The 5-minute Interview: Asne Seierstad, Writer and war reporter

'I'm bad at anything mechanical. All I can do on my computer is type'
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The Independent Online

The Norwegian journalist Asne Seierstad, 38, has spent 15 years reporting from conflict zones around the world, and published her international best-seller 'The Bookseller Of Kabul' five years ago. Her new book 'The Angel Of Grozny: Inside Chechnya' is out now.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Cross-country skiing in the woods around Oslo.

A phrase I use far too often is ...

"Let's sit down and chat one day." But it never happens because I'm always so busy.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

Children suffering – particularly in wars.

The most surprising thing to happen to me was ...

Realising that people read my books all around the world. That surprises me all the time.

I am not a politician but ...

If I was I would listen to what the scientists say about the environment and put all my efforts into saving it. At the moment it's like there's a war on it. In 100 years there could be nothing left.

A common misperception of me is ...

That my books are not analytical enough. My books are not about analysing or saying what will happen in the future. But that is just a professional misperception. In general, I don't really know what people say about me.

The ideal night out is ...

A few years ago it would have been dinner in a restaurant followed by some dancing, but now I'm getting older it would be just a great conversation over dinner and no dancing.

I'm good at ...

Skiing.

I'm very bad at ...

Driving. Every time I try to learn, they throw me out of the car. I'm bad at anything mechanical – it's like I have a phobia. All I can do on my computer is type.

In weak moments I ...

Either fight or hide.

You know me as a writer but in truer life I'd have been ...

Some kind of academic or a life-long student.

The best age to be is ...

You should be happy to reach the age you are but I like being in my thirties. In your thirties you really start to become who you are.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is ...

You should follow your inner voice and find out what you can do different to others to contribute to society.

Michael Wright

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