The Saladin Days 2009

Saladin Days at the House of Literature

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Saladin Days at the House of Literature

One of the most important figures in Middle Eastern history is the Kurdish Muslim army leader and Sultan Saladin. Conquering Jerusalem, Al-Quds, from the Crusaders, he is still idolized as a hero in large parts of the Muslim world. But Saladin is more than a symbol from the time of the Crusades, he might also be a key to the future.

After conquering Jerusalem, Saladin let Jews, Christians and Muslims all freely practice their religions in the holy city. It was this image of Saladin the reconciliator that made the Norwegian author Thorvald Steen, during the 2008 Wergeland Conference, propose an international Saladin day. Writers, religious leaders and intellectuals partaking at the conference immediately welcomed the proposal. The House of Literature now opens its doors for four days of lectures, new dramatic poetry, conversations and an writers’ evening.


Thorvald Steen is among Norway’s most internationally oriented writers, having written about historical figures such as Saladin and Snorre, as well as contemporary literature, children’s books, essays and plays. A former head of the Norwegian Writer’s Union and Norwegian PEN board member, Steen has been translated into 20 languages.

Tariq Ali is an international author, historian and political activist. He has written more than 30 books of non-fiction, fiction and history, and is a popular lecturer. He was one of the organisers of the big demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, and has been celebrated in song by the Rolling Stones.

Tom Remlov is director at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet. He studied stage directing in London, where he also worked as an actor. Remlov has previously been artistic director of the theater Den Nationale Scene in Bergen as well as the director of Norsk Film A/S.

Jan Guillou is among the most read writers in Sweden, a distinguished commentator and social critic. World famous for his spy novels about Carl Hamilton and the trilogy about Arn the Knight Templar, Guillou also has a background from journalism, and has written a number of non-fiction books.

David Zonshein is the chairman of the organization Courage to Refuse, and a decorated officer in the Israeli army.

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