only be fought globally.
Doron Rabinovici, Austria
Austrian writer Doron Rabinovici lives in Vienna. He writes novels, essays and plays that deal with memory, Jewish identity and the political situation in his home country. He sees some positive things in the lockdown, such as peace and quiet and the chance to concentrate better. But he is also concerned about what will follow the pandemic.
Feby Indirani, Indonesia
Feby Indirani caused a sensation in Indonesia with her collection of stories, "Bukan Perawan Maria," published in English as "Not Virgin Mary." They are stories and modern myths of the present day. Feby Indirani serves as a feminist role model for many young women. For the author living in Jakarta, the pandemic and the lockdown offer an opportunity to reflect on our consumer society.
Kim Thuy, Canada
Kim Thuy came to Canada as a refugee from Vietnam when she was 10. Today, she is one of the most successful writers in her new home country. In 2018, she was placed on the shortlist for the alternative Nobel Prize for Literature. She has been in Montreal during the lockdown, and is concerned about increasing racism against the Asian community.
Leon de Winter, Netherlands
"Supertex," "Hoffman's Hunger," "Geronimo" and "Malibu": The novels of the Dutch writer Leon de Winter have been translated into numerous languages. He has been in Bloemendaal, near Amsterdam, during the lockdown. He has felt a strange sense of déjà vu because he has been for the past 10 years writing a story about a pandemic.
Michael Levitin, USA
Levitin published his first novel in 2019: In "Disposable Man," he confronts his Jewish family's past. In an interview about the COVID-19 pandemic, Levitin expressed his dismay over the rapid economic decline of the US. He also called on his fellow countrypeople to strive for a change in political policy.
Nina George, Germany
Nina George is one of the most successful authors writing in German. Her novel "The Lavender Room" has been translated into almost 40 languages and has been on the bestseller lists in many countries. George normally lives part-time in France and in Berlin; the latter is where she has been during the lockdown. She has talked about how to help writers in need.
Nora Bossong, Germany
The writer Nora Bossong is one of the most important authors of her generation, daring to tackle even difficult topics. Her most recent novel, "Rules of Engagement," tells the story of a UN employee who has to address the genocide in Burundi. Bossong lives in Berlin, where during the lockdown she has observed that many people cannot live well with the current restrictions.