Norway to digitise Nigerian literature

The National Library of Norway said Monday it would digitise literature from Nigeria following a seemingly unprecedented agreement which organisers hope will lead to an "African digital library".

Norway to digitise Nigerian literature
National Library of Norway director Aslak Sira Myhre. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix

In the northern Norwegian town of Mo i Rana, at the rim of the Arctic Circle, the National Library of Norway plans to digitise part of its Nigerian counterpart's collection.

The library's public division is located in the capital Oslo.

“Our goal is for this project to serve as a model for other countries, and that we can help create a fully-fledged African digital library,” the Norwegian library's director Aslak Sira Myhre said in a statement.

The agreement, which is to be signed on June 10 in Abuja, will initially cover works written in the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages, the library said.

The costs will be shared, with the library in Nigeria responsible for collecting the works and the Norwegian one for carrying out the digitisation, with the transport covered by the Norwegian embassy in Nigeria.

“The project has not been launched because the National Library wants to provide foreign development aid but because it enables us to enlarge our foreign language library, so this becomes a win-win project for us and Nigeria,” a spokeswoman for the Norwegian library, Nina Braein, told AFP.

The National Library of Norway made headlines in 2014 when it announced it was putting virtually all Norwegian literature published before 2001 online and available free of charge, thanks to a pioneering agreement with rights holders on the thorny issue of royalties.

The digitisation of Norwegian works is expected to be completed this year.

READ ALSO: Norway for bookworms: A short travel guide for literature lovers


Norwegian author writes book for release in 100 years

Author Karl Ove Knausgård, one of the biggest names in Norwegian literature, has written a book which will stay under wraps for the next century.

Norwegian author writes book for release in 100 years
Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård addresses the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 15th. Photo: AFP

Knausgård has written the secretive manuscript for the Future Library project, NRK reports.

The concept involves an annual contribution by a chosen author of a text for release 100 years later.

Founded in 2014, the library’s first book will become available to the public in 2114. The books are made from trees planted in a Norwegian forest for the purpose of printing volumes for the library.

Knausgård is primarily known for his multi-volume, autobiographical novel My Struggle (Min Kamp), which has been published in over 30 languages.

The selection of Knausgård by Future Library was announced at the 2019 Book Fair in German city Frankfurt on Sunday, NRK writes.

“The first time I heard about Future Library I thought it was a fantastic idea and a very interesting artistic project,” Knausgård told the broadcaster.

“So I was particularly happy to be given the chance to be part of the project,” he said.

Other authors already part of the Future Library collection include Canadian Margaret Atwood, writer of 1985 dystopian novel and recent HBO television adaptation The Handmaid’s Tale.

Meanwhile, shooting of a Netflix film revolving around the Norwegian author has been cancelled, according to Denmark's public service broadcaster DR.

The film, which would have starred Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Cannibal, A Royal Affair, Valhalla Rising) as Knausgård, was stopped on the author’s decision, according to DR’s report.

READ ALSO: Future Library: 22nd century library grows in Norwegian wood