Where does the border lie?

The Norwegian Festival of Literature 2024 consists of 265 events and will take place in Lillehammer from May 27th to June 2nd. Headliners include Louise Kennedy (IRL), Mariana Enriquez (AR), Maria Navarro Skaranger (NO), Oliver Lovrenski (NO) Caspar Eric (DK), Adania Shibli (PS), Kjell Westö (FI), Sayaka Murata (JP), Ann Helén Laestadius (SE), Lars Mytting (NO), Constance Debré (FR), Amina Elmi (DK), Sumaya Jirde Ali (NO), Yan Lianke (CN), Joshua Cohen (US), Helene Uri (NO), Peter Frankopane (UK) and Elizabeth Strout (US).

Few words are as charged as the word “border” is right now. After several decades during which time the world shrank dramatically and borders were almost erased, pandemic, war, and refugee crises have again caused countries and people to close themselves off from the outside world.

Walls are being built, barbed wire is being strung, and people are being divided into “us” and “them”. But in our uncertain times, it’s not just the borders between countries that have become more rigid, but also those between social classes, genders, and age groups.


Current Debates
During the festival, important societal questions will be put on the agenda in DEBATE. “What are the borders of freedom of speech?” is the question Håkon Haugsbø poses Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Gérard Biard, threatened imam Seyran Ates, and Norwegian freedom of speech experts Anine Kierulf and Kjetil Ansgar Jacobsen. Other topics that will be discussed include “Where is the border for the dismantling of the welfare state?”, “Where is the border for how much crime society can handle?” and “Where is the border for the exploitation of nature?”

Close-ups with Norwegian and international stars
Fortunately, literature is also a place for flights of fancy, a place where boundaries are crossed and where one can immerse oneself in what it’s like on the other side. In the CLOSE-UP series, you’ll meet literary stars like American Elizabeth Strout, Palestinian Adania Shibli, Argentinian Mariana Enriquez, Chinese Yan Lianke, American Joshua Cohen, Danish Caspar Eric, and Norwegian reader favorites Tore Renberg, Lars Mytting, and Vigdis Hjorth. “We are happy and proud to be able to present world-renowned authors who explore the festival’s theme in their writing in various ways,” program director Yukiko Duke says.

Reading initiatives that work
Pegasus, the festival’s program for children and young people, is the Norwegian Festival of Literature’s most important social mission. Positive encounters with literature are important for developing children’s love for reading. Not only is reading crucial for a child’s language development and learning, but it also helps them develop empathy and gives children tools to understand the world around them and to understand each other. During the festival week, Pegasus will be offering more than 100 events.

The ambition for the Norwegian Festival of Literature 2024 is to explore the boundaries of literature and boundary-crossing literature. During the festival, new and exciting – but also established and fascinating – authors will have their say in a large, enriching discussion about literature and the world we all live in.

See the full English program here.