On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit hosted the “literature metro” together with her husband, the Crown Prince. Because of her health, Her Royal Highness has this year, chosen to switch out her annual “literature train” to a more urban “literature metro”. Instead of using some of Norway’s long and remote train lines to promote literature to young people, she has now used the metro-system in Oslo city to reach the youth with her message.
The Royal Court has previously stated that because of her health, the Crown Princess must take things slower than in previous years. Therefore, she was joined on some of the events by her husband, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
Her Royal Highness said: “Good texts have an ability to say something about who we are, and not at least who we want to be. Good literature often moves us to a new understanding of ourselves and the world around us. To see ourselves, therefore, the literature is vital. For five years I have travelled around Norway by train to talk about books and literature with writers and readers. We have talked about what literature means in our lives.”
The “literature metro” started on Wednesday on Bekkestua in the west of Oslo. At this library, the authors Maja Lunde and Bjørn Vatnesnakker talked about how they write about the climate in their books. The poet Evelyn Rasmussen Osazuwa performed the entertainment, and students from Rosenvilde Upper Secondary School were invited to attend.
The metro then continued to Røa. At Røa the Crown Princess talked with the doctors and authors Nina Brochmann, Ellen Støkken Dahl and Jonas Kinge Bergland about body and gender. The entertainment was by artist Sivert Sivertsen, and students from Persbråten and Ullern upper secondary schools were invited to attend.
The first day of the journey was concluded in the city centre at Majorstua. In the city, authors, Lars Saabye Christensen and Zeshan Shakar met to talk about their writings, about growing up at different times and in different neighbourhoods, and about their city, the capital Oslo. The entertainment was performed by the artists Don Martin and Taro Cooper. Students from Hartvig Nissen’s school and Oslo Business College were invited to attend.
On Thursday, the journey began on Tøyen. At the first stop in east Oslo, authors Erlend Loe and Janne Stigen Drangsholt talked about humour in their literature, and Taro Cooper entertained. Pupils from Etterstad Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cathedral Cathedral were invited to attend, as well.
In her speech at Tøyen, the Crown Princess said: “As some of you may know, I have travelled around Norway to talk to people at libraries about literature and the importance of literature in our lives for five years. Last year we travelled to Stavanger. In this connection, I travelled to Stovner and picked up one book. There I met a bunch of young people who were very attached to their home. They inspired me to take the Literature Train home to Oslo, the city that I am so fond of.”
Then the metro continued to Furuset. At Furuset the Norwegian Olympic alpine winner, Kjetil Jansrud met the fantasy author Siri Pettersen for a discussion. This was followed by entertainment from J. Croos. Pupils from Hellerud High School were also invited.
In her speech at Furuset, the Crown Princess said: “This is a journey through a city that I am incredibly fond of. One of the things that struck me yesterday is how much wonderful is happening around our city and not least how much is happening around the libraries in this city. I think we should all give extra applause for the fact that there are so many libraries and librarians in Oslo. That we can enjoy the common areas this is and all the knowledge that is among the employees who work at the libraries, who can give us advice on good books we can read.”
The day and the entire journey were concluded on Thursday afternoon at Stovner. At the final stop, Hip Hop singer Don Martin talked to immigrant-author Zeshan Shakar about literature, inspiration, and their childhood. The artists Sofian and Yomi entertained, and pupils from Stovner High School were also in attendance.
The main goal of this year’s short travel was to reach young people between 15 and 25. Additionally, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess have, in connection with this event, hosted an author-school for 60 people at their home, the Skaugum Estate in Asker.