New anthology of texts about 22 July

October 30 2020

Next year marks a decade the terrorist attacks on 22 July 2011. In commemoration, Fritt Ord and the Association Read! are working together to make a free anthology featuring excerpts from books about 22 July.

The book “22 July (a selection of texts)” targets upper secondary school pupils, but can be read by anyone. The collection of texts paints a picture of the terrorist attacks that took place nearly 10 years ago. The book (in Norwegian) can be downloaded as an e-book from the website frittordkonkurransen.no and here.

“The goal has been to assemble a selection of texts that gives a picture of the terrorist attacks, the reactions, the trial, and of being an outsider, as well as of the extremism that led to the wrongdoings. We have collected a variety of material, including both factual prose and fiction”, write the editors in the preface.

The books included in the anthology. Illustration: The Association !read
The books included in the anthology. Illustration: The Association !read

There are numerous reasons to reflect on the events of 22 July 2011, but we see that many young people have questions about what happened and why. In the preface, the editors address the upper secondary classes that will be using the book for school assignments.

“Those in upper secondary school today were in early primary school when the terrorist attacks took place. You may have been shielded from the vast number of media headlines in the days following, so perhaps you remember little or nothing, despite the fact that the events have left a stamp on the community around you today. For you and upcoming generations to learn more about the terrorist attacks, society needs a steady stream of new perspectives on the events and on the topic in general. New stories and analyses help us to understand the terror and put it into context, countering conspiracy theories and giving us a better understanding of the potential results of extreme ideologies. In so doing, we can learn from what happened.

Further, they write: "Through this selection of texts, we seek to show how the books represent different angles and perspectives on a formidable and dark complex of issues, and we aspire to demonstrate that exploring them is informative and meaningful. We have opted to omit familiar quotes, poems and lyrics. We are of the opinion that books, regardless of how grim their message, can afford us their own brand of tranquillity and rhythm, which are valuable tools for dealing with this topic in general.

22. juli utøya
On 22 – 23 October, Fritt Ord and the National Association for Norwegian Teaching organised a seminar on Utøya Island for teachers. Photo: Fritt Ord

About the project

The editorial board consists of Silje Tretvoll and Troels Posselt from the Association !read and Joakim Lie and Anne-Lise Sognnes from the Fritt Ord Foundation.

The Association !read works to encourage reading in all strata of society, and to promote literature for children, young people and adults. Since 2004, “Pure text”, an annual anthology featuring contemporary Norwegian and translated fiction and factual prose has been compiled, then published for upper secondary school pupils.

The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression, public debate, art and culture. Each year, Fritt Ord organises a competition, inviting upper secondary school pupils to submit entries about freedom of expression and democracy. The topic for the competition in the 2020-2021 school year is the events of 22 July.