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Ari Behn supports Åsne Seierstad

Foto: Bjørn Sigurdsøn / SCANPIX
Sist oppdatert:
Authors Ari Behn and Jostein Gaarder and journalist Fredrik Skavlan are amongst the colleagues who give Åsne Seierstad their full support after the attacks from the bookseller in Kabul.

"Writing about people's private lives is a minefield. My impression is that Åsne has a good grip on where the limits are", says Jostein Gaarder.

"I take it for granted that Åsne is doing her job properly. She is a reliable journalist and a good colleague", says Fredrik Skavlan.

They were both attending publisher Aschehoug's autumn party last night, along with Ari Behn, who is still a personal friend of Åsne Seierstad's.

"I think the bookseller was aware of the premises between them - that Åsne Seierstad was going to write a book about his family, so I don't think the bookseller has a very strong case", said Ari Behn.

"The Bookseller of Kabul" has made Åsne Seierstad famous. It has been sold to 18 countries and Åsne Seierstad had made NOK 5 million on the book so far. She has also received a number of prizes for her story from the inside of an Afghan family that she stayed with for five months.

The bookseller himself, Mohammad Shah, is now protesting about the book.

"There is so much to mend after this. The content of the book puts me and my family in great danger. I would like us to publish a new book", he said via a satellite telephone at live TV in Norway last night.

Asked if she would feel responsible should something happen to the family, Åsne Seierstad said:

"Nothing will happen to the family. What would happen, then?"

"Everything in the book is true. It may not have become the bookseller's book, but maybe the book of the women in his family", Seierstad said.

Seierstad interrupts herself in the middle of the interview, saying:

"You know what.... I have just received a text-message from, well, I don't want to say who, but two of Norway's best-known authors who are attending Aschehoug's garden party at the moment", she said laughing, reading the message out loud:

"If you had written the book he wanted you to, it would be a dreadfully boring book. Being hated is part of the game. We support you."

"This is from Norway's most famous authors!", she said, jumping up from her chair and into her house.

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