“I don’t see a difference in writing for children or adults” | Nataly Savina

“I don’t see a difference in writing for children or adults” | Nataly Savina

Nataly Savina is an acclaimed Latvian writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. Nataly will be appearing at the inaugural International Children’s Literature Hay Festival Aarhus 2017 later this month. Here she talks about her new story for Quest, our new anthology of  stories for children, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
The world in which my story The Roof takes place is no bigger than a few blocks of houses. At the same time it’s a world full of adventure, secrecy and mystery, a place that now belongs to the past. A glimpse into childhood, that’s it’s theme: memories and adolescence.

Why did you pick that theme?
I was remembering how it felt spending every summer at my grandparents and how one year I was jumping from roof to roof with a group of kids. Then my story came to me, without conscious effort, in small fragments like a kaleidoscope that assembles into a complete picture.

When did you decide to become an author?
Storytelling has always been important to me. As a child I was sitting at the table with grownups listening to the stories told by the women visiting my mother. When I spent time alone I told myself stories and at some point I started writing them down.

When did you publish your first book?
My first book was published in 2013 after I’d submitted the manuscript to a new writers competition.

What is special about writing for children?
I don’t see a difference in writing for children or adults. I enjoy reading children and young adult literature and often find such a distinction quite limiting. For me the most important thing is that the writer has something to say. And language plays a big part for me as well. The impact is tangible during readings: young people are a very agile and inspiring audience with a lot of curiosity and great sensitivity.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
As an author it’s very important to be read, so I’m thrilled that The Roof is being published alongside other wonderful stories. It means the world to me.

Do you have a favourite spot where you write?
I love going to the Ramones Museum in Berlin’s Krausnickstraße, where I’ve lived for quite a while. Also at my good friend’s bar KIM, especially during evening hours. I sit in the gallery underneath me the people at the bar with their drinks surrounded by great music.

How do you get inspired?
At the age of twenty I studied fine art, and now, as a storyteller, I collect moments, memories and character traits. I compile them like a collage and try to find connections and meaning.