Louisiana Literature 2011
A truly international festival - and a huge success - Louisiana Literature 2011 was held from 1-4 september and hosted writers from countries such as Australia, Libya, China, Nigeria and the US. All together 40 international and Danish writers attended, reading, discussing, and partaking in a programme, where one could experience dancing, music and various performances as well.
From Syria came the poet Adonis, who is considered the greatest living Arabic poet. From Libya came another great Arab personality, the author Ibrahim Al-Koni, who grew up as a nomad in the Sahara and has written over 60 books. The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, known for the novel Half of a Yellow Sun, also participated.
The 82-year-old master of the short story, Kjell Askildsen, was on the programme, and from Norway too came Lars Saabye Christensen and Karl Ove Knausgård.
The Dominican writer Junot Díaz, known for the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was another of the festival guests as well as the Icelandic Gyrdir Elíasson, who was awarded the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize 2011. The major Israeli writer David Grossman attended. From Finland came the Finnish-Swedish Marta Tikkanen, an important figure in the the women's lib movement in the 1970'ies who had recently published Emma & Uno, a powerful love story based on the lives of her grandparents. The Chinese writer Yiyun Li, who lives in California, also took part at Louisiana.
The phenomenon DBC Pierre (DBC stands for ‘Dirty But Clean’), who earlier led a wild life as a gambler, drunkard and substance abuser, and whose debut novel Vernon God Little breezed in and won the Booker Prize a few years ago,had also agreed to appear at the festival. DBC Pierre has come storming back again with his novel Lights Out in Wonderland.
The public also had a chance to meet the major American author Marilynne Robinson. Her novel Housekeeping was translated into Danish by Inger Christensen and is today considered a classic of American literature. From Sweden came Steve Sem-Sandberg, whose documentary novel De fattiga i Lodz (The Destitutes of Lodz) last year was awarded among other honours the August Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious literature prize. The author Gary Shteyngart was born in Russia, but lives in New York, where he is today the darling of the reviewers – “hot” and funny as Woody Allen. His previous book Absurdistan was proclaimed one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times when it appeared.
Festival guests were also able to meet the Bulgarian writer Iliya Troyanov, who lives in Vienna and writes in German. He received fine reviews for his novel The Collector of Worlds. Finally Louisiana was proud to be visited by German Juli Zeh, who is considered one of the rising literary stars in Germany. In her latest book Corpus delicti she directs a fierce attack on the health hysteria of our own day.