Karl Ove Knausgaard on Out of the World


My First Time

Inspired by our famous Writers at Work interviews, “My First Time” is a series of short videos about how writers got their start. Created by the filmmakers Tom Bean, Casey Brooks, and Luke Poling, each video is a portrait of the artist as a beginner—and a look at the creative process, in all its joy, abjection, delusion, and euphoria.

Today, Karl Ove Knausgaard discusses his 1998 debut novel, Ute av verden (Out of the World): “I got up at six in the evening, I woke up, and then I sat and wrote all night, till eight or nine in the morning … I was so egocentric, it was really the only thing I cared about for sixteen months. When you write a book you don’t know why you’re doing it.” Knausgaard wrote the book for his father, who died just before it was published. “I realized the book was meaningless,” he says. “I wanted to say to him, Look, this is me, you don’t know me, you never knew me.” 

Be sure to watch the previous interviews in the series: