Crown Princess Mette-Marit set off on her second annual literary train ride on Tuesday and then opened a literature festival in Lillehammer. For the former single mother who didn’t go to college until after she’d married into the royal family, her new passion for sharing books is nothing less than an awakening.
Mette-Marit herself claims she always enjoyed going to the library with her mother, and this year she’s questioning how what we read as children affects us as adults. Her book-laden train left from Trondheim bound for Hamar, with stops in Oppdal and Ringebu before arriving for the festival opening in Lillehammer Tuesday evening.
The festival, which runs through Sunday, is being held for the 20th year and attracted 24,000 participants last year. It’s considered Norway’s largest and most important literature festival and receives 60 percent of its NOK 7 million budget in state funding.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that this year’s festival is attacting a delegation of Chinese authors and artists including Nobel Prize candidate Bei Dao, who had to go into exile after supporting the student rebellion in 1989 and will address the gathering in Lillehammer. Another frequent visitor to Norway, Canadian author Margaret Atwood, would also be an honorary guest at the festival.
On Wednesday, the crown princess’ literary train was to roll on to Hamar, the end of the line this year.