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Louisiana Literature

Louisiana’s international literature festival LOUISIANA LITERATURE presents in its sixth edition a selection of the best contemporary literature from countries like Russia, China, Cuba and Kenya. Experience a wide range of literary genres, idioms and expressions such as readings, discussions, dialogues and performance. The authors appear on stages all around the museum, outdoors and indoors, so the written and spoken word find a place among nature, architecture and visual art.

See or recall the LOUISIANA LITERATURE MOMENTS from previous festivals.


Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
Kenyan Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is one of the greatest living African writers and he is often mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. Most of his life he has lived in exile because of an extensive oeuvre with a sting in its tail aimed at the authorities in Kenya. Much of his rich flora of books are written in the African language Gikuyu as an artistic demonstration and as part of a struggle for freedom. In August Dreams in a Time of War will appear in Danish – the first volume in Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s trilogy of memoirs. Photo: Daniel Anderson

Richard Ford
American Richard Ford is considered one of his country’s most important living authors. His new book, which is a succesor to his breakthrough novel The Sportswriter (published in 1986 and proclaimed by Times Magazine as one of the 100 best novels written in English) has just been published in Danish. The successor is called Let Me Be Frank With You, which showered with praise by the American reviewers when it appeared last year. The novel will be given the Danish title Her og nu when it is published in August. Photo: Greta Rybus

Ali Smith
When Scottish Ali Smith visited Louisiana Literature in 2010 she aroused the enthusiasm of all with her intelligent, effervescent personality on stage. Her books get better and better, and this year sees the appearance of her latest, How to Be Both, in Danish entitled Hvordan være begge dele, translated by Danish poet Pia Juul. At Louisiana Ali Smith will present the novel, which deals superbly with issues of gender and identity, art and life. The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won several awards. Photo: Sara Wood

Ljudmila Petrusjevskaja
77-year-old Ljudmila Petrusjevskaja has been described as a “primal force”, and in her native Russia she has received some of the most prestigious literary prizes. In her fantastical dystopias humanity is depicted in a surprising, grotesque language full of pain as well as rumbustious, pitch-black humour. Her latest novel, Number One, or in the Gardens of Other Possibilities, will appear in Danish in the days leading up to the festival, where Petrusjevskaja can be experienced as both a writer and singer. Photo: David Shankbone

Vladimir Sorokin
Star writer, Vladimir Sorokin, is the enfant terrible of modern Russian literature. He is known for his provocative satirical style, graphic depictions of violence and sex, and for exposing taboos and mental repression in the Russia of today. As he says, “I have two telescopes when I write: a past telescope and a future telescope, and I use them to look at the present.” Photo: Maria Sorokina

Colm Toíbín
One of the major voices in modern Irish literature, Colm Toíbín, is visiting the festival with his new novel, Nora Webster, which can soon be read in Danish. The prizewinning Toíbín is a great literary connoisseur who writes books inspired by Henry James and James Joyce, but the writer is also highly entertaining on stage. Nora Webster is a moving portrait of a 40-year-old woman in the 1960s, imprisoned by her grief until she begins to sing again after decades of silence. Photo: Steve Pyke

Leonardo Padura
Leonardo Padura’s literary crime novels have changed the face of Latin American crime writing and received international acclaim. They portray modern Cuba with inspiration from both Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Chandler. Best known in the English-speaking world is his Havana Quartet of detective novels revolving around the louche and nostalgic cop Mario Conde. In Danish his novel Heretics, which appeared earlier this year as Kættere, garnered fine reviews. Photo: Itziar Guzmán

Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Hans Magnus Enzensberger is an institution in German intellectual life and a literary heavyweight whose production ranges over poetry, essays, non-fiction, theatre, radio plays and children’s books. His influence is impossible to overlook both as a writer and as a socially engaged intellectual. Enzensberger, born in 1929, has just published Tumult, his first foray into the autobiographical genre. Photo: Gyldendal

Yan Lianke
From Beijing, China, we are pleased to welcome Yan Lianke, who has encouraged authors to fight censorship with art and not politics. He visits the festival with his latest novel Lenin’s Kisses, which was nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize when it was published in English. The novel is a poetic, magical account of China’s course into the modern world and a satirical criticism of totalitarian authorities. Photo: Scanpix

Marie Darrieussecq
Marie Darrieussecq is one of French literature’s great names, whose works are often on the bestseller lists. Il faut beaucoup aimer les hommes (One must love men a lot) is the name of the novel that she presents in Humlebæk. The book portrays a love affair between a white French woman and an African man and it has won the author several prizes, including the Prix Médicis. The novel's title is from a quotation from Marguerite Duras: “You must love men a lot. A lot, a lot. Love them so you can love them. Without that you simply can’t stand them.” Photo: Tiderne Skifter

Clemens Setz
Austrian Clemens Setz is a remarkable writer who has attracted much attention with his original novels and short stories. The collection of short stories titled Love in the Times of the Mahlstädter Child was awarded one of the biggest German literary honours, the Leipzig Prize, and was applauded by the Danish reviewers. In the days leading up to the festival Setz’ latest novel, Indigo, appears in Danish. At Louisiana one can meet Setz as a writer, but also hear samples of his talent in overtone singing and experience his flair for performing magic tricks. Photo: Paul Schirnhofer

Jonas Gardell
From Sweden comes the phenomenon Jonas Gardell, who besides being a writer is also a stand-up comic. In Danish the last volume of Gardell’s novel trilogy has just appeared under the title Tør aldrig tårer bort uden handsker (Never wipe away tears without wearing gloves). The trilogy is a moving, profoundly personal account in three parts of a time and a generation of homosexual men who had to battle not only the HIV virus, but also society’s contemptuous gaze. Photo: Thron Ullberg

Rachel Kushner
The Flamethrowers by the 46-year-old American writer Rachel Kushner was nominated for the National Book Award, America’s finest literary prize. When Kushner appears at the festival, she will talk about Flammekasterne, as the book is called in Danish. It takes place on New York’s experimental art scene in the 1970s and is a portrait of a young, undaunted woman who wants to transform her fascination with motorcycles into truth-seeking art. Photo: Lucy Raven

Kenneth Goldsmith
Writing poetry should be as effortless as washing the dishes and as interesting,” says the American conceptual poet Kenneth Goldsmith, who mounts an assault on the kind of literature that exalts creativity and originality. As an example, Goldsmith has retyped a day's edition of The New York Times, and in his latest publication, Seven American Deaths and Disasters, he reproduces radio and television reports from historic American tragedies. At the festival the audience will have the opportunity to meet a stage performer of a quite unique format. Photo: Louisiana Channel

Sara Stridsberg
Sara Stridsberg’s new novel Beckomberga prompted a reviewer to urge the reader to experience for herself the “blessing” it is to read Stridsberg’s language, because it does something quite special to its readers. Beckomberga is the name of a Swedish mental hospital where the author’s father has been a patient. Although the novel has the subtitle “Ode to my family”, it is not particularly autobiographical according to the author: “I wanted to write a kind of appendix to the history of the mental hospital.” Photo: Caroline Andersson

Practical information

Festival events are free of charge for museum guests.

A festival entrance ticket for 4 days is available for DKK 175. The festival ticket can be purchased at the Member’s Entrance. One day admission DKK 115. Free admission with Louisiana Member Card.

Seats to events cannot be pre-booked and are not guaranteed with the purchase of entrance tickets.


A four-day tightly packed programme makes it almost impossible to include everything, but luckily the festival has a long 'afterlife' on Louisiana Channel where many of the authors, who have been guests at Louisiana Literature, are featured - for instance Patti Smith, Tomas Espedal, Richard Ford, Nicole Krauss, Henning Mankell, and Kerstin Ekman.

Louisiana and literature

Literature has always had a place at Louisiana. Through the years the museum has welcomed authors and hosted literary events, just as it has made room for music and architecture. Previously, Nordic poetry days were held and in the 1980s Louisiana gave Eastern European dissident authors a place to speak freely. It was also at Louisiana that Salman Rushdie appeared in public in 1992 - for the first time since the fatwa calling for his assassination was issued.

Louisiana’s literature festival saw the light of day in August 2010 and was a resounding success. Since then, it has become an annual event bringing together over 40 authors from Denmark and abroad and thousands of festival goers during the four-day festival.

Thus Louisiana Literature upholds a strong tradition. The event keeps the museum engaged in the world of literature, and at the same time the festival emphasizes great literature and its necessity.


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C. L. DAVIDS FOUNDATION AND COLLECTION supports Louisiana Literature