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Haruki Murakami knows how to win over the audience, at least most of them. Not to Swedish academics, but to younger Asturians. "Those of you who don't get good grades will be better novelists." Applause. It is understood that they are better than what they do. The idea was not to give encouragement, although perhaps a little, but rather the premonition was the result of a fine analysis of what makes a novelist a good novelist. Or rather, what a novelist needs to be simply a novelist. Or better yet, what makes Murakami Murakami.

The last Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, as well as being a successful writer without a Nobel Prize, said that the important thing is to "cultivate the capacity to welcome", that "excessive analysis makes the work of writing difficult", that he has met very clever men with an incredible acuity to analyse reality and who, however, cannot make a line out. "People who are too smart don't tend to be good writers; They're bad novelists," he says. "I write when I accept something and put it into me, without prior analysis," he continues. And that's when he encourages not exactly the fools, but the students who aren't necessarily brilliant. Big applause.

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Princess of Asturias Awards.

Murakami writes the stories that "fall from the sky" and fits them into "Murakaism"

  • Written by: EFE Gijón

Murakami writes the stories that "fall from the sky" and fits them into "Murakaism"


Haruki Murakami, the writer who wanted to stop being a meme

  • Written by: BÁRBARA BLASCO

Haruki Murakami, the writer who wanted to stop being a meme

And why all the applause? Well, because in front of him he had a large group of ESO and baccalaureate students all gathered on Thursday in the middle of a rainy morning to listen to the man who, it can be said without risk of being wrong, is their favorite author. But were they all bad students? Not at all, and judging by the story read by one of the students, it would seem that just the opposite. Then? Let's face it, the bad guys are more boisterous. And Murakami knows it. Another round of applause.

Haruki Murakami went to the IES Carreño Miranda in Avilés to officiate as master of ceremonies for a small experiment. The idea was that students who had previously worked on his texts would meet him. And with him they would share an hour by force relaxed. As in his book 'T: The T-Shirts I Love' (2021) where he uses his hobby of collecting T-shirts to string together a series of stories, the students (the smart ones and the others) were invited to do something similar. That is, to be them with their own t-shirts a bit 'murakamis'. And in total there were 568 stories that used the hanger (joke) of T-shirts to better understand Murakami.

And that's when he showed the T-shirt he was wearing as a gift from a Spanish publisher. And that's when he described in detail what it means to be a writer. He said that in order to write, you have to go to the very bottom of your heart and to the deepest part of your consciousness. "Our consciousness is like a house with its plants and, much more importantly, its basement. On the upper floor we slept; In the lower room we interact with family members and eat, and in the basement we find ourselves alone with the subconscious. And there's a secret door that takes us further down to basement 2. And it is with everything we find there that a novel is made. But you have to be willing to go that far. It's not easy. Do any of you have basement 2?" And in the question he left not so much a threat as an invitation to everyone, although more to the not-so-smart. "It is there, in the background, that the important things that are above religion, language and custom are found; It is there that the writer finds his readers regardless of the religion they profess, the language they speak or the customs they inhabit." Is that clear?

But since the explanation did not seem to convince everyone, in the next intervention it was more precise, less elliptical. "What does writing consist of, do you want to know? Well, writing is basically rewriting," he said and ran to explain: "I always write in one sitting. I do it without stopping to look at anything I've written until I've finished the novel. And then comes the most difficult part and what will define the fate of the novel, which is nothing more than rewriting what has already been written over and over again. Raymond Carver invited his students to write a novella and once the work was finished, he forced them to rewrite it up to eight times." It's clear.

"Why does she write so much about cats?" asked a student as curious as a cat. "The first thing I'll say is that cats in my novels are not metaphors or symbols of anything, cats are cats," she replied and then told her love story with cats. "I'm an only child and when I was little my only friend was the cat. I've always had cats and I've learned a lot from them. They are very smart. What's more, I will say that there are three essential things in my life: cats, music, and books."

He also said that doing sports amuses him, that when he runs he listens to music and that when he swims he sings. He also said that who knows if in the future he will end up writing about Asturias, that the experience is a fertilizer for future stories. He said that his head is like a basket where the things he lives fall and that, suddenly, one day he finds something that fell there. What if you come across something you experienced at this very moment? He said that he liked 'Drive My Car', the film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi that won the Oscar and what he liked most about it is everything that differs from the story written by him on which it was based. And he told and told until he was told a story based on the idea he had one day to tell other stories. The ones with the T-shirts. And he liked the story he heard and saw it clearly: here is a novelist. And she seemed ready. Let's see if Murakami isn't going to be wrong.

  • literature
  • Princess of Asturias Awards
  • Oviedo
  • Asturias
  • novel