News from NORLA
A Great Festival Experience at Lillehammer
Between 25 – 31 May, the Nordic region’s biggest literature festival took place in Lillehammer, and this year’s was bigger than ever! NORLA organised programs both before and during the festival: We arranged a seminar for translators of Norwegian fiction to English, Spanish and Korean – and invited a group of international publishers and scouts to Oslo and Lillehammer in collaboration with the Publishers Association and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, two groups of German guests – including both journalists and booksellers – visited Norway in connection with the festival. Also participating was a group from Georgia – which was the Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse last year – as well as representatives from the book fair itself. All of these groups took part in an exciting and packed program!
The Translators Seminar
For 24 years NORLA has held a translators seminar in Lillehammer during the literature festival. This year the seminar focused on adult fiction and was attended by translators to English, Spanish and Korean. The translators met Bår Stenvik, one of the authors chosen to participate in spring’s New Voices Program. a collaboration between Talent Norge and NORLA. All the translators had worked on an excerpt from Stenvik’s novel The Information, and discussed the various challenges in the text. In addition to participating in the literature festival program, and a visit to the open-air museum Maihaugen, the translators also watched presentations by a number of current Norwegian fiction writers at the seminar for international publishers.
The Seminar For International Publishers
This annual seminar is organised by NORLA in collaboration with the Publishers Association. This year, the seminar was for the first time advertised as a fellowship that could be applied for and the interest was overwhelming with 94 applications being received. Sixteen places were subsequently awarded to seven nationalities: Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Germany and USA. This year’s theme was adult fiction. On day one, the publishers met Norwegian colleagues in Oslo and were given a surprise: A presentation by Jo Nesbø, in the sauna at SALT – followed by a swim in the fjord! The next day, the participants visited some of the central Norwegian publishers and literature agencies, where there were meetings with authors and book presentations, before taking the train to Lillehammer. In addition to a cultural program, they watched presentations from five current Norwegian fiction writers. The seminar was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In connection with Norway’s role as Guest of Honour at Frankfurter Buchmesse, we also organise press trips to Norway for German journalists. In connection to the festival in Lillehammer, we hosted a press trip, for a total of 13 German journalists, which included three TV stations. They experienced Oslo, Lillehammer and Ringebu, and met a number of authors in a joint program with the booksellers. The trip has so far resulted in a feature on the German TV channel ZDF and also on NRK’s Østnytt.
An article about Sigrid Undset and Bjerkebæk can be read at FAZ.
The journalists also attended a programme in Oslo together with German and Swiss booksellers. In Oslo they met several authors, visited the Munch Museum, Deichman Tøyen, Biblo Tøyen.
We would like to say a big thank you to one of our main sponsors Oppland County for such great help in the planning and implementation of the press and booksellers visit.
Booksellers visiting Norway
Nine booksellers, from Germany and Switzerland, were also invited to this year’s festival in Lillehammer; to meet Norwegian authors and colleagues from Norwegian bookstores, and to become better acquainted with Norway. They participated in the same program as the journalists and, in addition to meetings with authors, were given an inspiring tour of two public libraries Deichman Tøyen and Biblo Tøyen, as well as a tour of the Munch Museum and Lillehammer Art Museum. The authors they met were Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, Roy Jacobsen, Simon Stranger, Monica Isakstuen, Thomas Enger, Bobbie Peers, Lars Mytting, Jostein Gaarder, Ida Hegazi Høyer and Marta Breen.
Guests from Georgia and from the Frankfurter Buchmesse
Georgian writers Archil Kikodze and Zurab Karumidze were also present, as were representatives of the Georgian Book Center who were responsible for last year’s Guest of Honour appearance. Representatives from Frankfurter Buchmesse itself also took part. After the festival in Lillehammer, both groups watched the presentation of Han Kang’s contribution to Future Library, at a ceremony in the forest outside Oslo.
Thanks for a great festival!
We at NORLA would like to thank all our new and old friends for what was a very nice festival! Thank you to all the translators and the author Bår Stenvik. Thank you to the publishers and scouts – and to the agents and Norwegian publishers who participated with their authors at the publishers seminar; Jo Nesbø, Eivind Hofstad Evjemo, Mona Høvring, Klara Hveberg, Sverre Henmo and Jan Grue. And to John Freeman, who gave us an introduction to 1000 years of Norwegian literary history.
Thanks to the journalists and bookstores, and the authors who participated in their program; Simon Stranger, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson and Roy Jacobsen. Thanks to Lars Mytting who provided us with an unforgettable experience in Ringebu stave church. We would also like to thank the authors Thomas Enger, Bobbie Peers and Monica Isakstuen, who participated at Maihaugen. And festival manager Marit Borkenhagen who welcomed the guests to Bjerkebæk before Kristin Brandtsegg Johansen introduced them to the writing of Sigrid Undset. We then had presentations by Marta Breen, Jostein Gaarder and Ida Hegazi Høyer. Thanks to Ringebu stave church and vicarage, and to ceramist Torbjørn Kvasbø. We would like to thank our partners in the Publishers Association and the Bookstore Association, Deichman Tøyen and Biblo Tøyen, Munchmuseet, Lillehammer Kunstmuseum, Maihaugen and Bjerkebæk, as well as a big thank you to Oppland County Council who are one of the main sponsors of Norway’s Guest of Honour initiative at the book fair in Frankfurt. Thank you to our friends in Georgia and Frankfurt. And last but not least, a warm thank you to the people at the festival, for an exciting and inspiring week!
For a glimpse of everything that happened take a look at our Insta-stories
Take a look at the packed festival program here.
Did you know that the Norwegian Festival of Literature in Lillehammer was named one of the world’s best literature festivals by Penguin Random House The Writers’ Academy in 2017? Read more.