Jan Kjærstad at PEN World Voices Festival in NYC

The Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad will be participating in this year PEN Festival that opens April 27. Jan Kjærstad, whose book “The Conqueror,” recently was published in the United States also will take part in several other events in New York.

Kjærstad, who was born in Oslo, is one of Scandinavia’s most prominent contemporary authors. He made his debut in 1980 with a collection of short stories titled, “The Earth Turns Quietly”. Over the years, he has written a number of novels, short stories, and essays. He has also been awarded with numerous national and international prizes. The two first books in his trilogy about Jonas Wergeland have been published in the US. Kjærstad’s last book in this trilogy – “The Discoverer”- will be published in the US by Open Letter this Fall. He has a Master of Theology from the University of Oslo.

In 1984 he received the Norwegian Literary Critics Association’s Prize for “Homo Falsus Eller Det Perfekt Mord”. The fact that he was honored with Germany’s prestigious Henrik Steffens Prize in 1998, awarded to Scandinavians who have significantly enriched Europe’s artistic and intellectual life, also illustrates his international appeal as an author. His trilogy “Forføreren” (1993), “Erobreren” (1996) and “Oppdageren” (1999) makes a monumental contribution towards renewal of the art of novel writing in Scandinavia. In 2001, Kjærstad won the Nordic Council’s Prize for Literature for “Oppdageren”. 

Praise for Kjærstad’s books 

“One of the most influential writers of his generation. Say his name, and I think of Milan Kundera, Martin Amis and Frank Zappa” – Linn Ullmann

“He exists. The perfect novelist exists and his name is Jan Kjærstad and he comes from Norway” – Dagens Nyheter

“Read, reader, read – great books are so rare” – Die Welt

“Kjærstad’s novels are redolent with the fantastic profusion of the stories they tell, of all that flows forth from them, presented in ever-new guises” – Die Zeit 

About PEN

The P.E.N. (poets, playwrights, essayists, editors, and novelists) American Center was founded in New York City in the spring of 1922. PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. The Center in New York is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN. 

Kjærstad at PEN World Voices Festival

May 2, 2009 Where Truth Lies: A Conversation on the Art of Fiction:This conversation between writers dealing with challenging subject matter explores the human need to tell stories, why fiction seems to be hard-wired into us as a species, and where truth lies in the most compelling stories of our time. It is the first in a series of launch events for the new Center for Fiction in New York City (formerly the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction). 1–2:30 p.m. at FIAF, Tinker Auditorium, 55 East 59th Street, NYC.

May 3, 2009 Faith & Fiction : Religion and religious faith are increasingly making their presence felt throughout the world in both politics and culture. Our panel will discuss some of the questions this change raises: if fiction is make-believe and faith is must-believe, can writers reconcile the absolutes of religious faith with the necessary uncertainties that attend both the production and reception of stories? Is what is meant by religious truth the same as artistic truth? If these truths are indeed different—and perhaps profoundly so—how might a novelist serve two masters? 1–2:30 p.m. at PowerHouse Books, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn.

In addition to the official PEN events, Kjærstad will also attend three other event’s in New York: Tuesday, April 28 at Norwegian Seaman’s Church in NYC. Wednesday, April 29 at 192 Books in NYC. Saturday, May 2 Nordic event at Idlewild Bookstore in NYC, TBC.

Source: Aschehoug.no / Norway.org.

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