I've done a lot of school visits in Sweden, talking about my writing and my debut novel Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd. Today I did my first school talk in England. In English obviously. The only thing that wasn't English about it was the audience - they were all Swedish students at Loxdale Centre in Portslade. Eight years ago I went to this school myself and it was great to be back.
I called my one-woman-show "Life after Loxdale" and spoke about my life in England, how I first made friends, found a job and a place to live. A lot of the students laughed when I showed pictures of myself as a dinner lady and a barmaid. But the focus was on my career as a writer and performance poet. How I started out going to poetry groups just to make friends and ended up being invited to perform in Berlin. How the isolation I first felt when I moved to England resulted in writing novels. And I tried to explain the battle in my head between two languages.
In between the talking I performed poems that were inspired by my life and the audience was also very lucky to hear an extract from Replacing Angel - my first English novel in progress. It seemed to go down well and one guy said it felt very real, as if I had experienced it myself.
After the talk I stayed for lunch and reminisced about the good old days. My time at Loxdale is probably the most important time of my life as I went there when I was 19, straight after finishing school in Sweden. It was the beginning of my adult life and apart from learning to speak English I also built up the confidence to stay in England and go my own way in life. I'm very pleased that I got invited back for another talk next term.
Special thanks to Saskia, my former drama teacher and friend who came to listen and took the picture.