Joya: AiR / writer / Bjørn Vatne / Norway

photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“The almond trees are blossoming. They shouldn't, not for another month or so.

'Streetlamps lay fractured and splintered in the fields, like toothpicks at an extravagant dinner party that had ended in uncomfortable silence.'

Finishing the first draft of my next book, I find myself in the Spanish highland, where the quiet is so thunderous, the sound of dry branches pulverized under the soles of my electric blue Asics so eerily satisfying, I fall asleep dreaming of trains and Honey Smacks.

'For a few seconds his every thought was frozen in spirals around this artificially prompted desire for a possibly non-existent object.'

One minute, my desk is a slab of concrete, the next, a battered picnic table behind the cement wall under the windmill.

'No matter what progress humanity made on other fronts, it seemed as if the manufacturers of office furniture thought they had achieved their peak potential on the day they invented plastic-coated chipboard.' 

Hi, you must be Bjorn? Is it Bjoorn? Bjüun? 

It might be, I forget so easily these days. Time has slowed down and my name probably has too.

'Over time, fluctuations in pressure would create the tiniest shifts in the building’s load-bearing structures, by extension giving rise to an insurmountable yet invisible void.'

I love the word void, it makes my mouth water.


Bjørn Vatne is a Norwegian writer. He has currently published two novels in Norwegian through his publisher Gyldendal Norsk Forlag: This is how we choose our victims (2015) and the cli-fi The Deletion of Paul Abel (2018), from which he borrowed all the above quotes. At Joya: air he finished the first draft for his next book, which has a fair amount of hallucinations in it”.

Bjørn Vatne

Reading list: 

J. G. Ballard: Vermillion Sands

Ray Bradbury: I sing the body electric!

Daniil Kharms: Today I wrote nothing

Alessandro Boffa: You’re an animal, Viskovitz

Marlen Haushofer: The Wall

Simon Beckmann