“My favorite spot is to write under my orange tree” | David Machado, Aarhus 39

“My favorite spot is to write under my orange tree” | David Machado, Aarhus 39

David Machado is an acclaimed Portuguese writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. David will be appearing at the inaugural International Children’s Literature Hay Festival Aarhus 2017 later this month. Here he talks about his new story for Quest, our new anthology of 17 stories for children, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
My short story is about fear and imagination, in this case, the fear of the dark and what your imagination can do to fill in the emptiness of the dark.

Why did you pick that theme?
Since I can remember, imagination has been a theme that interests me a lot. I like to think about how something that does not exist in the real world can influence us so much as something that does. As it sometimes happens when we are afraid of something just because we imagine it.

When did you decide to become an author?
After working in economics for some years, in 2003 i was suddenly unemployed. I had like to write stories as a hobby, but when I found myself with free time I started doing it more seriously and in three or four months I wrote hundreds of pages. After that, I had absolutely no will to go back and work in economics.

When did you publish your first book?
My first book, The night of the invented animals, was published in 2006. It’s a short story for children.

What is special about writing for children?
For me it’s a way of going back to a time when I looked at things and thought about the world without all the rules and logic that I have as an adult. And by thinking about myself when I was a kid I get to know more about myself now, because the truth is that underneath all that I am today I’m still that kid. 

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
First of all, to be part of this selected group of authors is an amazing honor. And of course I hope this can help to bring the work I’ve been doing for the last ten years to young readers who speak other languages.

Do you have a favorite spot where you write?
Most of the time I work in a room in the attic where I have all my books. But my house has a small backyard with grass and if the weather is good and warm my favorite spot is to write under my orange tree.

How do you get inspired?
I get ideas from anything, books I read, movies, the newspaper, conversations, what I see when I take a walk. Most times, I get inspired by little absurdities in our world that I notice.