Lotta Elstad - Selected Title Author

Lotta Elstad has written a feminist novel set in Oslo hundred years ago. – This novel suits best for those who can handle reading about women that don’t act exactly as they should – and hopefully that is many, she says.

Uten tittel (4)
Lotta Elstad has written the book 'Xiania 1'. Photo: Oda Berby.

Xiania 1 is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023. Here, author Lotta Elstad speaks about the book, who it is written for, what inspired her to write it and where and when she works best.

What is your book about?

In short, Xiania 1, which is the first book in a series of three, is about getting drunk during prohibition, getting an abortion when this was illegal, judges going on strike, and nineteen-year-old Klara, who gets entangled in a secret network in Kristiania (Xiania) – Oslo one hundred years ago.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write a historical drama but never dared – until the pandemic. I was bored, my screens showed a steady stream of updates about infection numbers and restrictions, and I longed for a different place – and a different time. It might have started when I changed channels (or apps, rather) to Netflix. I binge-watched “Peaky Blinders”, a series about gangsters in Birmingham in the 1920s, and I thought: Do I also have the right to play with a city like this? So, I turned off the TV and started reading – somewhat randomly – about my hometown, Oslo. How neighborhoods have changed, how they’ve been razed to the ground… I even stumbled upon information about how Hamsun once lived at the Burger King in Jernbanetorget, and it got me thinking about what things were like here before. I thought about my own grandmother, who moved to this city sometime in the 20s. From there, my imagination continued to run wild and fill in the gaps.

Who is this book for?

This novel is probably best suited for people who can handle reading about women who don’t behave quite as they should – and hopefully, there are many such readers.

Where and/or when do you work best?

I work best between eight and eleven in the morning, at my place in the Alexander Kiellands Plass neighborhood in Oslo, with a view of the Circle K sign on the other side of the road.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for autumn 2023 here