Dorthe Nors & Halfdan Pisket at the Passa Porta Festival 2017
Every two years the Passa Porta Festival of literature takes over Brussels for the course of a weekend. The event does not confine itself to the local and beloved Passa Porta Bookshop, but is scattered all over town at multiple venues welcoming more than a hundred Belgian and international writers. This year in collaboration with Danish Cultural Institute in Brussels, the festival features two Danish authors: Dorthe Nors and Halfdan Pisket.
Halfdan Pisket has a background in visual arts, he graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 2009, and released his first independent book, Hail the Darklord, in 2012. Since then he has released four graphic novels gaining international recognition. This recognition especially stems from his graphic novel trilogy, a story based on the life of his Armenian-Turkish father.
The story begins with Desertør (‘Deserter’, 2014), where we follow Pisket’s father deserting the Turkish army and the hardships that follows (i.e. violent imprisonment and torture). In Kakerlak (‘Cockroach’, 2015) he sets sails toward Denmark, but is soon the discover that life as an immigrant here is not necessarily a walk in the park. Pisket’s story may function as a very personal memoir, but it is also a tale about social outsiders and a testament of the lives of immigrants in Copenhagen. Our main character turns to the criminal underworld, which causes him to alienate from his family. But the family is also his only lifeline to the “real” world in this new country and therefore ultimately ends up being his resolution in Dansker (‘Dane’, 2016). Parts of the trilogy has been translated into Dutch and French.
As the attentive reader might notice, Pisket finished this work in just three years – an accomplishment that rewarded him with the National Arts Foundations three-year work grant together with his peer, Rikke Villadsen, as the first comic artists ever.
During the Passa Porta Festival, Pisket will be documenting the festival and act as a graphic reporter recording what he sees and experiences, alongside two other illustrators.
Dorthe Nors made her debut with the 2001 novel Soul and since then she has published numerous novels and short stories of which The Heron from 2013 was published in The New Yorker. Selected novels and short stories have been translated and sold for release in the USA, UK, Czech Republic, Germany, Romania, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Though her stories may be somewhat sombre they all have a certain amount of Danish irony and humour to them. In her latest novel Mirror, Shoulder, Signal the main character, a forty something woman, is living a fiercely nonconformist life, while taking her driver’s licence, causing her much distress. Much like her character, Nors has never really gotten used to the hectic city life in Copenhagen, why she has retired to a small city in Western Jutland: I need the great sky, the horizon. I love my little country; my language is my roothold. From passaportafestival.be
Dorte Nors will take part in three events during the Passa Porta Festival: she will take part in a conversation with fellow Belgian writer Anna Luyten and an interview with Belgian musician and radio host Lies Steppe asking Nors which books, films and records she would bring to outer space. Last but not least, Nors is to participate in an event with the title “Duality – A Swinging Evening Under the Sign of Duos” alongside Halfdan Pisket and twenty other:
Writers, poets, slammers and illustrators will team up with other artists to form pairs in various rooms of the Beursschouwburg. Let yourself be surprised as you move from one room to another to see them at work. A great DJ will mix a literary playlist from 22:30. From passaportafestival.be
The Passa Porta Festival has invited hundred international writers and is estimated to attract more than 8000 visitors. Paul Auster is opening the event on March 24th.