Molde joined ICORN in 2005 at the initiative of the Bjørnson festival and has since then been active in facilitating the professional work and development of our City of Refuge Guest Writers. The Bjørnson festival is one of Norway's most important literary festivals and takes its name from Norway's first Nobel laureate in literature, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. His great social commitment and constant struggle for the freedom of expression and other human rights constitute an important basis for the festival. The Bjørnson festival is held in early September and is complemented by year-round cultural events including literature, debates and seminars. The festival has a strong international profile and also works thematically to link up with our City of Refuge Guest Writers.
Molde is a small town in western Norway with about 25,000 inhabitants. It is the administrative centre of Møre and Romsdal county. Molde is a cultural town famous for the Molde International Jazz Festival since 1961. In 2012 a new venue, the Plassen building, was opened as a collaboration project between the regional theatre Teatret Vårt, the Møre and Romsdal arts centre, the Molde International Jazz Festival and the Bjørnson festival, with the municipal Molde Library constituting the core of the building. The Library works with the Bjørnson festival to present numerous literary programmes and debates during the year. With the venue Plassen as their starting point the City of Refuge Guest Writers have the opportunity to work across cultural borders.