Norway 2017: Libraries, Literature and a Crown Princess Who Loves Books

My visit to Oslo was remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which was the unprecedented pleasantness in the weather (at least according to my host Camilla Houeland and my Instagram-turned-real life friend, Angelique Culvin).

It stayed bright and sunny while I was in the city, with the skies being polite enough to hold the snow until the two days when I was far away in Mo i Rana.

I spent most of my stay in or around the National Library of Norway, where I was given a walk-through of their awe-inspiring digitisation process by the Director and National Librarian, Aslak Sira Myhre. But the highlight of my trip was easily getting to meet Crown Princess Mette-Marit .

I was introduced to the future Queen at the NORLA conference, where the Norwegian literary community discussed plans for their role of Guest Nation at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019. I was thrilled when HRH spared a few moments to discuss with me, highlighting that we have writing and feminism in common, as well as the fact that that she was also a single mother before joining the Norwegian aristocracy.

I also met the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Laila Bokhari, who was incredibly gracious (and probably has the best sense of humour in the entire Norwegian government).

My deepest thanks go to Jens-Petter Kjemprud, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, and Gunnar Zachrisen of Bistandsaktuelt, for the opportunity.

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