First BookBar at Magasinet, Falun: Journalism and Authorship in Focus

Where is the line drawn between entertainment and journalism? What level of dramatic storytelling does a narrative that serves as a documentary allow? Such were the questions in discussion at the first BookBar.

The two authors and the chief editor on the stage with a projected image showing the words BOOKBAR behind them.
The Chief Editor and Two Authors

On Thursday, October 26, it was time to premiere the new concept BookBar at the bar and restaurant venue Magasinet in Falun. The event is a collaborative concept involving Dalarna University and Dalarnas Tidningar, the local press. The plan is to make this a recurrent event, where authorship and journalism combine to become an evening out for the audience in attendance.

Fronting the premiere were the Norwegian journalists and authors Eskil Engdal and Kjetil Saeter, who talked about the publication of their internationally recognised book Jakten på Thunder (Catching Thunder). Chief Editor Carl-Johan Bergman from Dalarnas Tidningar was invited to interview the two authors in front of an audience of about 50 .

The book is a true story about how the controversial environmental organisation Sea Shepherd spent 100 days hunting the unknown illegal fishing ship Thunder in the waters off Antarctica. The authors described the events as well as the work involved writing and publishing the book. Engdal and Saeter stated that the genre of their book - which they term True Crime - is on the upswing and that this form of journalism is likely here to stay.

To conclude the discussion, Marit Stub Nybelius, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Dalarna University, was welcomed to the stage. She talked about the line between journalism and entertainment, and the fact that the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, in its review of the book, talked about the difficulty between knowing what was fiction and what was documentary. Saeter then stated that this discussion had not been had in Norway, where both he and Engdal are well-known journalists and where their readership knows them to be reliable and objective.

The evening itself concluded with the host, Magdalena Omne, putting the question to the audience about the format of the evening - that being, to be invited to evenings where a book is the central discussion point - and whether such evenings have a future. She was met by a resounding "Ja".

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