Danish author in writing exile: Why I prefer Phuket

71-year old Danish author, Ib Michael, has visited Phuket in Thailand as an exile to write for more than twenty years. He doesn’t want to give up the exact address of his exile, but he calls it the coral bay. ScandMedia met the Dane in a bungalow in Southern Phuket to chat about why Thailand is his preferred exile to write in.

“First of all, I can’t write in Denmark in the winter. I struggle from winter depression and that is not suitable when you need to write”, he states

How did you end up in Thailand then?

“I’ve always been a traveling author, but it was by coincidence that I ended up in Phuket. I visited my Danish friend Michael Beck, who worked at the Phuket Aquarium. A Danish sailor friend recommended me this resort, and I’ve been coming back ever since.I just know it works now, that’s why i keep coming back. I know that I can always get the fingers moving here”.

Photo: Frederik Sonne

Photo: Frederik Sonne

Why is this a good place to write?

“The sun and the light, that is very important to me. But the surroundings are as well. I can free dive here, which is a big hobby of mine, I can take a boat to one of the nearby islands and watch the coral reefs, I can catch my harpoon and hunt for fish and I can mountainbike in the hills. Motion is also very important for my writing”.

What do you like about Thailand?

“Actually I didn’t have a prior interest in Thailand, I’m more interested in Mexico and the Mayas, which I’ve written a lot about. But I’m really enjoying Thailand as a guest and a tourist. I like the Thai culture. I like that they haven’t been colonized and I’m very intrigued of the buddhist philosophy and way of thinking. It’s a vivid religion. I love the Thai food, the Thai cuisine is just genius. It’s more than 1000 years of food culture. I love the seafood, the vegetables and coconut. I know it’s a cliche, but Thai people are also very nice people. Honestly they are just good at professional tourism, the infrastructure is impeccable, the internet is good.”

Ib Michael debuted in 1970 with the novel, En hidtil uset drøm om skibe, and published his lasted novel, En anden sol, in september 2015. In between he has written more than thirty novels and poetry collections, marked his 40th anniversary as an author and received the Order of the Dannebrog in 2010.

Photo: Frederik Sonne

Photo: Frederik Sonne

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