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Takes freedom of speech seriously

WEEKDAY / "We have to understand what power can be found in the literature," says festival director for LitFestBergen, Teresa Grøtan


That "everyday" was the theme for LitFestBergen, explains the festival manager Teresa Grøtan such:

- When we bounced the champagne after the festival ended last year, I suggested the theme of this year's festival: weekday. We examine the concept from a political, literary, artistic, historical and scientific point of view, and have therefore had "everyday life" as a clue – but not coercive jersey, from the very beginning of the work on this year's program.

LitFestBergen was arranged for the first time last year, to a panegyric reception by the press and the public. This year, the festival has writers like Khalid Khalifa from Syria and Mazen Maarouf from Lebanon, Anna Fiske, Frodo Grytten, Kjersti Bjørkmo og Pedro Carmona-Alvarez from Norway and Jason Y. Ng from Hong Kong.

I hope people who come to hear something familiar and dear end up going for something
new and special!

Grøtan talks about some of the choices for this year's festival:

- We didn't choose Syria, but the author Khalifa. We chose him because "death" combined with "everyday" can describe his latest book project, which also comes in Norwegian just before the festival: Death is a struggle – a fantastic title. How does one live in war everyday?

When it comes to Hong Kong, we were interested in the city because it is especially relevant. Palestine: I invited King Shehadeh to Bergen when he published the book Where The Line is Drawn two years ago. Then he came with his wife Penny Johnson. She talked about her project; how animals are affected by occupation Palestine. I thought: What an interesting entrance into the Palestine conflict!

The role of literature

- What is it about the place of literature in the world that makes you spend so much time on it?

- What strikes me is how scared some regimes are for writers. It says something about the role literature plays in the world. Afraid of lyric, like? I am intrigued by how busy someone is about who will be allowed to stand on a stage in a small town on the outskirts of the world. It gives me a strong belief and strong will to continue to be a festival that takes freedom of expression seriously.

- How can literature change conditions in the world?

- All art can change the world and help make it better or worse. The special thing about literature is that it can speak to emotions and the brain at the same time. For example: In the 80s and 90s, I read several books about people I identified with, but who lived under completely different conditions, in a strange and unfair world. To read Andre Brinks An act of terror, or Cancer befriends it made me sincerely believe that I could defend the use of terror – yes, that I knew so strongly that I would do the same as the characters in the book! In the novel, the terror consists in an attack on the apartheid president, that is, not terrorism against random victims!

What strikes me is how scared some regimes are for writers and writers.

In addition to showing that I was an influential youth, it may also say that many can be influenced by literature because it speaks to the heart and brain at the same time. We must understand what power can be found in literature.

The Norwegian literary public is too much about our own navel, and it gets boring in the long run. But the best of the navel literature is great art that I love to read, just to emphasize it. There's just too much of it.

New and special

- In what way will LitFestBergen expand the audience's horizons of understanding?

- I hope people who come to hear something familiar and dear end up going for something new and special! Then they go from there and say that it was not at all strange, but exciting, maybe touching, and then they might buy a book by a new author and feel richer as a human being, yes, I will take in, so my goal is that the festival will make us all better people. I get a little embarrassed to say it, who says that? – but that's the truth.

- What is your personal favorite on the program?

- Of course it is impossible to answer. But OK, then. I am most looking forward to the last feature during the opening, it will be unique and special.

Also read: "The Sami language is drowning"

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