Louisiana Literature 2014
For the fifth time Louisiana Museum of Modern Art presented the international literary festival Louisiana Literature, which this year took place August 21-24. Some of the world’s best women writers took pride of place. The festival invited the public to meet and experience literature in a varied mix of genres and modes of expression on platforms around the museum.
See or recall several of the major LOUISIANA LITERATURE MOMENTS from previous festivals.
Louisiana Literature 2014 took us out into the world with names from countries as different as Britain, Hungary, Canada, Romania, Germany, Nigeria, Sweden, Egypt, Norway and the USA. True to tradition the festival presented literature in readings, dialogue, discussion, song and performance. The writers appeared on stages all around the museum, outdoors and indoors.
Among others you can meet these authors at
Louisiana Literature 2014
When the Romanian-German Nobel laureate Herta Müller takes the stage at Louisiana Literature 2014, the focus is on literature in the heavyweight class. The author, who grew up in Ceausescu’s Romania, has said that she fears words, because they make her obsessive. Nevertheless she has stirred the enthusiasm of readers all over the world with a succession of dazzling short stories and novels dealing with the rights of the individual vis-à-vis those in power.
Photo: Steffen Roth
JOYCE CAROL OATES
American Joyce Carol Oates rarely gives interviews and has never visited Denmark before. Until recently she was a professor at Princeton University, and in the course of her long career she has published an impressive oeuvre of action-packed novels, many collections of short stories, poems, and essays, with the result that she is often to be found on the shortlist for the Nobel Prize. At Louisiana the 75-year-old writer will present her latest novel, The Accursed, which will be appearing in Danish as De forbandede in the days just before the festival.
Photo: Star Black
Last year, when Lydia Davis, also from the USA, was awarded the prestigious Man Booker Prize. the Prize Committee tried to pin down her work as follows: “...stories? Or perhaps miniatures? Anecdotes? Essays? Jokes? Parables? Fables? Texts? Aphorisms, or even apophthegms? Prayers, or perhaps wisdom literature?” Not for nothing is Davis a ‘writer’s writer’. With virtuosity and originality she explores new ways of writing that impress and surprise her enthusiastic readers. She too will be publishing a new book in Danish in the days up to the festival.
Photo: Theo Cote
From Canada comes the award-winning Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) – poet, essayist, novelist, literary critic as well as fervent environmentalist and political activist with 500,000 followers on Twitter. Her works explore the existential problems of modern man with satire and humour, often with a starting point in a science-fiction universe. Her latest novel, MaddAddam, will be appearing in Danish in August.
Photo: Jean Malek
Another Canadian author known by many readers, especially for the novel The English Patient from 1992, which has also been filmed, is Michael Ondaatje. Ondaatje’s latest, Cat’s Table, is a novel on the grand scale that has aroused the enthusiasm of reviewers abroad and will presumably do the same here when it appears in Danish.
Photo: Beowulf Sheehan
The Norwegian author Herbjørg Wassmo, who received the Nordic Council’s Prize for literature back in the 1980s, recently issued her latest family history novel These Moments in Danish. The book, which brought enthusiastic reviews in this country, transforms painful incest experiences into powerful, vital prose.
Photo: Rolf M. Aagaard
English David Mitchell took everyone by storm when he published Cloud Atlas in 2004. “Every page makes the nerve-ends tingle as you are carried off to new, fantastic places,” wrote a Danish reviewer in 2012. In Danish we can soon read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a love story from the eighteenth century that won several prizes when it appeared in 2010, when he was proclaimed the most dazzling British writer of his generation.
Photo: Paul Stuart
A new look at America is something one can also experience in the American Philippe Meyer (b. 1974). The Sons, which will be appearing in Danish in a few weeks, is a novel about the genesis of modern America; a tale of three generations that takes the reader from the cultivation of the Wild West to oil-rich modern Texas. In other words, a new crack at the often-attempted Great American Novel.
Photo: Philipp Meyer
Teju Cole (b. 1975) moved to Brooklyn from Lagos, Nigeria, when he was 17. He impressed the reviewers with his prizewinning debut book Open City (2011), which is being published in Danish ahead of the festival. The main character in the novel, who bears a number of resemblances to its author, strolls through the streets of New York and meets people with whom he often has intense conversations; a lover of classical music and a curious intellectual who scans the many layers of the city with the special gaze with which the outsider – and the immigrant – are blessed.
Photo: Teju Cole
Alaa Al‑Aswany, considered one of the most important Egyptian writers, sold a million copies of his debut novel The Yacoubian Building from 2002. Since then Al‑Aswany has written several books, while at the same time keeping his dentist’s practice in Cairo. The Automobile Club of Egypt, which will soon be available in Danish, is an ebullient novel about life in Cairo in the 1950s, and of course provides a background for an understanding of Egypt and the upheavals the country is undergoing at present.
Photo: Hr. Ferdinand
German Daniel Kehlmann (b. 1975) is one of German literature’s superstars. His novel Measuring the World has been translated into 46 languages and is considered one of the most successful novels of post-war Germany. As well as being popular, Kehlmann is also a literary epicure who plays virtuosically with genres in his books. In the days up to the festival his latest novel, F, will appear in Danish.
Photo: Heji Shin
When Hungarian Péter Esterházy takes the stage, it will be a meeting not only with one of Hungary’s greatest living writers, but also with an ebulliently humorous temperament. Celestial Harmonies is the name of one of Esterházy’s bestknown books, which has been called a classic of contemporary European literature. Last year saw the appearance of Not Art, which had a Danish reviewer “standing jubilantly on the sidelines, enthusiastically cheering the furious pace, the furious energy“ of the book, which is a son’s fantasy about a beautiful, seductive mother who lives and breathes for football. The author himself is crazy about football!
Photo: Dan Wesker
Last year’s most talked-about novel in Sweden was written by Lena Andersson. Arbitrary Conduct – a novel about love is about the things that happen when you fall in love – head over heels and one-sidedly. The novel won the prestigious August Prize, and the Swedish readers and reviewers couldn’t put the book down. Soon it will be available to Danish readers.
Photo: Cato Lein
Sjón from Iceland, whose short novels powerfully affect their readers, will also be visiting the festival. He was awarded the Nordic Council’s Prize for Literature for The Blue Fox in 2005 and had his international breakthrough with Marvels of Twilight, published in Danish in 2010. His novels have now ben translated into 25 languages. Sjón also garnered excellent reviews in the Danish newspapers for his latest novel Moonstone – the Boy Who Never Was.
Photo: Thomas A.
A regular feature of Louisiana Literature is Audio Walk. Authors have written about spaces and art at Louisiana. The contributions have been produced as a sound experience offering the audience their own literary experience the festival.
About Louisiana Literature
Louisiana’s literature festival saw its light in August 2010 and was a resounding success. Since then, it has become an annual event bringing together over 40 writers from Denmark and abroad and thousands of festival goers during the four-day festival.
The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic and most of the museum is involved in a lively interplay when authors move in with readings, performances, interviews and discussions. With this programme Louisiana brings an old legacy – a strong commitment to the world of literature – into a new era. The museum also strives to strike a blow for good literature and the necessity of it.
A four-day tightly packet programme make it almost impossible to include everything, but luckily the festival has a long 'after life' on Louisiana Channel where many of the writers, who have been guests at Louisiana Literature, are featured - for instance Patti Smith, Tomas Espedal, Richard Ford, Nicole Krauss, Henning Mankell, and Kerstin Ekman.
C. L. DAVIDS FOUNDATION AND COLLECTION supports Louisiana Literature