We are delighted to announce a comeback for Louisiana Literature in its acclaimed four-day format. The festival will take place 18 - 21 August 2022.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s literary festival Louisiana Literature is back with its 11th edition of quality literature from countries spanning France, Chile, Iceland, USA, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Germany, England, the Netherlands and Russia.
Meet the writers
Ocean Vuong (b. 1988)
Torrey Peters (b. 1981)
Deborah Levy (b. 1959)
Laurie Anderson (b. 1947)
Carl Frode Tiller (b. 1970)
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
Pola Oloixarac (b.1977)
Koleka Putuma (b.1993)
Bernardine Evaristo (b. 1959)
Judith Hermann (b. 1970)
Linn Ullmann (b. 1966)
Édouard Louis (b. 1992)
Maria Stepanova (b. 1972)
Jón Kalman Stefánsson (b. 1963)
Alex Schulman (b. 1976)
Patricia Lockwood (b. 1982)
Benjamín Labatut (b. 1980)
Ben Lerner (b. 1979)
The international authors will be in the company of some of the very best Danish authors of 2022, presenting a broad range of literary genres and expressive forms on stages inside and in Louisiana’s Sculpture Park.
Read about this year's international writers
Ocean Vuong (b. 1988) is one of the most extraordinary literary talents to emerge in recent years in the US. When his poetry debut Night Sky with Exit Wounds was published in 2016 it drew comparisons with some of the greats of American literature, including Emily Dickinson. The sheer number and prestige of literary prizes Vuong has already been awarded are rare for an author of his age. He had his first breakthrough with the novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, already translated into 36 languages. The book takes the form of a letter to Vuong’s mother covering the scars of war, class, addiction, violence and transnational identity in the US. His newly published collection of poetry is called Time is a Mother.
In 2019 Bernardine Evaristo (b. 1959) was the first black woman ever to receive the Booker Prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other. The novel has been translated into more than 60 languages, sold over a million copies, and won numerous other major awards. In her powerfully moving novel, Evaristo creates a symphony of voices interweaving the stories of 12 women and the role of race and feminism in their lives. The author’s interest in the African diaspora forms a strong thread throughout her work.
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
In 2020 the debut novel The Discomfort of Evening made Netherlandic author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (b. 1991) the youngest and first non-binary recipient of the International Booker Prize. In the Netherlands, where The Discomfort of Evening has sold over 200,000 copies, Rijneveld has been declared the country’s new literary star. The semi-autobiographical novel was inspired by the death of the author’s brother when Rijneveld was three. Rijneveld was raised in a religiously strict family on a farm in the Southern Netherlands. The novel paints an unflinching picture of the family’s grief and lot in life from the bewildered yet clear perspective of a child.
Deborah Levy (b. 1959) was born in South Africa but is considered one of England’s leading authors. She began her writing career as a playwright and poet and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize twice. She calls her trilogy of memoirs, Things I Don’t Want to Know, The Cost of Living and Real Estate “living autobiographies,” written as they happen in the midst of life. Levy’s writing has been compared to the works of Rachel Cusk, possessing a literary style full of original observations moving effortlessly across a lifetime to encapsulate what it means to be human and find one’s place in the world.
Judith Hermann (b. 1970) is one of Germany’s most influential authors. After her sensational debut with the short stories The Summer House, Later in 1998, she was declared by many to be the voice of a new generation. The short stories Nothing but Ghosts and Alice followed before her debut novel Where Love Begins, in 2014. Her critically acclaimed novel Daheim (’Home’), a softly spoken, poetic work on the destruction of humankind and nature, is about to be published in English.
Édouard Louis (b. 1992) was only 24 when he first visited Louisiana Literature, but his debut novel The End of Eddy had already made him one of France’s most influential authors. The autobiographical novel confronts growing up in a working-class family far from Paris, depicting his experience of homosexuality in the face of poverty and prejudice. He has since published Who Killed My Father, condemning the treatment of the poorest people in French society. Even though Louis’ books are autobiographical – most recently with his mother as the main character – his writing always has a broader social and political aim.
Poet, novelist and journalist Maria Stepanova (b. 1972) is considered one of Russia’s most influential literary and cultural figures. Her role in Russia’s independent media has made her a driving force for freedom of the press at a crucial juncture for censorship and the writing of Russian political history. Her 2021 prose memoir In Memory of Memory is a family portrait of the construction of memory, combining essays, fiction, memoirs, travel diaries and historical documents. The book, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize last year, provides a panorama view of memories, destinies and ideas, providing powerful insight into Russian thinking and culture.
Torrey Peters (b. 1981) had her debut as a novelist in 2021 with Detransition, Baby, widely acclaimed as the first excellent realist trans novel. Witty and elegant in style, Detransition, Baby is set in a queer community in New York. The ‘detransition’ of the title refers to one of the biggest taboos here – the process of reverting to the gender they were assigned at birth, as one of the three main characters experience in the novel. Lauded as an irresistible comedy of manners, Detransition, Baby won the 2022 Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel.
Festival guests will also be able to enjoy hearing the award-winning American author Ben Lerner (b. 1979) talk about his humorous, intelligent novels. These include The Topeka School, which led Irish author Sally Rooney to pronounce “the future of the novel is here.” Lerner taught Ocean Vuong at Brooklyn College and began his career as a novelist with Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, which The Guardian declared to be “just as revolutionary as his debut.”
Carl Frode Tiller
Carl Frode Tiller (b. 1970) is one of Norway’s most acclaimed authors, translated into more than 20 languages. He has been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize three times, most recently for his novel Beginnings. He has also won numerous international book awards for the highly acclaimed trilogy Encircling I-III, about a man suffering from amnesia who places an ad in the newspaper asking people who knew him to write and tell him who he was. The work, which has been compared to Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle, poses central questions about how to portray life.
British author Claire-Louise Bennett had her debut in 2015 with the award-winning novel Pond, the story of an academic who quits her career and moves to a small cottage in Ireland where she potters around her garden and writes odes to her tomatoes. The narrator is a master at zooming in on details, seeking out solitude and nature, and celebrating the sensory encounter with her surroundings. The main character of Bennet’s second novel, Checkout 19, is a young woman obsessed with writing small stories featuring her lovers, Dostojevskij, Proust, her school friends, Nabokov, her parents and Tove Ditlevsen, who all become part of the stories. Parallelly literature becomes the most important thing in her life. “We read in order to come to life”, as the narrator says.
American Laurie Anderson (b. 1947), a guest at Louisiana Literature in 2017, constantly invents genres of her own to tell her stories. Be it performance, painting, music, dance, virtual reality, or computer programs, storytelling unites her works, which are driven by an insatiable curiosity about how to make sense of the world. In 2022 Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art presents the most extensive retrospective exhibition of works by 74-year-old Anderson, who continues to go from strength to strength.
The American poet and essayist Patricia Lockwood (b. 1982) bases her original and humorous works on inspiration from the Internet and social media, earning her the title “the poet laureate of Twitter.” She works across and between various genres, publishing poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including the memoir Priestdaddy. Her debut novel No One is Talking about This was a finalist for the Booker Prize and listed as one of the best novels of 2021 by The New York Times.
Benjamín Labatut (b. 1980), born in the Netherlands, lives and works in Chile. His novel When We Cease to Understand the World balances science and fiction, portraying the beauty and destructiveness of ground-breaking scientific discoveries in a new literary form of his invention. On being longlisted for the International Booker Prize, Labatut said: “This is a book about the limits of science and the borders of thought, a strange book, neither a novel, nor a short story collection, nor an essay, it’s a book that walks the thin line between fact and fiction.”
In 2021 Linn Ullmann (b. 1966) published Jente, 1983 (‘Girl, 1983’), which follows the life of a 16-year-old girl in Oslo, New York and Paris. The novel continues the theme of the poetic power of memory Ullmann pursued in her previous book, Unquiet, which she presented at Louisiana Literature in 2016. When published in Ullmann’s native Norway her latest novel reaped praise as one of the best books to be written by one of Scandinavia’s most esteemed authors.
Jón Kalman Stéfansson
Jón Kalman Stéfansson (b. 1963) is one of Iceland‘s greatest contemporary authors. His magical writing style has earned him four nominations for the Nordic Council Literature Prize and a nominee for the 2017 International Booker Prize for the novel Fish Have No Feet. His latest book, yet to be published in English, has been acclaimed as a stylistic masterpiece taking the reader back and forth in time between a village in Iceland and Paris and Marseille through the fascinating stories of multiple generations and a narrator struggling to overcome amnesia.
The reactions from readers to Swedish Alex Schulman’s (b. 1976) novels Forget Me, Burn All My Letters – about to be released as a film with an all-star Swedish cast – and his international debut The Survivors have reached almost fever pitch. An intensity of emotion that matches the potency of the author’s portrayals of family relationships. Schulman’s books, described as using sparse prose to create haunting tragedies, have won numerous prizes and been translated into as many languages.
“Sly, bitter, and smart, Mona is at once a satirical comedy, a harrowing psychological portrait of a woman’s dissociation, and a philosophical indictment of the hubris of now. Read it and be surprised,” said Siri Hustvedt about Argentinian writer Pola Oloixarac’s (b. 1977) novel Mona. She debuted in 2008 with Savage Theories and had her literary breakthrough with the novel Dark Constellations in 2015.
“I don’t want to die with my hands up or legs open”, writes Koleka Putuma – the award-winning theatre practitioner, writer and poet from South Africa – in her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia (2017). The book reads like a personal diary of a black homosexual woman, but also as an insisting poetic reflection on the trauma and the importance of storytelling of the collective memory of South Africa. In her most recent work Hullo, bu-bye, Koko, Come in (2021) as well as in her performances Putuma explores the same themes. At the festival, she will present Out of Con(text) based on poetry from her books.
A DECADE ON STAGE...
Shahrnush Parsipur, László Krasznahorkai, Sjón, Rachel Cusk, Michel Houellebecq, Robert Crumb, Claudia Rankine, Elif Shafak...
Sally Rooney, CAConrad, Hiromi Itō, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Delphine de Vigan, Georgi Gospodinov, Javier Marías, Anne Carson...
Paul Auster, Chris Kraus, Svetlana Alexievich, Eileen Myles, Siri Hustvedt, Péter Nádas, Colson Whitehead, Laurie Anderson...
Julian Barnes, Erica Jong, Hanya Yanagihara, Claudio Magris, Linn Ullmann, Nell Zink, Karl Ove Knaugsård, Olga Tokarczuk...
Richard Ford, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Colm Toíbín, Rachel Kushner, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Vladimir Sorokin, Yan Lianke...
Herta Müller, Teju Cole, Lydia Davis, James McBride, Alaa Al-Aswany, Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood...
Per Petterson, Colum McCann, Zadie Smith, Tomomi Adachi, Sofie Oksanen, Erland Loe, Ian McEwan, Jenny Hval...
Patti Smith, Nicole Krauss, Anne Carson, Jeffrey Eugenides, Linn Ullmann, Allan Hollinghurst, Jonathan Safran Foer...
Marilynne Robinson, DBC Pierre, Gary Shteyngart, Junot Díaz, Daniel Grossman, Adonis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie...
Sofi Oksanen, Günter Grass, Tomas Espedal, Ali Smith, Kevin Vennemann, Sara Stridsberg, Kerstin Ekman, Karl Ove Knausgård...
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 performances on stage or in-depth talks with Michel Houellebecq, Ben Okri, Zadie Smith, Paul Auster, Margaret Atwood, Patti Smith, Richard Ford, Svetlana Alexievich and many more please follow the link below
Where literature begins
A series of film portraits gives you a closer look at some of Danish literature's great voices. Each writer shares their thoughts on literature from their personal and inspirational starting point - taking you on a tour around Denmark, Iceland and Greenland.
The 12 films have been produced by Louisiana Literature in 2020.
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.
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.