Scandinavian craftsmanship is much more than just furniture. Creativity and craft comes in many forms and that is why we decided to take the pulse on the Danish literary scene at this year’s biggest national book fair, BogForum, in Bella Center Copenhagen.
Stories are an essential part of human existence
Above all else, the ability to tell stories is the thing that separates mankind from animals.
Since the break of day, stories have been the thing that connects us to our humanity, the thing that helps us understand ourselves and make sense of the world we live in. From ancient cave drawings to modern-day Twitter novels – stories are all around us and stories will never die. Period.
Why do we read literature?
Okay, you get the picture, stories are important – but why do we still read literature, when today’s society offers so many other story world options?
There are many reasons for reading literature, the most common of course being the opportunity to learn, to escape everyday life and finally, to experience an alternative, fictional world, which will give us a new perspective and as a result hereof, let us see the real world in a different light. But literature can also be read for the pure aesthetic pleasure it gives us humans to surround ourselves with good, artful craftsmanship of any kind – be it furniture, clothing or books.
@ Jens Christian Grøndahl
The writer as a craftsman
As Aristotle said, “a good story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end” – but how to connect these three parts is actually a lot harder than it sounds. It is a difficult job that takes years to master fully. The key to success here is the author’s imagination, creativity, and his or hers ability to convey feelings and impressions into written words.
Of course everyone can write, but only the real craftsmen, or should we say artists, can put together words in such a way that it touches the readers and leaves them altered by the experience. The artist’s work is one of the only real forms of immortality, and that is why writing will never die.
However, if anyone still questions the relevance and ongoing popularity of the physical book, all they have to do is visit the annual BogForum in Bella Center Copenhagen. With the staggering number of visitors (more than 34.000 people!) this year’s fair was the most successful one to date, which just goes to show that the book is still very much alive.
This 25th edition of BogForum had a little something for everyone with a diverse and inclusive program spreading over three days from the 11th to the 13th of October.
Despite the widespread prejudice, BogForum is not only a place for literary connoisseurs that seek our niche literature and highbrow interviews. This year a whole new children’s scene, a new comic book area and an expanded self-publishing area was introduced – with great success.
A celebration of the craft
BogForum is all about celebrating the written word, the genius of the authors and all the hard work that precedes a book’s publication. Sadly, many tend to forget the fact that the publishing world is actually filled with craftsmen such as agents, editors, printers, binders, booksellers, reviewers, audiobook narrators etc. who all help the book on its way from first draft to renown bestseller.
@Jussi Adler Olsen
What we saw
So, all this talk about literature, but what did we actually see? At BogForum you can either choose to browse around the different scenes and booths, or you can run to and fro to catch a glimpse of your favourite author. We chose a mix of these two and were fortunate enough to get front row seats to hear the always entertaining Norwegian author Erlend Loe talk about his newest book “The End of the World as We Know It”. We heard Ulla Terkelsen talk about her life on the road as a journalist for the Danish television station TV2, we entered in a classics’ quiz with king of Danish cultural life Adrian Lloyd Hughes, and we marveled at the long lines to see Jussi Adler Olsen and Stand-up comedian Anders Matthesen. No matter what you see, though, BogForum is an experience in itself, filled with people bustling around, excited voices, happy faces and last but not least, celebrities from both Denmark and the rest of the world.
@ Ulla Terkelsen
Very few events attract busses full of people for a whole weekend and very few events bring people of all ages and backgrounds together – but BogForum is one of them. Isn’t it marvellous how reading, such an introvert activity can bring so many people together in one big, social, book loving group?
@Jussi Adler Olsen
We definitely think it is – so to all those craftsmen out there, who help keep the book alive in 2016, we salute you!
On behalf of the CPHmade team // Caroline Vorsholt Danielsen
Photography by // BPEphotography