The Norwegian-American Literary Festival Comes to New York
April 28, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
You may have noticed a Knausgaard theme on the Daily today, between our interview with his translator Don Bartlett and Ian MacDougall’s probing analysis of the author’s scatological side. We’re celebrating the release of My Struggle’s fourth volume—but we’re also celebrating the latest Norwegian-American Literary Festival, a series of readings, conversations, and musical performances coming to New York for three nights next month.
The festival begins on Wednesday, May 20, at the Westway in the Meatpacking District, where Karl Ove Knausgaard’s reunited college band, Lemen, will take the stage. James Wood’s band, the Fun Stuff, will perform, too, and Lydia Davis will begin the night in conversation with Dag Solstad about writing family history. Solstad is one of Norway’s preeminent writers, the author of thirty-three books translated into thirty languages. Davis learned Norwegian by reading his latest novel, a four-hundred-page epic whose title translates, roughly, as The Insoluble Epic Element in Telemark in the Period 1591–1896.
Next, on Thursday, May 21, at Chelsea’s 192 Books, James Wood will appear in discussion with four of Norway’s most promising young writers: Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold, Carl Frode Tiller, Gunnhild Øyehaug, and Lars Petter Sveen. We’ll introduce these writers in the weeks to come.
Finally, on Friday, May 22, at Sunny’s, in Red Hook, we’ll have a conversation with Knausgaard and Wood, followed by two additional performances from their respective bands, with a guest performance by The New Yorker’s David Remnick.
We’ll have more details as these dates approach—for now, mark your calendars. And if you’re wondering what on earth the Norwegian-American Literary Festival is, consult our Winter 2012 issue, which features proceedings from its first year, featuring Joachim Trier, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Donald Antrim, Elif Batuman, and more.
Dan Piepenbring is the web editor of The Paris Review.