The House of Literature
In 2005, the Fritt Ord Foundation took the initiative to establish Norway’s first house of literature, patterned after similar institutions in Europe.
One of the main ideas behind the facility was to give literature a new arena in Norway. The House of Literature in Oslo is operated by the House of Literature Foundation, and is located at Wergelandsveien 29 in Oslo.
Wergelandsveien 29 was designed by the architect Henry Fearnley Coll and built for the Oslo Teachers’ College in 1932. The Fritt Ord Foundation financed and was the contractor for adapting the building to accommodate the House of Literature in 2006–2007, and the House of Literature was opened to the public on 5 October 2007. The building is run by the independent House of Literature Foundation, which was established by the Fritt Ord Foundation in 2006. The House of Literature Foundation receives an annual contribution for operating expenses, and is responsible for day-to-day operations, publicity and programming.
The House of Literature has 3500 m2 of floor space, and houses auditoriums, a bookstore, a cafe, showrooms and seminar rooms. The building is appropriate for a wide variety of activities, including meetings with authors, discussion fora, concerts, exhibitions, writing courses and school visits. The House of Literature had 240 000 visitors in its first year of operation, and 76 000 individuals took part in more than 670 events.
It is the Freedom of Expression Foundation’s hope that the House of Literature will serve as a meeting place for all those who are interested in literature – readers, writers, students, pupils and people in the book industry, and that this cultural institution will provide inspiration for debates and promote interest in literary fiction and non-fiction alike.