Episode 109: Interview with writer Andri Snær Magnason
In today’s interview with writer Andri Snær Magnason, we explore Andri’s use of his writing talent as a force for activism.
One of Andri’s focuses is to use language to make clear scientific concepts which can often feel foreign and unrelatable, while also invoking time intimacy to bridge the emotional gap we often feel toward future generations. He calls this time intimacy, where we can feel a connection across the generations who are intimate to us, our grandparents and future grandchildren, to feel a sense of time
He shares the unique perspective of Icelandic people, who live in a land in which natural events seem to leave geological timeframe and happen at human speed. Glaciers shrink, have huge water sinkholes, and threaten disappear; new mountains form; volcanic fumes form, and so on. In some ways the warming of the planet is good for local climate, but they have to fight against their instincts that it’s not a good change to see this local warming, it actually means humanity is in grave danger.
Through everything, Andri aims to be optimistic and focused on what he can do to raise awareness and create change, to bring rationality and understanding of the climate crises to the public. He fights against momentum to simply harness and tame nature, such as with the eagerness to build dams all throughout the Icelandic highlands, and poetically wonders whether our sense of beauty was part of the immune system of the planet that was meant to protect us from this strain.
–Andri Snær Magnason is an Icelandic writer who has written novels, poetry, plays, short stories, and essays. His work has been published or performed in more than 30 countries. He was awarded the Icelandic literary prize in 1999, for the children’s book and play Blue Planet, and again in 2006 for the non-fiction book Dreamland, a critique of Icelandic industrial and energy policy. His latest book, On Time and Water, explores our relationship to time in an age of ecological crisis.