From 13 to 19 November, Nordic Literature Week is taking place across Latvia. This year’s theme is “Christmas in the Nordic countries” with close to 300 venues across Latvia – schools and libraries – hosting readings, exhibitions, debates, and cultural adventures associated with Nordic authors.
To most, Christmas stirs up the feeling of pleasant anticipation. Warmth, a nice atmosphere and togetherness. But also, loneliness, sadness, and isolation. For most children this time evolves around Santa Claus, winter sweets and presents. The Scandinavian word 'Jul' comes from the old Nordic word 'jól', which was used for describing the great midwinter festival during the winter solstice. Tales tell of supernatural creatures coming to life on Christmas Eve, while in the Christian tradition, Christmas is associated with the birth of Jesus. All the mystery and anticipation make Christmas such a fascinating subject also in literature. In the Nordic countries this time is filled with a mysterious excitement, making this season so special.
The idea behind the annual Literature Week is to promote Nordic culture and literature. This year, 283 institutions across Latvia have officially registered to take part in Nordic Literature Week; various other events related to Nordic culture are also taking place elsewhere. The Nordic Literature Week typically contains two joint readings – the Morning Dawn read-aloud session for children and youth and the Evening Dusk read-aloud session for adults.
This year, the Morning Dawn reading will focus on Astrid Lindgren’s classic Emily. The experience of the read-aloud event starts before the book has even been opened. By closing the curtains, dimming the lights, and lighting a few candles, you can create a captivating atmosphere ahead of the reading. If you have access to a projector, the experience can be enriched by displaying the book's front cover, this year's poster from the Nordic Literature Week, or illustrations from the book. This year marks 60 years since the famous character Emil of Lenneberg entered the world of literature. The world that Astrid Lindgren created around Emil has become part of the Nordic cultural heritage. Presumably, because adults and children recognise some part of their personality in Emily or in any of the characters residing in Kathult.
At the Evening Dusk session adults will get a chance to wonder around the world depicted by Ingvild H. Rishøi in her novel “Stargate. A Christmas Story”. In this piece of artistic literature, the award-winning Norwegian writer combines modern everyday realism with references to classic Nordic fairy tales. And will all that she to tell a Christmas story of hope, betrayal and dreams from a child's point of view.
The Nordic Literature Week is open to all, with no age limit. Any library, school or other institution is welcome to join the project by registering at https://www.nordisklitteratur.org/lv/pieteikties/.On the same website you can also:
- find out more about Nordic Literature Week,
- view the list of participants (schools and libraries),
- view the alternative reading list, and
- get inspiration from the “Catalogue of Ideas” for celebrating Nordic Literature Week in your town.
You can find related information and even more ideas on social media using the hashtag #nordisklitt23