Map of Finnmark with literary characters and cultural personalities.
Bringing literary gems to the top of the world Few know that a lively literary community is growing at the northernmost point in Europe. The Finnmark International Literature Festival takes place once every two years, with the upcoming festival bringing together some of the most prestigious authors of the Nordics to discuss and share their views on this year’s topic: mentality. By Helene Toftner | Photos: Finnmark International Literature Festival
High up in the Arctic, you will find the small yet very international town of Kirkenes. Located at the very northeastern tip of Norway, close to Finland and Russia and in the Sami heartland, it houses an interesting, complex community. “This year’s topic, mentality, is so important up here. Is there such a thing as a typically Norwegian or Russian mentality, or a Sami identity? How different and how similar are we, and how does it all come together?” poses Sunniva Knutsen, who coordinates the festival. While the topic may go hand in hand with the geographical location of Kirkenes, it is also one most people can relate to. “We aspire to inspire and start discussions among our visitors,” Knutsen says. The festival aims to reach an audience as wide as possible, and 42 | Issue 91 | August 2016
previous topics have included children’s books as well as crime. This year’s festival takes place on 16-19 November and boasts names such as Kim Leine and Kjell Westö, both nominated for the prestigious Nordic Council Prize. “While reading a book is great, hearing an author read from their own book is something completely different, plus they can explain the thoughts behind the story and specific choices or wording,” Knutsen says enthusiastically. One of the main aims of the festival is to bring great literature up north. “If you live in Oslo you can go to book readings and festivals all the time, but we craved this also up here,” Knutsen says. “The festival tours the whole county after Kirkenes, so everyone will have the opportunity to take part.”
Norwegian Maja Lunde will be at this year’s festival.
Nordic Council Prize nominee Kim Leine is coming to the 2016 festival.
For more information and to book, please visit: www.finnlitt.no
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