Louisiana Literature 2019
This year, for the 10th year running, the Louisiana Literature festival, will present international literature from all around the world. The festival will be held on 22-25 August, where writers working with a broad range of genres and expressions will appear on indoor and outdoor stages around the museum and in the Sculpture Park.
Please note that admission to the Louisiana Museum gives free access to the festival, though it is not possible to reserve seats to any of the festival events.
MEET "THE CRUMBS"
We are deligthed to announce that Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb will take part in this year's Literature festival. The legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb (b. 1943) became the most prominent underground cartoonist during the 1960s. He has been called ‘the Rembrandt of comics’ and is renowned for his grotesque and outspoken works about Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, but the character he most often portrays is himself – always ruthlessly. Aline Kominsky-Crumb (b. 1948) rose to fame with ’Goldie: A Neurotic Woman’ (1972), one of the first deeply self-releasing comics from a female perspective. The couple will perform seperately and together during the festival.
Frequently containing elements of bizarre eroticism and violent incidents, Robert Crumb’s comics castigate all bogus virtues and the folly of popular culture. Alongside this subversiveness, however, Crumb’s art is shaped by a classical literary awareness, great tenderness and his own form of humanism: “I only feel ‘misunderstood’,” he says, “when people react to my work as if I were advocating the things I drew; the crazy, violent sex images, the racist images,” Crumb says. “I think they’re not getting it. I did not draw those images with the intention to hurt anyone or insult anyone, with the exception of the very few times I did strips making fun of specific individuals, like Donald Trump.”
INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS AT THIS SUMMER'S FESTIVAL
Michel Houellebecq, László Krasznahorkai, Claudia Rankine, Per Petterson and Sara Stridsberg are among the international authors you can look forward to meet at this year's Louisiana Literature. The international participants will be joining us from countries such as France, Hungary, Japan, the US, Lebanon, Norway, Iran, Poland, Sweden, Canada, the UK and Iceland. Read more about them below.
Michel Houellebecq (b. 1958), widely considered one of today’s most important literary voices, has a seismographic sense of the present. Any new novel by the French writer is an event. His latest novel, Serotonin is no exception. We follow Florent-Claude Labrouste, aged 46, who leaves his young girlfriend and heads for the countryside in a France that he sees as ruined by globalization and EU agricultural policies. The novel is about love and happiness. As in most of Houellebecq’s hotly debated novels, he merges the personal with the political in a ruthless analysis and bleak portrait of Western society.
Hungarian László Krasznahorkai (b. 1954) has been compared to great writers like Franz Kafka. His fans include great writers as well. W.G. Sebald has said, “The universality of Krasznahorkai’s vision rivals that of Gogol’s Dead Souls and far surpasses all the lesser concerns of contemporary writing.” The Melancholy of Resistance was published in 1989. In 2015, Krasznahorkai won the prestigious Man Booker Prize. At the festival, he will present Satantango. First published in Hungarian in 1985, it is considered one of the master’s most accessible novels.
The American poet Anne Waldman (b. 1945), who has published more than 40 books, is often described as one the last great poets of the Beat generation. Her poetry has roots in Tibetan Buddhism, shamanism, dance and music. The rock poet Patti Smith is an admirer. Waldman has said about her work that she is “drawn to the magical efficacies of language as a political act.” Her latest volume of poetry, Trickster Feminism (2018), is written in reaction to Donald Trump and the new political winds blowing across America. In it, Waldman employs the Fool as a political and poetic figure for expressing the magical voices and rhythms that so richly populate her poetry.
The popular Norwegian writer Per Petterson has made it his specialty to write about people, particularly men, who find it hard to communicate. His new, critically acclaimed, aptly titled novel, Men in My Situation (2018), follows Arvid Jansen, a character we have met before in Petterson’s work. Having left his wife and three children, Jansen lives a rudderless life, drinking and meeting women. Petterson’s characters brim with life, through memories, feelings, thoughts and fragments of lives that could have been.
The American writer Roxane Gay (b. 1974) insists on making explicit the unreasonable conditions women have to submit to. She has published novels, short stories and essays. At the festival, Gay will present her autobiography, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, about living with obesity and using her body as a fortress against the world, and about the repercussions of being gang raped at age 12. Besides writing books, Gay is a college professor, literary critic and a columnist for The Guardian and The New York Times.
Claudia Rankine is one of America’s most acclaimed and original contemporary writers. She was born in Jamaica, 1963, and grew up in the US. Rankine has written poetry, essays and plays. Her path-breaking poetry collection Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (2004) cemented her position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American literature. A decade later, she published her award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric. Considered her magnum opus, Citizen enjoys the status of a modern classic. Both works see Rankine mixing poetry, essays, photographs and public-space quotes to portray life in present-day America.
Sara Stridsberg (b. 1972), one of Swedish literature’s most singular writers, will present her masterful 2018 novel Antarctica of Love at this year’s festival. In highly poetic language, Stridsberg enters the mind of a young woman who has been murdered. As Stridsberg puts it, she wanted to “force the dead woman’s voice upon the world, instead of adding yet another convenient dead woman as they are found all over our shared entertainment culture. If it is dead bodies you want, I’ll damn’ well give you dead bodies, I thought, but then you’ll have to follow me deep into the woods.” Stridsberg is nominated for this year’s Man Booker Prize, a first for a Swedish writer.
Shahrnush Parsipur (b. 1946), one of Iran’s most important writers, lives in exile in San Francisco. She has been imprisoned several times, first under the Shah and later under Islamic rule. Her novels are banned in Iran, not least because of her descriptions of female sexuality. At the festival, she will present her novella Women Without Men. Written in the 1970s and published in 1989, it is considered a classic of modern Iranian literature. The novella follows five disparate women who end up living together in a magical garden, a utopian free space where they can make their own world, free of the restrictive bonds of family and society.
The American writer Lisa Halliday (b. 1977) made a splash with her award-winning first novel Asymmetry, a global account of immigrant living conditions in a world marked by inequality and multiple asymmetries. A different kind of disparity is depicted in the book’s story of a young editor at a Manhattan publishing house who has an affair with a famous writer in his seventies. Halliday, who today lives in Milan, never concealed that she had a relationship with Philip Roth while she was working as a literary agent at the Wylie Agency. In her debut novel, Halliday asks daring questions about the times we live in.
Rachel Cusk is one of English literature’s most eminent stylists and compelling storytellers. Born in Canada, 1967, she spent her early years in Los Angeles and has been living in England since 1974. She has written novels, short stories, memoirs and plays, winning a number of awards for her novels. In recent works, Cusk strives to develop novelistic forms capable of capturing specific personal experience by casting off classical narrative conventions. Her acclaimed trilogy, Outline, Transit and Kudos, follows Faye, a writer, in her interactions, thoughts and yearning to come to terms with her life and times.
Norwegian Matias Faldbakken has been extolled as one of Scandinavia’s best writers, even if he is primarily known as an internationally successful visual artist. In his literary breakthrough, Scandinavian Misanthropy (2001-2008), a trilogy of novels published under the pseudonym Abo Rasul, Faldbakken foretold a lot of what is happening today in social media, with trolls dead set on causing maximum provocation. At the festival, Faldbakken will present The Waiter, his novel about the end of Europe, which has been hailed as “a small masterpiece.”
Critics have compared The Parisian, the first novel by the 27-year-old British-Palestinian writer Isabella Hammad, to classics like Flaubert’s Sentimental Education. Zadie Smith first spotted the young writer’s prodigious talent. Based on stories told by Hammad’s father about her great-grandfather, The Parisian follows Midhat Kamal, a Palestinian-born dreamer studying in France who witnesses the start of World War I and the Palestinian war for independence. Hammad grew up in a Palestinian neighbourhood in London, in a family ruled by her matriarch grandmother. The novel, which came out this year, is based on more than 80 interviews with family members.
Sayaka Murata (b. 1979) is one of the most distinctive prose writers in contemporary Japanese literature. In 2016, she won the Akutagawa Prize, one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards, and was named “Woman of the Year” by Vogue Japan. Not so long ago, however, she was still working in a convenience store to support her writing. There, she gained the inspiration for her breakthrough novel, Convenience Store Woman, which was included in The New Yorker’s ten best books of 2018. The novel follows Keiko, an oddball clerk in a Tokyo convenience store. The Irish writer Sally Rooney, who visited last year’s festival, has called Convenience Store Woman “exhilaratingly weird and funny,” but also “unsettling and totally unpredictable.”
Sjón (b. 1962), one of Iceland’s original and internationally respected writers, mixes inspirations from Icelandic sagas with surrealist and modernist literature and, not least, rock music. Sjón had his big breakthrough with the novel The Blue Fox, which won the 2005 Nordic Council Literature Prize. Sjón’s recent, highly acclaimed trilogy of novels, CoDex 1962, tells two stories. One is about Leo Löwe, who flees the persecution of Jews during World War II and arrives in Reykjavik. The other is about his son, Josef’s, life on the windswept North Atlantic island. Part sci-fi and crime story, CoDex 1962 combines elements of mythology, pop culture, poetry and history in a deeply compelling and singular way.
Mazen Maarouf was born in Beirut, 1978, the son of Palestinian refugees. Today, he splits his time between Beirut and Reykjavik. A writer, poet, translator, literary critic and journalist, Maarouf recently translated Sjón into Arabic. At the festival, he will present his first collection of short stories, Jokes for the Gunmen, which marks his international breakthrough. This year, Maarouf is nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The short stories, whose black humour has been compared to that of Beckett, are powerful accounts of war as seen from a child’s perspective, giving the reader a sense of the effect of war on a civilian population.
Katarzyna Fetlinska (b. 1991) is a Polish poet. Often combining literature with performance art, her poetry explores the effect of literature on the body and mind. In 2015, Fetlinska published her third poetry collection, Sextapes, consisting of 22 parts in traditional book form, along with an audiobook and video. Each part is dedicated to a different person who has played an important role in the writer’s life, as Fetlinska tells the compelling story of life in a technological age.
More writers will be added to the programme later, including some of this year’s best Danish writers. Performances and music will be an important part of Louisiana Literature this year, as well.
TICKETS AND ACCESS
Admission to the museum gives access to the festival. Tickets can be purchased online or at the museum. 4DAY TICKET for the festival from 22-25 August DKK 185. Please note, seats to events are not guaranteed with the purchase of entrance tickets.
See below for more practical information about the four different stages, book signings, etc.
Access to the different stages
For events in the Concert Hall, which has a limited number of seats and no room to stand, tickets with assigned seats are available 1 hour ahead of event start. Tickets are available by the Concert Hall, maximum 4 tickets pr. person. Doors open 20 minutes prior to events. Please present your ticket no later than 10 minutes prior to events. Doors close on time.
There is Live transmission of events from the Concert Hall in the Sculpture Park.
The indoor West Stage and the Park - and the Villa Stage in outdoor tents are accessible without tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. A limited number of chairs are available, but there is room to stand and at the outdoor tent stages – to listen from a spot on the lawn. We clear the Park Stage between events, for preparations and soundchecks, so please refrain from leaving anything behind.
The museum staff may restrict admission to the stages for security reasons.
Books and signings: During the festival, books by Louisiana Literature writers are available for purchase at the Louisiana shop. Following interviews and conversations in the Concert Hall, on the West Stage and on the Park Stage a 15 minute session with book signings and purchase of books is scheduled.
Food and beverages are available at the Louisiana Cafe and at two outdoor service areas. Food and beverages are not allowed in the stage and exhibtion areas.
NEWS & UPDATES
LOUISIANA LITERATURE HIGHLIGHTS
from previous years.
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 Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Margaret Atwood, Patti Smith, Richard Ford, Karl Ove Knausgård, Svetlana Alexievich, Herta Müller - and many more...
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.
C. L. DAVIDS FOUNDATION AND COLLECTION supports Louisiana Literature