Meet Gunnhild Øyehaug - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Gunnhild Øyehaug. She has written Heart Undercover (original title: Hjartet i skalkeskulet). The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2023.

Read our interview with Gunnhild here.

Øyehaug gunhild helge skodvin
Gunnhild Øyehaug. Photo: Helge Skodvin

What is the book about?

Heart Undercover is a collection of ten essays – some long, some a bit shorter – but what they all have in common is that they focus on art, literature, film, or music. They’re about inspiration and about reading, watching, and writing. Among other things, I write about some of Edvard Munch’s paintings, Nikolai Astrup, American author Mary Ruefle, enthusiasm, Kate Bush’s music video where she dances so peculiarly in a red dress to the song “Wuthering Heights” (and I wonder: is this ironic? Or heartfelt?), Russian filmmaker Andrej Tarkovsky, and what it’s like to watch a film 19 times. A pretty slow film at that. The motto for the collection is a quote by Finland-Swedish poet Tua Forsström, and it goes like this: “When someone changes you, do you realize it?” The reason why I set this quote as a motto is that change/transformation is a central theme. For example, I’ve looked at what happened when Nikolai Astrup changed in my own perception – from being a painter I perceived as almost realistic to understanding that something completely different was hidden there. I also write about what happened when I realized that, in order to become an author, it’s no use not reading books (which I believed in my youth) in order to protect my original voice. What is originality, the book asks. The title – Heart Undercover – plays on the constant alternation between closeness and disguise, truth and representation.

What inspired you to write this book?

I think this is a book for everyone who enjoys reading, and it might be of particular interest to those who like to write as well. It’s largely about finding a way into writing. I’ve also received quite a few responses from various readers saying that they recognize themselves in an essay that deals with how their opinions of works of art change throughout life; something you experienced as powerful and important at one point is less important in another – but it can also return. My hope is that the reader will find a new desire to read, see, and think after having read this book and want to seek out the work – or world – and perhaps write about what they’ve observed.

Øyehaug gunhild hjartet i skalkeskjulet kolon

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2023 here