Tomas Espedal

Louisiana Literature Festival

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One of my many travel dreams is to attend the Louisiana Literature Festival which is held annually just north of Copenhagen.  It takes place in late August and this year I couldn't fit it in with the Scandinavian Language Associations' Meeting (otherwise known as the SLAM! Conference) that I am attending in Malmö next week, but someday...

Louisiana Literature features a wide selection of Nordic and international authors.  I think one of the most anticipated appearances this year was Danish author Leonora Christina Skov whose book Den, der lever stille has been widely praised in Denmark since its release this past January.  I've read and heard so much about it and I will be picking it up immediately once I get to Copenhagen next week.  I'm so excited to read it.

Despite her long career as a novelist, critic and commentator in Denmark, there doesn't seem to be much written about Leonora Christina Skov in English.  I am sure that will change very soon given her current tremendous success.  She is a uniquely glamorous figure in Danish letters with her vintage-inspired dresses, colorful cardigans, and pretty shoes.  I don't think the Danish media knows entirely what to do with this unapologetic femininity paired with such talent and intellect. But I've loved watching her skillful use of Instagram (@leonorachristinaskov) to connect directly with her readers in a way that seems honest, gracious and heartfelt.  She is absolutely a Scandinavian author to watch.

Louisiana Literature maintains a video channel of festival highlights and if Leonora Christina Skov's talk  is shared there I will post a link in a future blog.  In the meantime, I'll share this wonderful video from the 2016 festival which features two towering figures in Norwegian literature, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Tomas Espedal.  They talk about their work and the writing life and they are enormously entertaining.  You will not regret a second of the 56 minutes spent with these two.  The video is fully subtitled in English.

 

Knausgaard's work is widely publicized in the US, but I don't know that Espedal has the same name recognition here.  Four of his books have been translated into English so far and he is such a beautiful and poetic writer - I highly recommend seeking him out if you have not had the pleasure of reading his work.

 

Alisa