The Norwegian Festival of Literautre presents a gala evening of literature with Karl Ove Knausgård, John Freeman, Hans Herbjørnsrud and other stars at Maihaugen Hall on Thursday 1st June. Mybe we will get a sharper look at the so-called ‘reality literature’?

Karl Ove Knausgård has developed and challenged real-world fiction through his six volume work, My Struggle, contributing to making Norwegian literature significant in a global context. We are proud to have him on the same stage as internationally acclaimed magazine editor John Freeman. They will talk about Knausgård’s writing and his work on the book Så mye lengsel på så liten flate.

Tickets to the event are on sale now and can be purchased here.

According to Mathias Samuelsen, cultural advisor to The Norwegian Festival of Literature, reality-based fiction is increasingly becoming a force in the literature power game.  But it is not just Knausgårds novels that can be used as an example; this increasingly important sub-genre also has examples in the fields of short story and poetry. These elements are clearer when one sees them in the light of the dominant epic prose, suggests Samuelsen. He also reveals that four more authors who produce literature on the border between the self-experienced and the functional, who use sorrow, loneliness, alienation and boredom as material for their books, will come together on the stage this evening.

Hans Herbjørnsrud’s short stories contribute an interesting perspective: “Yes, I write dangerously close to my own life. If a reader has really experienced my stories, they will immediately recognize themselves”, as readers can discover for themselves in his short story collection The Fountains from 2006.

There is much talk about who this type of literature is about, but we have a tendency to forget that not all autobiographical fiction is driven by pain, sorrow or anger. Just as often it is based on identity, self-deprecation and experience, which is also capable of providing seriousness and weight. It can bring people together, and it can illuminate important themes, something it will surely do when we have the queen of American short fiction, Lydia Davis, in conversation with us, online, direct from New York. Under Ane Farsethås’ moderation, we look forward to a discussion on Herbjørnsrud’s stories

Furthermore, we have invited the award-winning Norwegian jazz musician Ellen Andrea Wang to converse with Max Porter, Andrew McMillan and Claire-Louise Bennett, the cream of young British writers.

Welcome to an unforgettable evening, with your host, Selma Lønning Aarø!