French language in 2019

French literature and philosophy have a unique status, which is supported by the 15 Nobel prizes in literature that have been nominated to France over the years. When the Norwegian Literature Festival in 2019 takes a step from a geographic focus to a language focus, it is the French language we aim at and the program will include French-language authors from all over the world.

The 9 first released French-language authors that will come to Lillehammer in the spring will come from France, Algeria, Morocco and Cameroon.

Èdouard Louis
Since his debut in 2014, Èdouard Louis has been one of the most important young authors in Europe. It is not often we can follow a literary star get brighter and brighter, as we have done with this Frenchman. When he returns to the Norwegian Literature Festival, we hope that many have read the two books, Farewell to Eddy Bellegueule and the history of violence. His last, the history of violence, will be the focus of his visit at the festival, but do not let the title scare you! Or maybe you should? All readers need resistance, especially in the face of such an important and difficult topic.

Leila Slimani

Leila Slimani won the Goncourt Prize in 2016, as one of only nine women in the last hundred years. Perhaps this say something about the price, but it does not remove the fact that the Moroccan-French author is a very central figure in French literature. Not only has she been noted as a novelist, but also as a journalist, essayist and adviser to the seated president. Slimani writes in the postcolonial tradition and has contributed with releases that have helped renew this in a completely different way. Her award winning novel, Chanson Douce, comes in Norwegian to spring.


Didier Eribon

For us in Norway perhaps Didier Eribon may be best known as Edouard Louis mentor and predecessor, but in his native country he has a highly profound thinking. His books have had an effect on both fiction and philosophy and sociology. With the translation of Home to Reims, he became available to a Norwegian audience this year and received praise from, amongst others, Erlend Loe. In Lillehammer in the spring you will see him in conversation with Eduard Louis, a meeting that will give you a unique understanding of France today, starting from their books.


Maylis de Kerangal

They are tired but happy, the three surfing companions who have hunted for the perfect wave in the early hours of the morning and are now heading home to Le Havre. The vans they sit in pour out of the road and hit a post. Twenty-year-old Simon Limbres, who is in the middle of the front, without a safety belt, is severely injured and comes in a coma. Simon can not be saved, but may his internal organs revitalize other patients? Thus opens the beautiful and painful novel “Repair the Living” of Maylis de Kerangals.
Repair the living, which came out earlier this year, is one of the most gripping and elegant books we have been reading in the festival administration for a very long time. It is not without reason that the book has won several awards and is set up as an act in France. We are looking forward to welcome Maylis de Kerangal to Lillehammer in May!


Boualem Sansal

Boualem Sansal is one of Algeria’s most acclaimed contemporary authors. He did not start writing books until he had filled 50. Then he quit the department job and never looked back, something his production clearly shows since 1999. In Norway, we know him best as the author of the dystopian novel 2084: The Devil of the World, describing a post-apocalyptic Arab community, where nobody remembers the past and the prophet rules without competition. For those who have read Georg Orwell’s 1984 this will be known stuff, but the two novels can not be compared. Boualem Sansal’s authorship is inextricably linked to North Africa, and manages to complete scratch political criticism with gallows and overwhelming imagination. 2084 created a major debate when it came to France in 2015 and was awarded, among other things, the Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie française and nominated for the prestigious Goncourt Prize.

Sansal is particularly famous for his sharp criticism of the situation in Algeria and analyzes of the problems facing the Arab world. After the release of the controversial essay collection Poste restante: Alger his books were banned in his home country. Sansal still lives in Algeria with his wife and two daughters.


Werewere-Liking Gnepo

Probably, we all agree that cultural work is political work, and that one reaches human minds and hearts the fastest way through the art. The Cameroon writer, the theater organizer, the singer and the village founder Werewere-Linking Gnepo is an example that life can be a work of art, and that through life you can do a lot of things. She is today known as one of the most important postcolonial artists in Africa, and a pioneer in avant-garde literature, theater and music. We are looking forward to velcoming her from so far away!


Julia Kristeva
In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, literature was the humanities discipline that defined the academic landscape. Especially the French, British and American thinkers was strong. The work that was done is still crucial to how we read and understand literature today, and few have been, and are as influential as Julia Kristeva. It’s not an exaggeration to say that her books were crucial to shape what we today know as the feminist literature theory. By reviewing the psychoanalytic and political approaches, she mad a path that everyone who has come afterwards  have had to deal with. We are very pleased that we get a visit from the philosopher, psychiatrist and author. Together with her, we will take a look back and forth on time.

Alice Zeniter
Alice Zeniter already debuted as the sixteen-year-old novel Deux moins un egal zéro (two minus one equal to zero). Since that time, she has written a theater piece and three novels, all of which are award-winning. Her background with an Algerian father and French mother often lies as a backdrop in the writing, as in her second novel Jusque dans nos bras, or “Take this Man” as it is called in English, where she tells the story of a pro forma marriage between two childhood friends to ensure the one lasting stay in France. Her latest release, L’Art de Perdre, which is published in Norwegian in March, is a generation novel that tracks the colonial era in Algeria and the effects of our contemporary era. We are talking about a large scale that seeks to explain international great politics through single banners, and should we believe the reception the book has received at home and abroad, we really have something to enjoy!

Jacques Roubaud
Few poets are as legendary and influential as math professor Jacques Roubaud. It is good to say that he is namedropped in, among others, Roberto Bolaños Vild detectives. In Norway, we have been fortunate enough to have access to his texts through the reports made by some of the country’s foremost reporters. For 60 years he has been one of the most important authors in France, among others as a member of the groundbreaking group Oulipo. It is time for a meeting with a living legend!


ps. The main program for the Litterature festival 2019 will be released 2. april 2019.

This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål