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The Literature Train - Berliner Hauptbahnhof

Speech given by Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess on the platform at Berliner Hauptbahnhof 14 october 2019.

Mr Lutz,
Friends of literature,

Thank you so much for the warm welcome here at Berliner Hauptbahnhof!

Norway is Guest of Honour at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. This gives us a great opportunity to showcase Norwegian literature – on a literature train.

Dear pupils, I am so glad that you would like to join me for a while on this trip today!

Every year since 2014, I have taken great books and authors on a train trip through different parts of Norway. Bringing the Literature Train to Germany is a dream come true. So, Mr. Lutz and your team in Deutsche Bahn: Thank you all for embracing this ambitious – and maybe slightly crazy idea. The Literature Train will run from Berlin, via Cologne, to Frankfurt. It will present Norwegian books and authors, and hopefully, spark the joy of reading.

I love discussing books with others, especially with young people. Why do you like this book or that writer? On these trips with the train, many young people have shared their favourite books with me. Some say they like books because reading can be fun, and you can learn something. Many of us have experienced that literature might help us in the search for answers to the big questions: Like, "who am I", or "what is the point of everything?" When we read, we can learn a lot about the world, about the society we live in, about others and about ourselves. Books are great companions on the path of life.

Norwegian literature for children and young people is often bold and daring. Our authors are not afraid to bring up difficult issues – and entertain their readers at the same time. Therefore, I am proud and grateful that some of our very best writers and illustrators of books for children and young people could travel with us on this first day of our literature train journey. Jostein Gaarder and Maria Parr will read from their books and discuss them with you. And artists Anna Fiske and Svein Nyhus will invite you to join them on an illustration workshop on the train. I hope you will enjoy it!

Sharing the joy of literature is important. Literature provides us with a unique starting point for dialogue and mutual understanding. A literature train can be a wonderful green vessel – a room of our own to meet and to talk about the books that mean something to us.

Thank you, and welcome aboard!  



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