Laurent Gaudé – Beyond Words Literature Festival

I like trying to write about subjects I am unfamiliar with. They seem out of reach at first, but while I’m writing them, they seem to draw closer. I try to embrace them with empathy. It’s this aspect of my work that interests me the most: I like this idea that writing is a projection towards the distant, the otherworldliness… That’s what I love. Speaking as a reader myself, I think it’s a delight to have a story narrated to you. When the magic operates, you’re caught in it: you want to know more about the characters. Time is suspended, it’s quite mysterious. Literature is what mankind invented to make the dead talk. The relation between the dead and the living is a topic that interests me as a human being and that I have explored in my books. I do believe the the barrier between the world of the dead and that of the living is porous. I’m not saying I believe in the occult, I don’t believe in ghosts. I just think mankind has been gifted with a strange faculty called memory. Through memories, we are in a way in contact with the departed: they live through us. It’s this idea that I like to question. You are sometimes more inhabited by the dead than by the living.

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