Are short stories really all about endings?
No, they’re about beginnings. All the writer’s imagination has to be done, all the choices have to be taken within in the beginning. When you find a beginning, you just have to follow the path. I always write the beginning in the end. That’s why I never seem to find any path.
Have you ever been asked a question like “Can’t you do something more useful than writing (short stories)?” and if you did, what was your answer?
Writing and literature are totally useless. That’s just why it is so important.
Is the European short story a different animal to the North American or Middle East or South American short story?
I believe culture, psychology, thought and perception is profoundly different from one continent to another, and I think this difference is reflected in literature. But I have to admit that I myself feel more at home within the North American tradition than the European, although I have a deep interest in them all.
Do you think that we can roughly divide writing scene between “old” and “young” writers?
If so, we must remember that there are vital and innovative people among the old, and old farts among the young.
How do readers in your country perceive short stories in relations to other genres (novel, poetry, drama)?
Norway has had some great short story writers and therefore has a strong tradition for it – or more precisely: several strong and rather different traditions.