The Norwegian festival season kicks off in Lillehammer on the 25th of May with the opening of the Norwegian Festival of Literature. This year’s programme will feature such key Scandinavian writers as Bergsveinn Birgisson (IS), Erika Fatland, Kjell Westö (FI), Sara Omar (DK), Karoline Brændjord, Tore Renberg, Niviaq Korneliussen (GL) and many more. Experience the festival atmosphere through a wide range of events at one of our many venues in Lillehammer or stream around 30 of them with our digital festival pass.
After more than a year of limited cultural offerings, it will be a great pleasure for us to welcome back the public to our festival here in Lillehammer with six days of literary events to be experienced at numerous festival venues. There will be limits on the number of places available, so we expect the tickets we make available to sell quickly. For those unable to experience the festival in person it will be possible to purchase a digital festival pass to experience the 30-plus events available in this format.
NRK to broadcast from Lillehammer
NRK’s (The Norwegian national broadcasting company) major initiative, Festival Summer, will continue this year and will begin with television broadcasts from the festival on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of May. Last year NRK and the festival collaborated on broadcasts from the NRK studios in Marienlyst, this year they will be presented from Kulturhuset Banken in the heart of the festival. These NRK productions will be made in conjuction with TV-fag at Høgskolen i Innlandet and the festival.
During the corona period, we have experienced a heightened interest in our Nordic neighbours. The crisis has brought about large and, for many, unknown differences between the nations. As part of the festival we will investigate how Nordic authors relate to each other across national borders. What connects us Northerners – and what separates us?
We have asked Lars Mytting to talk about Karen Blixen and Dag Solstad to talk about Selma Lagerlöf in order to shed some light on our authors’ relationship with the Nordic tradition. And in his keynote speech, Bergsveinn Birgisson will talk about the Norse cultural heritage as the spinal cord in Nordic literature. New Nordic voices and old masters meet to reflect on literature, society and history: Jón Kalman Stefánsson and Morten Strøksnes, Helle Helle and Per Petterson, Kirsten Thorup and Vigdis Hjorth. The new Nordic literary shooting stars: Niviaq Kornelisussen from Greenland and Pajtim Statovic from Finland talk about homosexual literature from the periphery.
“The programme reflects the situation we are in, in the sense that we have a more locally focused, more condensed programme than usual,” says artistic adviser Marit Eikemo. “The Nordic region will be subject to thorough reflection through, amongst other things, “Nordic Trauma”, a series in which authors talk about literature that emerges from disasters such as Scandinavian Star and the forced relocation of the Sami nation. And for this occasion, a new “singing orchestra” will portray the Nordic region through our distinctive songwriting tradition.
Bjørnson Prize to Sara Omar
The 2021 Bjørnson Prize has been awarded to Sara Omar for the contribution she has made through her literary work to launch an important social problem into public conversation, with significance far beyond the Nordic region. The jury has emphasized that it takes an indomitability to write literature like this. The cost of writing novels as Sara Omar does is not primarily about literary compositional skills, but rather to employ literature as a non-violent but powerful and artful weapon in the fight against the patriarchal oppression of women that seems to persist across the globe.
We look forward to having Sara Omar in Lillehammer to receive the prize, give the Bjørnson lecture and to participate in other festival events.
Massive interest in Pegasus
Pegasus, the festival’s program for children and young people, was launched in mid-March, and many schools and kindergartens have already expressed an interest in taking part in the hundred events we will be offering.
“We are proud to be able to offer children and young people good literary experiences and fellowship in a safe environment,” says Anne-Thea Haavind. “In addition to our large enrollment programme, we are planning a family day on Saturday 29th of May full of activities and events that we hope many families with children will take part in.”
Festival as Norway Reopens
“The government expects that Norway will be in stage two of reopening at the time the Norwegian Festival of Literature concludes. This means that we can welcome audiences from all over Norway, which we are very happy about,” says Festival Director Marit Borkenhagen. “We have already conducted two physical festivals during the corona period and can say that we have a good system for infection control and safe movement. On the opening day, we, in collaboration with Norske Festivaler, have organized a conference on reopening and rebuilding cultural life, because, above all, the past year has shown the importance of shared cultural experiences and literary meeting places,” concludes Borkenhagen.