Foreningen Ordkraft

Cassandra Marie Geyti Sørensen (Aalborg), mellem Billie Meredith og Safwat El-Sanossi (begge fra Manchester). John Rylands Library, Manchester.
Foto: Cassandra Marie Geyti Sørensen (Aalborg, DK) between Billie Meredith and Safwat El-Sanossi (both from Manchester). John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK.

Cities Untold - So Far (ENG)

15. 11. 2022

Young authors change perceptions – also of their own background. Literary collaboration between the literature festivals in Manchester (UK), Aarhus (DK) and Aalborg (DK) leaves its marks.

 Danish version.

Cassandra Marie Geyti Sørensen originates from Aalborg, but lives today in Aarhus, where she studies Comparative Literature. And then she is one of six young authors participating in 'Cities Untold', a collaboration between the literature festivals ‘Manchester Literature Festival’, LiteratureXchange in Aarhus (DK) and Ordkraft in Aalborg (DK).

As part of the project, the young authors in turns are hosts for the others, when they visit the three host cities. During these visits, they collect material in the form of "secrets" - both the big common ones and the more private ones, which citizens, e.g. in Aalborg have been able to send anonymously, either digitally or dropped in the mailbox at the Main Public Library. Subsequently, the many "secrets" will be transformed into fiction, before they - in collaboration with director Nicole May from the Manchester based literature and performance arts charity "Young Identity" - are presented to the audience at the three festivals; “Ordkraft” in Aalborg in April, “LiteratureXchange” in Aarhus in June and “Manchester Literature Festival” in October 2023.

Nostalgia in Aalborg

When Cassandra in September 2022 hosted the group's visit to Aalborg, she changed her view on her own hometown: - In order to be able to show it to others, I suddenly had to relate to my native city in a brand new way. I actually became quite nostalgic and fond of it.

- It surprised me how attached I really am to the city I grew up in. And I think the space we created together was really inspiring and safe.

In addition to Cassandra also Silas Toft Poulsen from Aalborg participates in the project.


Architecture in Aarhus

In Aarhus, Marie Laurberg Nielsen and Selina Rom Andersen had the hosting role.

- The initial walk in Aarhus was exciting. In general, I think the architectural structures around in Aarhus surprised me more than anything else. Today I live in the city myself but had not yet visited Aarhus Ø [an urban area undergoing renewal, which is known for eye-catching and modern buildings such as the cultural center Dokk1]. It was a pretty wild experience, Cassandra Marie Geyti Sørensen says.

Secrets of the cities

Secrets are the perfect focal point because they are part of life at all ages, but perhaps especially something that occupies everyday life of young people. During this period of life, you are often extra unsure of yourself, and may keep one kind of secret from your friends, while you keep something else secret from your family.

Hence the noble task of Cities Untold is to tell why you become less alone when you tell someone your secrets. At the same time, it is healthy and noy unusual to discover that you have secrets in common with others. In this way, Cities Untold helps to focus on how literature can create communities among young people across both social background and nationality.

Contrasts in Manchester

In October, the destination was Manchester, where the group's British participants, Billie Meredith and Safwat El-Sanossi, were hosts. Here, Cassandra Marie Geyti Sørensen was surprised by how compact the city center is:

- We lived right next to St. Peter's Square, where trams run past Manchester Central Library. The city is full of contrasts; old buildings and skyscrapers, industry and a vibrant art environment. Castlefield Viaduct embraces the city’s contrast with its disused railway covered in cracked leaded paint - some of the most toxic you can find – up against the new beautiful gardens.


- Also the city libraries are beautiful. They are vibrant and alive, but at the same time they boast a museum-like function and atmosphere, Cassandra concludes. Like her colleagues she thoroughly has filled her notebook and phone with secrets, photos and impressions, which will now be transformed into the works shown later this year in the three cities’ literature festivals.

Cities Untold is a collaboration between Manchester Literature Festival (UK), Young Identity (UK), LiteratureXchange (DK) and Ordkraft (DK). The project is supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Arts Foundation, Aarhus Municipality (DK), Aalborg Municipality (DK) and Manchester City Council (UK).

Read more about Cities Untold and the Manchester collaboration [Text in Danish].