We will be visited by writers from 30 countries, from every corner of the world, who will discuss topics that concern us all – such are the thoughts of a delighted programme group consisting of artistic advisor, Yukiko Duke, Pegasus director, Anne-Thea Haavind, and festival director Marit Borkenhagen.

Among the main names at the Norwegian Festival of Literature 2023 are Ocean Vuong (USA), Deepti Kapoor (India), Adania Shibli (Palestine), Samanta Schweblin (Argentina), Hernan Diaz (USA), Koleka Putuma (South Africa), Tayi Tibble (New Zealand ), Lea Ypi (Albania), Phillippe Sands (Great Britain), Yan Ge (China), Sofi Oksanen (Finland), Solvej Balle (Denmark) and Oksana Zabuzjko (Ukraine).

In dialogue with the world

Yukiko Duke is the new artistic advisor for the Norwegian Festival of Literature and her ambition for this year’s festival is to bring together writers from different parts of the world with different perspectives on the major problems the world is up against. We will use literature as an interpreter, says Yukiko Duke, and talks about the many themes and authors the festival audience can encounter:

Ukraine, Iran and Afghanistan

The festival delves into some of the most serious conflict areas in the world today. In tandem with the awarding of the Bjørnson prize to Åsne Seierstad, there will be a panel discussion regarding Afghanistan. Seierstad also participates in a conversation about the war in Ukraine, together with one of Ukraine’s most important writers, Oksana Zabuzjko and moderated by the Finnish writer Sofi Oksanen. The Swedish writer Athena Farrokhzad and the Iranian writer Fatemeh Ekhtesari, who now lives in Lillehammer, will discuss the ongoing situation in Iran. In the daily debate, former Samtiden editor Christian Kjelstrup will meet a selection of festival authors with new perspectives on, amongst other things, the climate crisis, literature and war and the situation of women in the world today.

Standing up for the situation of Indigenous peoples

In our modern world, the situation of indigenous peoples is doubly vulnerable. Racism is widespread, and climate change and the expropriation of natural resources threaten the traditional way of life of indigenous communities. But amongst many of these communities, there is now a new awareness and pride in their own culture. Tayi Tibble (New Zealand), Helena Gualinga (Ecuador) and winner of this year’s Tarjei Vesaas debutante prize M. Seppola Simonsen will come to the festival to talk about this amongst other things.

Tayi Tibble (New Zealand), Helena Gualinga (Ecuador) and M. Seppola Simonsen. Photo:
Pelham Dacombe Bird, LocoWiki Wikipedia og Heidi Furre

World-class poets

The American poets Anne Carson and Ocean Vuong will come to Lillehammer to provide poetry of world-class along with Tayi Tibble (New Zealand), Koleka Putuma (South Africa), Fatemeh Ekhtesari (Iran), Athena Farrokhazad (Sweden), Pivinnguaq Mørch (Greenland), Rosanna Fellman (Finland), Haukur Ingvarsson (Iceland), Beinir Bergsson (Faroe Islands) and Norwegians Brynjulf Jung Tjønn and Rune Christiansen,

A desire for reading projects that work

Pegasus, the festival’s program for children and adolescents, is the Norwegian Festival of Literature’s most important social mission. Positive encounters with literature are important for the development of a child’s interest in reading. Reading is crucial for learning and the language development of infants, not least because it develops empathy and provides them with the tools to understand the world around them and to understand each other.

Pegasus director Anne-Thea Haavind explains how something exciting has happened in Lillehammer over the past year – The results from national tests show that children in cities have become exceptional at reading, and we believe that such fantastic cooperation between school, library and literature organizers over several years, a common boost for the reading of literature in urban centres, is the reason for this great result. This year’s Pegasus programme consists of more than 100 events, including events featuring Andy Griffiths (Australia), Frida Nilsson (Sweden), Camilla Brinck (Sweden) and the Norwegian authors Peder Samdal, Yohan Shanmugaratnam, Anne Gunn Halvorsen and Aleksander Kielland Krag.

The ambition for the Norwegian Festival of Literature in 2023 is, in short, to open the window wide to the outside world and let in new, exciting – but also established and interesting – writers in a big, enriching discussion about the world we all live in.