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Over 90 German-language and Norwegian authors celebrate literature


There is great demand for Norwegian literature in Germany, and it is likely to continue to grow this year: Norway is the Guest of Honour at this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse (16-20 October 2019). From 26 to 28 April 2019, the German-Norwegian literary festival “Towards Frankfurt” in Oslo will offer a preview of what’s to come. Over 90 writers from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Norway will read from their books and discuss the themes they explore in their works. Never before have this many German-language authors come together in Norway at the same time. The guests include Melinda Nadj Abonji, Olga Grjasnowa, Judith Hermann, Volker Kutscher, Melanie Raabe, Christoph Ransmayr, Ferdinand von Schirach, Marlene Streeruwitz and many others. 

While Norwegian authors such as Karl Ove Knausgård, Maja Lunde and Jo Nesbø regularly find their way onto bestseller lists in Germany, this is not yet the case for contemporary German literature in Norway. The “Towards Frankfurt” literary festival aims to change that,as it also seeks to build a bridge to the Frankfurter Buchmesse. The opening ceremony of the German-Norwegian literary festival will take place at 7 pm on Friday, 26 April 2019, in the presence of HRH the Crown Princess Mette-Marit and the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen. Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen will give the opening speech. 

In addition to established authors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, numerous writers whose works have not yet been translated into Norwegian have also been invited. These authors will be presented by their Norwegian colleagues – ensuring that the focus is on dialogue and exchange. For example, the Norwegian author Hanne Ørstavik will introduce the German writers Mareike Krügel and Bettina Wilpert. 

About the future of Europe, hybrid beings and the paradox of integration 

The roughly 70 readings, panel discussions and conversations on the three days of the festival will cover a wide range of topics. On 26 April, the Norwegian writer Kjartan Fløgstad and author Theresia Enzensberger will discuss the connection between literature and architecture on the occasion of the Bauhaus centenary. Julya Rabinowich and Jonas Lüscher will take a closer look at the future of Europe in a conversation with the Norwegian journalist Sten Inge Jørgensen. On 27 April, the Norwegian sociologist Grete Brochmann and her German counterpart Aladin El-Mafaalani will discuss his theses regarding the “paradox of integration”. Finally, on 28 April, the writers Teresa Präauer and Astrid Nordang will strike up a dialogue on hybrid beings – also in the sense of merging science and art. 

Successful storytelling and literary scandals 

In addition to conversations with authors, the varied programme of the three-day literary festival will also feature many other events. In two workshops, organised by TYSKFORUM – the Norwegian association for teachers of German –, Gudrun Rathke will impart storytelling techniques for teachers and learners of German and will explain how the potential of good storytelling can be used in teaching and learning a foreign language. In addition, every day of the festival will begin with a live podcast of “Tyskerne” with Ingrid Brekke and Kai Hanno Schwind. The journalists aired their first episode in February 2018 and, ever since, have been covering interesting and entertaining items from Germany twice a month. The podcast planned for Friday, 26 April, is entitled “Deutsche Literaturdebatten” [German Literary Debates] and will report on sensational events and scandals in the German literary industry. On the final evening of the festival, there will also be a concert that combines music and poetry. 

#germanstories in Oslo 

As part of the festival, Frankfurter Buchmesse is organising a reading lounge around the theme “German Stories” in the House of Literature in Oslo: New works by the authors in attendance will be presented here, along with English-language translations of German literature, nonfiction and children’s books (from the collections “50 Books That Travel” and “Kids’ Books That Travel”). In addition, the reading lounge will also feature “VRwandlung" [Metamorphosis of VR], a virtual reality adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis” by American media artist Mika Johnson. 

The German-Norwegian literary festival is organised by five institutions in close cooperation with the writers Erik Fosnes Hansen and Helge Rønning: The Norwegian-German Willy Brandt Foundation, Frankfurter Buchmesse, Goethe-Institut Norway, Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association and the Norwegian Association of Literary Translators. The festival is supported by: Bergesenstiftelsen (main sponsor) and Anders Jahres Humanitære stiftelse, Cappelen Damm forlag, Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus [German National Tourist Board], Den norske Forleggerforening (Norwegian Publishers Association), Fritt Ord Foundation, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, H. Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard), Kulturrådet, Nasjonalbiblioteket - Bokåret 2019, NORLA, Pro Helvetia, Utenriksdepartementet, the Austrian Embassy in Oslo and many others. 

Goethe-Institut Norway (opens in a new window)

Programme of the German-Norwegian literary festival in a new window) 

Hannah Cuvalo 
Press Officer 
Goethe-Institut Capital Office 
Tel.: +49 30 25906-471 in a new window) 

Martin Bach 
Institute Director 
Goethe-Institut Norway 
Tel.: +47 22057880 (opens in a new window)


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