“As a young child, I had an invisible typewriter” | Michaela Holzinger

“As a young child, I had an invisible typewriter” | Michaela Holzinger

Michaela Holzinger is an acclaimed Austrian writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. Michaela 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 Odyssey, our new anthology of  stories for young adults, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
In my short story I write about a girl who is in the middle of adolesence. Her father, however, doesn’t notice this. Then the girl gets help from a boy whose father thinks in the same way. They become lovers, and their fathers fall from all the clouds and realize that not only their children change. Time is always a journey.

Why did you pick that theme?
In my mind the time of puberty is very interesting, because in this time people change enormously. While adults are more likely resigned to life, adolescents are different. Putting this issue into context with the given theme “journey” was very tempting for me.

When did you decide to become an author?
I always wanted to be an author. As a young child, I had an invisible typewriter on which I wrote my first texts, although I couldn’t write. Then with the birth of my children I decided to write professionally.

When did you publish your first book?
In 2011 my first book was published. It was a picture book, which talks about dying and death.

What is special about writing for children?
In my mind children have a better view at things of life. They are very honest and direct. A children’s book often reaches the reader’s heart in a straight path. Something to write, which is simple and yet effective is much more difficult. Writing children’s books is therefore a challenge, which I always gladly accept.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
This is all a huge stroke of luck, a challenge and an adventure at the same time. This makes it possible to encounter writing on an international level. In addition, Denmark is supposed to be very beautiful, so I am looking forward to October, where all the writers from the anthology are going to meet in Aarhus at the Hay Festival.

Do you have a favorite spot where you write?
I live with my family in a cottage in the north of Austria. That is a good place to write. We have a huge garden and are surrounded by meadows and forests. Besides, we don’t live alone there. Our motley donkey-goat-gang ensures that I always have new ideas for my stories.

Where is that? And why is that your favorite spot?
I am very natural, so I need a lot of nature around me. This helps me writing. So I like to write in the garden, next to the donkeys, in the hayloft … or elsewhere … The main thing I am inspired by is nature.