Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing, Popular Reading and Operation Self-discipline, in which she recounts her experience with social media addiction, and how she overcame it.
The Bird Tribunal won the cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing journey?
I am Agnes, 33 years old, and I live with my partner and our 18-month-old son son on a smallholding on the western coast of Norway. I wanted to be a writer from I was six, and my debut novel was published in 2007 while I was a student. I then got a job as a journalist/columnist and wrote three non-fiction books while working on my second novel, The Bird Tribunal. Today, I am working on my third novel.
If you had to give an elevator pitch for The Bird Tribunal, what would it be?
The Bird Tribunal is a chilling book packed with secrets, fatal attraction and amateur gardening!
It refers to a dream or vision the male character, Bagge, has, and tells us that he has done something in the past that haunts him, and plays on his conscience.
Where did the inspiration come from to feature a TV presenter leaving her successful life behind and escaping to live a reclusive lifestyle in the middle of nowhere?
Heaven knows! I started writing the story without knowing who Allis, the protagonist, was, but she had just arrived at the house where she was starting work as a sort of housekeeper for the mysterious Bagge. I just knew she had to have experienced a great fall. And then, as I wrote, I started finding out more and more about her background, and her reasons for escaping the spotlight.
If you had to describe The Bird Tribunal in one sentence, what would it be?
I would prefer to quote somebody else, who called it ‘Rebecca, with fjords’. Spot on.