Keynote presentation 1:
Language and Identity
by Sigrid Combüchen
Abstract: In almost faraway times we discussed Marshall MacLuhan at dinner parties. Few having actually read him, the topic stayed simple: connection, or rather identification between medium and message. Media being quite few in comparison with what’s going on at present, our worries were limited to the “truth” in documentary fiction or how a strong medium may distort facts mainly by its power of popular appeal. One medium was omitted from discussion though – the one we were presently using: language.
Writing fiction, or even nonfictional literary text, you become ever more aware of how language is a chorus of voices, mannerisms, tunes, dialects and languages cohabiting with other languages. Being bi-lingual from childhood (german/swedish), with a third language in the family spoken by my parents (russian), I must have grasped the multifaceted ability of the tongue at an early age. As a writer I consequently assumed an almost unintentional way of mixing languages and dialects and “stretching” proper Swedish outside itself. Writing is listening, not just to verbal contents, but also to manner of speaking, the song of talk, shifty nuances – and even speechlessness. Observing my own books from the perspective of language as a medium, I find a voice of voices converging into the narrative.
About the speaker: Sigrid Combüchen is an acclaimed Swedish novelist, essayist, literary critic and journalist. Among her awards are the Selma Lagerlöf Prize (2004) and the August Prize (2010) for the novel Spill: En damroman (Game. A Lady's novel). Since 2007 she is also an Honorary Doctorate in Literature at Lund University. Her latest book is Sidonie & Nathalie : från Limhamn till Lofoten, published in 2017.
Language: The presentation will be held in Swedish.