The party counted over 80 attendees. American publishers and literary critics were among the guests, in addition to Norwegian press.
In conversation with renowned American-Norwegian author Siri Hustvedt, Knausgård talked about memory and novelization and the ruthless aspecets of creating art. The two authors also discussed specific extracts from “My Struggle: Book One”.
Listen to the conversation between Karl Ove Knausgaard and Siri Hustvedt here:
Knausgård’s six-novel project, “My Struggle”, has been a massive success in Norway. On a unique literary quest, executed in a span of three years, 41-year-old Knausgård spends around 3000 pages to describe his own life from childhood and up until now, exposing both himself and everyone around him along the way. His project has stirred a fierce and long-lasting debate in Norway about freedom of speech and the role, responsibility and liberty of the author.
Knausgård’s “My Struggle: Book One” is now available in the United States and the author is thrilled about the US release.
- I still remember vividly how it was to write without being published. To achieve an English translation and to be launched on the US market, where Norwegian authors aren’t prevalent, to put it mildly, is of course very exciting, comments Knausgård.
Knausgård has only been in New York one time before:
- It was overwhelming to feel that this city actually exists and to experience being in the centre of the world. Home where I live there is only one store, and to get to the nearest pub I have to travel a mile. When I was in New York the last time, I behaved like I do when I’m at home. This time I hope to expand my cruising range a little bit, adds Knausgård.
In New York Knausgård will participate in three events at the on-going literary festival PEN World Voices. He will read from his novels at the New York University as well.
The English speaking market is the largest in the world for literature, but less than three percent of the new literature published in the United States originates from other languages than English. By supporting the translation and publishing of novels like “My Struggle”, the Norwegian government wants to contribute to introducing diverse and innovative literature to Americans.
The publisher of “My Struggle: Book One”, Archipelago Books, is a non-profit publisher that specializes in high quality literature in translation. Founder Jill Schoolman discovered Karl Ove Knausgård at the Norwegian Festival of Literature, and Schoolman firmly believes that Knausgård brings something progressive and unique to the American literary landscape:
- His storytelling is groundbreaking. What he writes about strikes a chord for the Americans. His literature is humane and universal.
Karl Ove Knausgård recently wrote about the trial of Anders Behring Breivik in The New York Times. You can read his text here.