The point is that resting is not laziness. You are lazy when you have stopped caring about something. In that respect, I'm never lazy." That's how Magnús Scheving, the author of LazyTown, defines laziness. When our request to interview Magnús got the go-ahead, he let us know the most direct route to the gym, as we expected him to do the interview while jogging across town or while he stood on hi...
Magnús Scheving has been hired as the assistant editor of Æskun, which is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary. Magnús is actually no stranger in this area because he has worked as a columnist for Æskun and worked with Karl Helgason, the editor, on other projects in recent months. Among other things, Æskan has published two books by Magnús, Áfram Latibær and Latibær á Ólympíuleikum.
“In recent years, I have worked a lot with children and among other things held over three thousand lectures for children in almost all primary schools in the country and probably most kindergartens as well” says Magnús. “There I have talked with the kids about daily life, exercise and healthy food, and beyond. When Karl invited me to be the assistant editor of Æskun, I did not have to think about it for long. I am very much looking forward to this project.”
Are there any planned changes to the paper in the near future?
“Yes. However, they will not be radical as Æskan always pay close attention to that. The biggest change is that the paper will be divided in two. From now on, Æskan will be intended for the younger children, and another paper will be published for the older ones. I also aim to have regular news columns from around the world for the kids, because I travel a lot to teach gymnastics in the various countries. In other words, during my travels, I will be using the pen and the tape a lot.”
“As before, we will focus on mobilizing the children and allowing them to choose as much material for themselves as possible. It’s not easy to find material for children when you reach this age – but I have a strong imagination and it’s easy to get along with children on an equal footing, so this collaboration will definitely be fun. The goal, of course, is for Æskan to remain a fruitful magazine for children – their voice.”
What other benefits does an editor of a magazine like Æskun have to offer?
“Above all, he needs to enjoy working with children. That is the key to success. It won’t be long before kids see you pretending – they are quick to see through all the acting. Then, of course, you have to be patient – but don’t you always have to?”
But you have more in prospect at the moment, do you?
“Yes, that’s right. I’m writing the third book about Latibær that will be published before Christmas, Latibær in trouble. I have also been working on a cartoon about Latibær, together with the cartoonist Gunnar Karlsson and Halldór Baldursson, which I will present abroad, but it is worth mentioning that the film company Fox in the USA and the children’s television station Nickelodeon in London have already shown interest in the idea of Latibær. There are various other things related to Latibær on the agenda, for example the launch of a video game, in addition, Saga Film has just finished filming the play, Áfram Latibær, which has been shown at Loftkastalinn Theater with good attendance. In other words, the goal is to make the sports elf an export product and a representative of Iceland in the big world of cartoons, as the Belgians have done with Tintin.”
Why do you think Latibær has made a breakthrough, as you can see now?
“I don’t think the main explanation is that Latibær is in fact my answer to the questions from the children I have talked to over the years in the country’s schools – Latibær is more the result of my conversations with the children themselves. Then there is simply lack of material for children that is fun and non-violent”
But what about the future, where do you think of?
“I am very interested in educating myself in the field of art, although I have no idea how I would become an artist, but I was going to become an artist when I was younger. I have a great interest in Italy and aim to relocate there within a few years. There I want to educate myself and write books. Whether I write for children or adults doesn’t matter, although I think it’s easier to write for adults, children are such harsh critics. No doubt not everyone agrees.