Monday, October 13, 2003

Living narratives
From my email this week-end, a little something for the Norwegian language readers out there: Levende fortellinger. It is a multi-thread story where the readers can write their own suggestions for how things will go.

This is reminiscent of the books that used to be published each year when I was a child: Barnetimeboka. There is this program on Norwegian National Radio NRK every Saturday at 5 pm, called Barnetimen or "children's hour". It is a program directed at children from I guess 7 and upwards, and the main event was the drama, the radio play, acted out in the last part of the show. I heard several children's and youth classics acted out through this: 101 Dalmatians is just one of them.

Barnetimen also organised the writing of a book each year. An author would write the first chapter. This chapter would be read in the program, and children would be encouraged to write the next chapter or to make drawings. I don't remember the time intervals, but the book would develop like this: each time they had decided which contribution would go into the book they would read it in the show, and they would ask for more: what happens next? The books developed like that, and interestingly enough, this being Norway with two official Norwegian languages, it would be written in both, depending on what the contributors - the children - used for each cotnributions. We couldn't see the drawings on the radio of course (despite pictures occasionally being better in the radio), but the book would be filled with drawings and water-colour paintings, strong, bold colours for a complex text, written through a whole year by Norwegian children. The book has been written each year for 50 years. The income from the sale of this book goes to charities supporting children.

Some of these books became quite famous, such as Petter Frå Ruskøy (1957) which was used later for the manuscript for the film.,

Today, Barnetimeboka 2003 has its own web-page, of course.

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