Norwegian Literature Festival with an Indian twist

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Photo: Caroline Strømhylden/visitnorway.no

The Literature Festival in Lillehammer is the largest in the Nordic region and was recently voted one of the 20 best literary festival in the world by Penguin. This year, the key topics are Indian literature, nationalism and freedom of expression.

The festival spans over 6 days, with more than 25,000 visitors and 400 writers and artists from all over the world. The location is no coincidence, as Lillehammer is referred to as The City of Literature. In Lillehammer and the neighboring municipality of Gausdal, we find the homes of two of Norway’s winners of the Nobel Prize in literature, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Sigrid Undset. While visiting Lillehammer, you will experience a sense of proximity to the Norwegian cultural heritage. At Maihaugen, where part of the festival will take place, one finds a unique collection of traditional Norwegian buildings and living environments, which appear to have been taken straight out of the Norwegian folk tales.

This year, the festival will have a focus on India, and has invited guests that will touch upon many aspects of Indian culture and history. India is a country where many different religions, ethnic groups and languages exist side by side, while the country also experiences differences between rich and poor, men and women, majorities and minorities, as in many other parts of the world. The Indian guests will elaborate on what characterize the literature in the country that is considered the world’s largest democracy, and how literature can be a powerful tool and artistic expression when fighting oppression and discrimination. There will also be several film screenings and concerts by Indian artists.

In the festival program you will find events that look into issues of adolescence and childhood, poetry about women’s liberation, rape, homosexuality and the history and making of New Delhi, to mention some. Participants from India will include the following:

Sudesh Adhana, choreographer and freelance dancer born in India, but lives in Norway.
Ila Arun, Indian actress, TV and theatre personality and singer.
Rana Dasgupta, author and journalist, born in England, but moved to India in his late 20s.
Tishani Doshi, poet, journalist and dancer.
Trilok Gurtu band plays a jazz and fusion mix with inspiration from India.
Amrit Kaur, Sarangi player and vocalist in genres of Punjabi Folk, Jazz and Soul.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, transgender rights activist, author and dancer.
Dr. Sharad Paul, dermatologist surgeon and novelist.
Jerry Pinto, poet, novelist and journalist.
Rajathi Salma, Indian author, columnist, social worker and speaker
Salil Tripati, author and journalist.

Norwegian Literature Festival: Tuesday May 30 to Sunday June 4.

To read more, visit http://www.litteraturfestival.no/en/