26 October 2016 The world is not black and white – the second day of the Conrad Festival: beliefs and disbeliefs
The faith in the power of imagination, allowing us to try new possibilities in literature and in life, faith in language devoid of violence, constituting community, and finally – faith in other human beings, in the ability to understand and contact each other.
These and many more issues were raised by the participants of the Tuesday meetings, devoted to beliefs and disbeliefs.
A small woman, looking like a little bird, with very slender wrists decides to stop her car in the middle of the night to give Michel Faber a ride. “I could crush your wrists, are you not afraid?” asked the writer. The woman responded that one day she decided not to be afraid anymore and live her life to the fullest, taking risks and feeling safe. Michel Faber, guest of the Tuesday meeting titled “Strange new things” shared this anecdote with the audience and admitted that this entire situation left a lasting impression on him. The unique spirit of this strange woman haunted him all the time, and it gave the start to Strange New Things, a book that is totally different from Under the Skin, describing the dark side of the human nature. Olga Szmidt asked the writer about how our safety and life depends upon others. The writer admitted that the words “trust me” are crucial for his life and work, because he is interested in the moments of reliance, even if this hope is dashed. “All of my books so far led to the heart of darkness, and now I would like to write a children’s book, which will be a pure pleasure and an adventure”, he announced at the end.
Ida Linde and her translator, Justyna Czechowska discussed writing as an adventure, liberating power of imagination and playing, “Playing is what we use to gather knowledge about the world, by playing we test our capabilities”. The author of En kärleksförklaring assured us that, even though she did not go to space yet, many parts of her books are based upon personal experiences. When asked about the political character of her art, she admitted that she was raised in such a way, so that politics naturally permeates her writing. Ida Linde also shared her faith in literature with the audience: “I am deeply convinced that literature will survive the period where everything seems to be black and white. It will allow us to be different and preserve the shades of grey”.