We find ourselves in the midst of a corona virus pandemic – literature and culture have become more important than ever before.  Increasingly, it has become clear that the Norwegian Festival of Literature cannot proceed as originally intended, however we are fortunate to have excellent alternatives to cancellation.

Already this week, we are looking forward to the world’s smallest literature festival and the national Boklek (BookPlay) in a digital format.  Late May we will hold a magnificent digital literature festival; in September there will be an extensive Pegasus festival in Lillehammer, and in November we will deliver the Sigrid Undset Days.  Beyond this there will be reading circles and individual events from time to time.  In this way we hope that in this time of crisis we can continue to help spread the joy of reading nationally and internationally.

World’s smallest literature festival

On Thursday 26th March, at 2pm, we would like to welcome you to probably the smallest literature festival in the world. It will take place in the reading kiosk at Kjelsås, in Oslo.  The originator of the reading kiosk Vidar Kvalshaug will be your host, in conversation with, amongst others, Nina Lykke, Kjersti Bjørkmo and Ragnar Hovland. 

Boklek for children between 5 and 10 years old

Boklek, that is ‘BookPlay’, takes place annually at this time of year; it is a tour around the Innlandet region, where school children get to meet a children’s book author.  This year’s tour – with writer and illustrator, Line Renslebråten, is unfortunately cancelled in its traditional form, but the good news is that it will rise again digitally, and will be available to all children throughout Norway.

Join us under the Polar ice caps for readings, drawing lessons and to learn more about life under the sea – all from the safety of your own living room.

Scandinavia’s largest digital literature festival

The 26th annual Norwegian Festival of Literature will meet the challenge of the current state of emergency. Authors expected in Lillehammer from as far afield as Spain, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Germany and Sweden will instead participate from home, to entertain audiences in their own homes.  We are now working to ensure that the festival is available to many readers, to become the largest digital festival in Scandinavia.  Join us for this festival of writers from home and abroad on the weekend of the 29th – 31st of May.

Pegasus postponed until Autumn

Pegasus, our programme of events for children and youths, is postponed, but like a phoenix, will rise from the flames from September 21st – 25th, when hopefully schools and kindergartens will be up and running again, and ready to gather for reading and cultural nourishment.  A week-long festival, here in Lillehammer, consisting of over 100 events, with places for 12,000 children and youths from across the country.

Sigrid Undset Days are back

The Norwegian Festival of Literature first saw the light of day 25 years ago, in the spring of 1995.  The basis of the festival at that time was a seminar on Sigrid Undset’s writing, that had first started in 1993.  In this corona-ravaged anniversary year we go back to these original roots, to where it all started at Bjerkebæk and invite you to the Sigrid Undset Days, exactly 100 years after the first publication of Kransen, from Undset’s masterpiece the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.

More digital reading circles in the coming weeks

The festival has published numerous digital reading circles in podcast form.  In our archives can be found episodes about writers such as Agnes Ravatn, Ocean Vuong, Mariana Enriquez.  Episodes regarding Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive and Nina Lykke’s Full Spredning are to follow, along with introductions and readings from other interesting titles.  

Spread the joy of reading and protect commissions to the authors

‘It is terribly sad that we cannot operate the festival in the way that we are used to, but it is impossible to imagine a festival with 300 events and more than 30,000 visitors at such a time’,  Marit Borkenhagen, the Festival Director, states: ‘We intend to follow the authorities recommendations, but remain devoted to continuing the dissemination of literature to the public in times of crisis, and to protect the author’s commissions and fees.’

For more information, please contact:

Marit Borkenhagen
Festival Director, The Norwegian Festival of Literature
Phone: +47 918 18 374