The Norwegian Festival of Literature
The Literary festival in Lillehammer – the most important literary meeting place during springtime.The Norwegian Festival of Literature is the largest of its kind in the Nordic countries, with a diverse program catering to readers of all ages. Would you like to experience authors live and discuss literature and current affairs with likeminded people? At the end of May each year, literature fills the streets of Lillehammer. We guarantee words that will move you and experiences that will take you a step further.
6 days – 26 000 visitors – 400 writers and artists from all over the world.
The small and idyllic city of Lillehammer offers a warm and friendly atmosphere with it’s green sorroundings. Lillehammer used to be housing two Nobel Laureates: Sigrid Undset at Bjerkebæk from 1919 – 1949 and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson at Aulestad from 1875 – 1910.
The festival has events for both families and an adult culturally curious audience. Experience on stage conversations, debates, lectures, readings, award ceremonies, exhibitions, seminars, shows, quizzes and other festivities. Among the authors who have attended the festival earlier years, you will find names such as Karl Ove Knausgård, Svetlana Aleksijevits, J.M. Coetzee, Herta Müller, Adonis, Margaret Atwood, Edouard Louis, etc.
We find ourselves in the midst of a corona virus pandemic – literature and culture have become more important than ever before. Increasingly, it has become clear that the Norwegian Festival of Literature cannot proceed as originally intended, however we are fortunate to have excellent alternatives to cancellation.
Already this week, we are looking forward to the world’s smallest literature festival and the national Boklek (BookPlay) in a digital format. Late May we will hold a magnificent digital literature festival; in September there will be an extensive Pegasus festival in Lillehammer, and in November we will deliver the Sigrid Undset Days. Beyond this there will be reading circles and individual events from time to time. In this way we hope that in this time of crisis we can continue to help spread the joy of reading nationally and internationally.
World’s smallest literature festival
On Thursday 26th March, at 2pm, we would like to welcome you to probably the smallest literature festival in the world. It will take place in the reading kiosk at Kjelsås, in Oslo. The originator of the reading kiosk Vidar Kvalshaug will be your host, in conversation with, amongst others, Nina Lykke, Kjersti Bjørkmo and Ragnar Hovland.
Boklek for children between 5 and 10 years old
Boklek, that is ‘BookPlay’, takes place annually at this time of year; it is a tour around the Innlandet region, where school children get to meet a children’s book author. This year’s tour – with writer and illustrator, Line Renslebråten, is unfortunately cancelled in its traditional form, but the good news is that it will rise again digitally, and will be available to all children throughout Norway. Join us under the Polar ice caps for readings, drawing lessons and to learn more about life under the sea – all from the safety of your own living room.
Scandinavia’s largest digital literature festival
The 26th annual Norwegian Festival of Literature will meet the challenge of the current state of emergency. Authors expected in Lillehammer from as far afield as Spain, Argentina, Mexico, USA, Germany and Sweden will instead participate from home, to entertain audiences in their own homes. We are now working to ensure that the festival is available to many readers, to become the largest digital festival in Scandinavia. Join us for this festival of writers from home and abroad on the weekend of the 29th – 31st of May.
Pegasus postponed until Autumn
Pegasus, our programme of events for children and youths, is postponed, but like a phoenix, will rise from the flames from September 21st – 25th, when hopefully schools and kindergartens will be up and running again, and ready to gather for reading and cultural nourishment. A week-long festival, here in Lillehammer, consisting of over 100 events, with places for 12,000 children and youths from across the country.
Sigrid Undset Days are back
The Norwegian Festival of Literature first saw the light of day 25 years ago, in the spring of 1995. The basis of the festival at that time was a seminar on Sigrid Undset’s writing, that had first started in 1993. In this corona-ravaged anniversary year we go back to these original roots, to where it all started at Bjerkebæk and invite you to the Sigrid Undset Days, exactly 100 years after the first publication of Kransen, from Undset’s masterpiece the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.
The former residences of two Noble Prize winners in literature
In Lillehammer and the neighbouring municipality of Gausdal we find the homes of two of Norway’s three winners of the Nobel Prize in literature, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Nobel Prize in 1903) and Sigrid Undset (Nobel Prize in 1928). The author residences Aulestad and Bjerkebæk are open to the public, offering guided tours, special events and performances. Both locations have new public facilities with visitors centres and cafés. The Norwegian Festival of Literature started out as a festival about Sigrid Undset and her literary works. A Sigrid Undset lecture is included in the festival programme every year. In collaboration with Lillehammer University College, the festival also schedules a lecture every year in Bjørnson’s name. Both Bjørnson and Undset demonstrated a strong civic and social commitment. Bjørnson fought for small nations’ right to freedom and independence and as time passed he became more and more involved in peace-related issues. Undset was a clear voice in opposition to the racial theories of Nazi Germany and her attitude towards Nazism and involvement in the situation of the Jews led to her having to flee the country when Norway was occupied in 1940.