Literature Festival in Copenhagen

Oct 22, 2009 by

This year Copenhagen is celebrating literature for a whole week in November, starting the 6th with libraries and local community centres opening up their doors all over town.  “København læser” (Copenhagen reads) is an event, which is free of charge with writers and critics sharing their love for literature.

The big annual book fair, Bogforum, will officially be declared open on Friday the 13th of November at 10.15 by the famous author Per Olov Enquist.  If you cannot wait, then Bogforum, together with the Royal Library, has made a pre-opening event on Thursday evening with the British writer Monica Ali.  The event is a part of the Royal Library’s “International Forfatter Scene” (International Author Scene), where they invite international authors to talks filmed by the Danish national TV.

The actual Bogforum takes place in the heart of Copenhagen and is open to the general public with books on any subject to content your heart.  Like book fairs all over world, you will be able to find all the newly published books about philosophy, psychology, religion, history and politics, cookery, health-and-body care, and of course fiction for children and the adult reader!

On the various stages you will be able to meet Danish writers who you may already be familiar with as their books have been translated into many European languages.  Maybe Merete Pryds Helle, Ida Jessen, Svend Åge Madsen, Anders Bodelsen, or Dorrit Willumsen ring a bell?  If not, now is your chance to expand your knowledge the literature and the many different writers from Denmark.

If you are more interested in politics, then perhaps the former editor from the German “Der Spiegel”, Stefan Aust may get your attention with his book about “Rote Armee Fraktion”?  Or could a discussion about the challenges of the multicultural society in the West between the editor of the Danish national newspaper “Politiken”, Thøger Seidenfaden and Rune Engelbreth Larsen spark your interest?

You could also listen to a talk between Margrete Auken and her daughter Ida Auken, about their book “Dig, mig og Gud” which deals with faith and God. Both are members of the Danish parliament and Margrete is a priest where as Ida Auken has a masters in theology.

Or perhaps you are more into gardening and would love to hear what Camilla Plum, author of “Camillas Havebog”, has to share with Denmark’s “grand old man” of gardening, Søren Ryge Petersen? Camilla Plum is famous for a food show set on her farm, where she cooks with vegetables from her own garden. She has also published several cookbooks.

A more exotic part of Denmark is in focus, when the author Kim Leine talks about his new book “Tunu”, which gives you access to the tough circle of life in Greenland where people live closely with the facts of death and nature.

If you have small children and no babysitter in sight, then there is no reason why you should not bring them along. They could meet the very talented artist and writer Peter Madsen, who shows his drawings and talks about his and Sissel Bøe’s new series of children books “Troldeliv” and the making of his comic book “Valhalla”.  Or get entertained on the stage for children, by the funny duo Michael Wikke and Steen Rasmussen, who are well established as makers of family oriented films. Or they could listen to another well known writer and filmmaker, Kim Fupz Aakeson telling the story about the boy Vitello.  There will be many competitions for the children of various ages all over the fair.

The list of subjects, authors and writers is long and diverse and I haven’t even mentioned all the different crime writers yet!

The highlights of the foreign writers must be the invasion from the British isles;  Robert Goddard, Sadie Jones, Susan Moody, Paul Sussman, Tabish Khair, Raymond Khoury and Roddy Doyle. 
Or could the Americans Colin Harrison, Liza Mundy, Donald Spoto be more to your preference? 
Or maybe you think the large group of Scandinavian writers are the highlights; From Norway Karin Fossum, Jan Kjærstad, Anne B. Ragde, Helene Uri, From Sweden Per Olov Enquist, Jan Guillou, Camilla Läckberg, Klas Östergren, and from Iceland Einar Már Gudmundsson?

Whatever you like to read, or enjoy hearing, you are sure to find something familiar, something new and something to rock your boat at the Copenhagen book fair!

Copenhagen reads:
Copenhagen book fair:
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Dan Brown to Publish New Novel

Apr 21, 2009 by

Dan Brown, undoubtedly the most discussed of all authors in recent times (at least in the circles that we swim in anyway), is slated to publish his long-awaited novel, The Lost Symbol.  The novel is a sequel to The Da Vinci Code, and from the article:

Inevitably, it involves a global cult and a race against time to unlock a secret formula.

Details of the plot are likely to remain fiercely guarded until much nearer the publication date of September 15, but intrigue centres on whether Brown’s vast and conspiracy-crazed international fanbase can divine any clues about the novel from its title: The Lost Symbol.

Also, something to send fans screaming in delight, or detractors screaming in anguish for sullying bookstores with future copies of the book:

Jason Kaufman, Brown’s US editor, said: “From the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.”

Read about it in the Times here.

Btw, I loved this quote from the Times:

His books have antagonised Christian groups and upset sensitive lovers of fine English prose but their protests have been drowned out by record-breaking sales.

Absolutely neutral, that one. 🙂

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Books about the Good Book?

Mar 18, 2009 by

One of the podcasts that’s constantly in my playlist is Slate’s Political Gabfest (I don’t know why I like listening to discussions on the American political landscape.  Maybe because I like getting confused, or that I’m in love with the notion that there are places in the world where we can discuss openly, publicly and intelligently on national politics without the repercussions of being arrested, or maybe I just like intelligent discussions, or maybe I’m just like pretending to be smart.)

So anyway, in one of the shows, one of the panelists, David Plotz, mentioned (repeatedly) that he had written an interesting book called Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible, which is, well, self-explanatory.

He writes:

Everyone should read it—all of it! In fact, the less you believe, the more you should read. Let me explain why, in part by telling how reading the whole Bible has changed me.

Check out his article on Slate on the book, where it is mentioned that Good Book is a culmination of a series of blog posts he did while reading the Bible from cover to cover.

Plotz’s book isn’t the only one about the Bible in recent memory (well, as recent as 2 years ago, anyway).  A. J. Jacobs did The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.  Amazon says:

Make no mistake: A.J. Jacobs is not a religious man. He describes himself as Jewish “in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.” Yet his latest work, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, is an insightful and hilarious journey for readers of all faiths. Though no fatted calves were harmed in the making of this book, Jacobs chronicles 12 months living a remarkably strict Biblical life full of charity, chastity, and facial hair as impressive as anything found in The Lord of the Rings. Through it all, he manages to brilliantly keep things light, while avoiding the sinful eye of judgment.

Jacobs is the author of The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, which chronicles his reading of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, from A to Z.  I’ve read The Know-It-All, and can confirm that it’s a hilarious laugh-a-minute romp through the fabled encyclopedia, told with a keen wit.

Check them out.

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