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Yohan Shanmugaratnam opens Oslo World

We wanted to invite a personal voice who has shaped the public discourse.

Writer and journalist Yohan Shanmugaratnam will open this year's Oslo World, before the Cuban legend Omara Portuondo enters the stage in Oslo Concert Hall, Monday 31. October. This year’s Oslo World is the 29th edition of the festival, with movement as the festival theme.

Usually, we have invited politicians and representatives from the government and different organizations to deliver the opening speech. This year, we wanted to change that by inviting a personal voice who has shaped the public discourse.

Yohan Shanmugaratnam (b. 1979) is a journalist in the Norwegian daily Klassekampen, in addition to being an author. He is a remarkable writer who has made an impact with his political journalism and more personal essays concerning themes like migration, racism and class in contemporary Norway. Shanmugaratnam is by no means the only writer to do this - but he manages to get his points across in a way that makes people listen with an open mind, across different backgrounds. In his opening remarks, he will use his own experiences to address this year'syears festival theme.

His first published book, Vi puster fortsatt centered around racism and roots, and was on Aftenpostens best book list in 2020. He received the non-fiction award from Norwegian Booksellers Association in 2021 for his second book, Bruddet: Byen som ville ha brexit. Earlier this autumn, it was announced that he has written a book about the Norwegian duo Karpe. Hjertet i to - Seks måneder med Karpe will be released right before the festival, October 21.

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