Norway’s Literary Stars Align For Edinburgh

at Edinburgh International Book Festival

With more than 800 events taking place across the Scottish capital each August, the Edinburgh International Book Festival is the world’s biggest public celebration of the written word. Hundreds of international talents, ranging from debut authors to Nobel Prize-winning wordsmiths, converge on the city for two weeks of debates, discussions, readings and workshops. It’s a highlight of the UK literary calendar, and this year, Norway has six authors taking part.


Jørn Lier Horst

Born in Bamble, Telemark, Jørn Lier Horst is a trained criminologist, philosopher and psychologist who served as an investigator in the Norwegian police. Now retired from the force, he has become one of the foremost crime writers on the Nordic literary scene. He also acts as a commentator on criminal cases for VG newspaper and has written several plays for the Ibsen Theatre.

Jørn Lier Horst. Photo: Marius Viken

Jørn Lier Horst. Photo: Marius Viken

Since his debut true-crime novel, Key Witness, was published in 2004, Horst went on to create the 10-volume William Wisting series of detective stories, which have sold over a million copies in Norway and abroad, been translated into 30 languages worldwide, and won a succession of awards across Scandinavia.

In Edinburgh, Horst will be introducing his new William Wisting prequel, When It Grows Dark (published in March this year), alongside another policeman-turned-author – Scotland’s Denzil Meyrick – at ‘Putting the Euro Heat on Cold Cases’ in the Garden Theatre on Sunday 13 August, 5:45pm.

Kjell Ola Dahl

Since his debut as a novelist in 1993, Oslo-based author Kjell Ola Dahl has written fiction, non-fiction screenplays, reportage, travel literature and a children’s book, but it is for his contributions to the Nordic Noir genre of crime fiction that he is best known.

Kjell Ola Dahl. Photo: Rolf M. Aagaard

Kjell Ola Dahl. Photo: Rolf M. Aagaard

Celebrated for the psychological acuity, well-crafted intrigue and the inventive language of their narratives, Dahl’s books have been published in 14 countries and won numerous prizes. This year, he will be talking about Faithless, the latest book in his series about Oslo detectives Gunnarstranda and Frølich, alongside Scottish crime stalwart Alex Gray for ‘Crimes Most Horrible’ at the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre on Friday 18 August, 7pm.

Lars Mytting

Creator of the surprise global hit Norwegian Wood – the forensically detailed paean to the Norway’s wood-burning tradition that the Bookseller named Non-Fiction Book of the Year in 2016 – and Horsepower – one of the best-selling Norwegian debut novels of all time – Lars Mytting is a former journalist and publishing editor turned international literary sensation.

Lars Mytting. Photo: Julie Pike

Lars Mytting. Photo: Julie Pike

He joins British writer Rachel Seiffert for ‘Echoing Cry of War’ in the Speigeltent on Saturday 19 August 10:15am, where he will talk about his forthcoming fourth novel, the 20th-century family saga Swim with those who drown  – The Sixteen Trees of the Somme, which will be published in the UK this autumn.

Thomas Enger

Former journalist, composer and crime novelist Thomas Enger made his debut in 2010 with Burned – the first of five novels about Henning Juul, an investigative journalist still grieving for the son he lost in a fire. Enger’s gritty, dark and gruesome tales of murder and intrigue have struck a chord among thriller-lovers around the world, and are available in 26 countries.

Thomas Enger. Photo: Ingrid Basso

Thomas Enger. Photo: Ingrid Basso

In Edinburgh, Enger has been paired with Scottish writer James Oswald to discuss the fourth Juul novel Cursed – a gripping and compelling plotted journey into the Oslo underbelly interwoven with its hero’s struggle to discover his son’s killer. The event ‘Past Crimes Haunt The Present’ will be held at the Garden Theatre on Wednesday 23 August ,2:15pm.

Karl Ove Knausgård

Norway’s greatest literary export of the 21st century, the novelist Karl Ove Knausgård achieved worldwide fame (and indeed notoriety) for the six-volume autobiographical series Min Kamp (‘My Struggle’), in which he scrupulously and shamelessly described the ‘banalities and humiliations of his life’ over 3,500 pages.

Karl Ove Knausgård. Photo: André Løyning

Karl Ove Knausgård. Photo: André Løyning

Since his candid and deeply personal account catapulted him on to the world stage and won him major literary prizes across Europe, Knausgård has written Så mye lengsel på så liten flate, a study of the painter Edvard Munch in collaboration with the Munch Museum, and the ‘Seasons Quartet’ – Knausgård’s personal encyclopaedia of the world that he first began as a letter to his unborn daughter. The author will appear at the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre on Wednesday 23 August, 5pm, discussing the first volume, Autumn, with festival programmer Roland Gulliver for the event ‘Lexicon of Life’s Loveliness.

Agnes Ravatn

Born in 1983 in Ølen in Rogaland, author and columnist Agnes Ravatn has earned a reputation as one of Norway’s sharpest satirists, with a distinctive wit and a gimlet eye for human fallibility that saw her named one of the best Norwegian writers under 35.

Agnes Ravatn. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

Agnes Ravatn. Photo: Grethe Nygaard

Ravatn’s second novel, published in English as The Bird Tribunal in 2016, was the first translated work to be part of WH Smith’s Fresh Talent Programme. The story of a scandal-hit TV broadcaster attempting to start a new life as a maid for a mysterious wealthy recluse, the disarming psychological thriller was picked up by BBC Radio 4’s Reading Europe series for Book at Bedtime in January this year.

Ravatn will be discussing The Bird Tribunal at ‘Mysterious Strangers’, a joint event with Scotland’s award-winning author Michael J Malone at the Writers’ Retreat on Sunday 27 August, 5pm.


Edinburgh International Book Festival




12 – 28 August




For full programme and tickets, watch this space.

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