“Writing for children is less respected and worse paid” | Finn Ole Heinrich

“Writing for children is less respected and worse paid” | Finn Ole Heinrich

Finn Ole Heinrich is an award-winning German writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. Finn 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 Odyssey, our new anthology of  stories for young adults, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
My story is about two boys and their spectacular adventures which are all less or more connected to the question of what a father is, should be, is needed for and where he might be found in case of absence. the narrator is way more shy than his best friend Pekka, who is a very special, big mouthed and a brave little bastard. the narrator comes from a perfect-family-home. Pekka has no contact to his father whom he claims to be a modern pirate somewhere on the coasts of Africa. The two boys are going to search for him, but what they’ll find is another truth about fatherhood.

Why did you pick that theme?
A couple of years back I wrote a short story with these two characters and liked Pekka a lot. He has so many stories, ideas, slogans, so many jokes to tell. I just wanted to spend more time with that guy.

When did you decide to become an author?
Well, you can’t really decide on that. I think the idea came up, when I was 17 and had just voluntarily read my first book. After that I thought it might be great to spend my days making up stories.

When did you publish your first book?
In 2005, I was 23 then.

What is special about writing for children?
Nothing. Except it is less highly respected and worse paid, therefore the readings are often more fun.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
Well, it is quite an honour to be one of the chosen 39 authors from all around Europe. But the more important thing will be to meet and get in touch with all these people, that’s the real adventure.

Do you have a favorite spot where you write?
Yes, very boring: my desk, that I share with my wonderful wife, colleague and co-author Dita Zipfel.

Where is that? And why is that your favorite spot?
Currently this desk is situated in a small village in the south of France. I guess it is my favorite spot, because it is quiet, beautiful and the view is stunning (I look at my wife as soon as I raise my head).

How do you get inspired?
Raising my head. Talking to the person I see. Being a human being. Long walks and working in the garden.