The Norwegian Festival of Literature – ‘Sigrid Undset Dagene’

The Norwegian Festival of Literature is the largest literature festival in the Nordic countries and is held from May 29th to June 3rd. It has a focus on Norwegian contemporary literature and the interaction between literature and society. Since 2007, there has been a particular focus on Nordic literature as well as the international profile has increased.

It is an annual festival with different themes every year. This year’s theme is ‘Money’.

Since 1999, the Norwegian government has contributed financially allocating a grant in the annual State Budget as a post for the Maihaugen Cultural Museum in Lillehammer. In 2001, the Norwegian Publishers Association started to contribute financially on a yearly basis. Since 2006, the festival has been classified as a “Junction Festival”, which entails a separate item in the State Budget.

International award-winners like Herta Müller, Zadie Smith, Sofi Oksanen and Terry Eagleton have visited the festival during the years, and some of the highlights this year are Adonis, Ko Un, Nicole Krauss and Shaun Tan. In 2007, Anthony and the Johnsons was the main musical event at the festival.

The festival contains everything from large-scale events to intimate small events: Meetings with authors and authorships, live readings, interviews, debates, lectures, concerts, art exhibitions, seminars, theatre, film and quiz. This is a festival for an extensive reading audience: Kindergarten- and school children, families, book club members, teachers, students, musicians, actors, journalists and politicians.

The Norwegian Festival of Literature started as a seminar about Sigrid Undset at Nansenskolen in Lillehammer in 1993. After two years, the seminar was turned into a foundation and has since then developed into the largest non-commercial meeting point in the literary world of the Nordic countries. In 2011, the festival had over 23.000 visitors over six days visiting almost 200 events.

The festival is a non-profit organization and is dependent upon volunteering of functionaries as well as the involvement of institutions such as Maihaugen, Lillehammer College University, Lillehammer Art Museum, Nansenskolen, The Norwegian Publishers Association, The Norwegian Writers Centre and several smaller organizations such as The Sigrid Undset Society.

The festival is definitely Norway’s largest meeting point for authors, translators, literary critics, publishers and librarians. 


Text modified by: Ester Jepsen, ThorNews

Photo: Norsk Litteraturfestival

Source: Norsk Litteraturfestival

Categories: Culture, Reading

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