Selected Program Highlights in English 2016

On 26-28 August 2016, the annual Sigtuna Literature Festival returns to our town.

Literature connects us all, so it is fitting that all local venues will open their doors, hearts and minds as the town of Sigtuna becomes a living arena for literature.

Important and topical conversations and meetings with authors will be interspersed with story readings, literature worship, workshops, guided tours, exhibitions and an child and youth program.

With over 80 distinct events, the fifth consecutive Sigtuna Literature Festival has something to offer literally everyone!

International Authors in Attendance
For our English speaking visitors, we are happy and honored to welcome Samar Yazbek, Anne Enright, Cynthia Haven and Igor Pomerantsev to this years festival.

You can read more about the authors here.




Unique testimony from the Syrian war
— meeting with Samar Yazbek
Saturday at 10.00, St Per school hall

Samar Yazbek is a writer and journalist with a past as a screenwriter for the Syrian film and TV. Since 2011 she lives in exile in Paris. In 2012 she was awarded the Swedish PEN’s Tucholsky Prize for her reports from within the insurgency in Syria. The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria was published in 2015 and is a terrifying story about the current war in Syria. On three occasions Samar Yazbek secretly traveled back to her homeland. In the book, she depicts her experiences of the reality of war in a way that leaves no one indifferent. From her inside perspective she discusses the change of the revolution and Isis increasing power.

Meet Samar Yazbek in an interview with Dagens Nyheter’s cultural editor Björn Wiman on the conflict in Syria, the terror network Isis and what war does to us humans.

NOTE! The seminar is held in English and will be interpreted from arabic.

To break the language and to open the world
Saturday at 11.00, Sigtunastiftelsen

Poetry sometimes acts as an explosive force with the ability to open worlds both around and inside of us. Joseph Brodsky, Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska are some of the Eastern European and Russian poets honored with the Nobel Prize and hailed as pioneers with their own distinct voices in a time of war, political unrest and censorship.

Are there common features in what one carelessly might call Eastern European poetry? Has poetry – this direct and concentrated form – been favored by Eastern Europe’s dramatic 1900-century history? Swedish poets and writers have also been inspired by Eastern European poetry and philosophy. What does this relationship look like and what furrows have the influences from east plowed in the Swedish literary soil?

Participating in the conversation is Cynthia Haven, critic, writer, literary scholar at Stanford University and Igor Pomerantsev, poet. The conversation is led by Malte Persson, writer, literary critic and translator.

NOTE! The seminar is held in English.
Arranged in cooperation with the Sigtuna Foundation.

The everyday life of a writer
– Anne Enright talks about writing with the publisher Dorotea Bromberg
Saturday 12.00, Sigtunastiftelsen

Why did Anne Enright start to write? What happened after she received one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes for her novel The Gathering? What tricks and tools does she use to craft her stories? And who are her favorite authors? Listen to a personal conversation about writing and every day life between the literary star of Ireland, Anne Enright and her Swedish publisher Dorotea Bromberg.



Boundaries in the shadow of war
— Conversation with Samar Yazbek and Emanuel Sidea
Sunday at 12.00, Sigtunastiftelsen

It is no exaggeration to call Samar Yazbek’s The Crossing: My Journey to the Shattered Heart of Syria a unique testimony of the world’s most dangerous place. A sort of existential report from hell on earth that demanded more of its author than readers could possibly understand. The book is based on three secret trips in 2012 and 2013 to the northwest of Syria, which was dominated by the Free Syrian Army.

Emanuel Sidea’s novel The Man from Harem is about Saif, an unemployed former philosophy student when the war breaks out in Syria. By chance, he becomes involved in the smuggling operations along the Syrian border. He soon earns big money on transporting jihadists from Turkey and into the Isis territory, a mission that grows both larger and riskier for every year that passes. Saif, the man from the Harem, crisscrosses the darkened national borders across the barbed wire and checkpoints. This is a story about a protagonist who fights to justify their dubious role in an increasingly hopeless and bleak war.

Meet Samar Yazbek and Emanuel Sidea in a conversation about national boundaries and human limitlessness, a mix of facts and fiction in the light of what is currently happening in Europe and the Middle East. The conversation is led by the director of the Sigtuna Foundation, Alf Linderman.

NOTE! The seminar is held in English and will be interpreted from arabic.
Arranged in cooperation with the Sigtuna Foundation.

The Green Road
— meeting with Anne Enright
Sunday 14.00, St Per school hall

The Green Road is the latest critically acclaimed novel by the Irish Booker Prize winner Anne Enright. The book is a family drama where Rosaleen Madigan announces that she has decided to sell the house, when the adult children come home to celebrate one last Christmas in their childhood home. The story spans 30 years and three continents, and follows the four children’s journey out in the world and back again. A family drama about breaking up, selfishness, compassion and strong but not straightforward family ties, where the things they have in common lie in the past, rather than in the present. 
Meet Anne Enright in a conversation with Madelaine Levy, literary editor at Svenska Dagbladet, on the new book, about her writing and her relationship with the Irish literary tradition.

SIGTUNA – a refuge for persecuted writers
– a call for the freedom of expression
Saturday 16:00, Sigtunastiftelsen

Since the 1990s, cities around the world have provided protection to persecuted writers within ICORN – International Cities of Refuge Network. Sigtuna has been a city of refuge since 2012. Specifically, this means that the Municipality of Sigtuna by a two-year scholarship provides financial support, shelter and protection to an author who are at risk and unable to work in his or her homeland. In a broader perspective, the work is something bigger as ensuring freedom of expression, defending democratic values and everyone’s right to free speech. Meet Iman al Ghafari Sigtuna´s ICORN writer, who just arrived to Sigtuna early this summer, in a conversation with Ola Larsmo, author and president of the Swedish PEN. The conversation is led by the director of the Sigtuna Foundation, Alf Linderman.

Arranged in cooperation with the Sigtuna Foundation and the Municipality of Sigtuna.

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