Autumn dreams

Ali Smith and Linn Ullmann

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Organised byLitteraturhuset

Ali Smith and Linn Ullmann

Elisabeth Demand, 32, is living the dream, according to her mother, “and she is, if the dream means having no job security and almost everything being too expensive to do”. Elisabeth reads to her old friend Daniel, 101, who is dying in a nursing home. Once the two were neighbors, and all conversations started with Daniel’s question “What are you reading?”. Now, Daniel’s mind is unmoored.

The novel is set in a post-Brexit Britain where “GO HOME” is written in large letters on a wall, and where getting a new passport takes a lifetime. Old paths can no longer be taken because barb wire fences have been put up to stop waves of people from Europe. There are also parallels to another time in European history when there were barbed wires between us and them: the story of Daniel’s sister, who only lived to be twenty-one.

Autumn (translated into Norwegian by Merete Alfsen) is the first in Scottish Ali Smith’s season quartet. Winter has already come out in English. In both books, hope, warmth, sensuality and humanity is articulated as a contrast to political lies and cowardice. Art is portrayed as a path to a truer, more beautiful and sharper understanding of the world.

Ali Smith has been shortlisted three times to each of the prestigious prizes the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Booker Prize. Last year, she also ranked among the top ten selling authors in Britain. Exploring human relations and art as a way to find truth is central also to Linn Ullman’s writing. The two will meet in conversation.

Tickets English Litteraturhuset Wergeland

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