Author Johanna Förster discussed The Circus of Dreams at the LANU! Children’s and YA literature festival

Author Johanna Förster, who debuted with The Circus of Dreams this spring, participated in a literature panel during the LANU! Children’s and YA literature festival in Helsinki.

The LANU! Festival banner

The topic of the panel was “Fantasy of Alternative Realities”, and Johanna Förster discussed the dystopic future she built for The Circus of Dreams. The conversation, where Johanna Förster discussed with fellow author Niklas Ahnberg, gave her a chance to discuss The Circus of Dreams, which has been welcomed with brilliant reviews on Finnish media.

Recording of the panel at LANU! Literature Festival, featuring author Johanna Förster and fellow author Niklas Ahnberg (in Finnish)

In The Circus of Dreams it is a near future, and we follow seventeen-year-old Juuli. On her way to work, Juuli happens upon a fox in the street. Following behind it is a Watcher, who luckily doesn’t notice her helping the fox escape. The everyday world becomes strangely fractured when the same fox, Eduardo Silver, starts appearing in Juuli’s dreams. In them, she’s in a circus. But are her dreams really dreams?

The Circus of Dreams (Unien sirkus, 2024)

Around this same time, Juuli befriends the street artist and activist Niko, his sister Nini and his old friend Iida. For a while, everything feels new and full of possibilities, but then something terrible happens. Juuli sets out to find her friends, crossing a continent that has changed in peculiar ways. While on her journey she returns to forgotten childhood memories of a circus that was destroyed in a fire. She embarks on an amazing adventure where she meets her own self, her missing father, and events from the past. This multilayered story transports readers to the totalitarian Europe of the recent future, to a magical parallel world, and into Juuli’s memories. These are woven together to form a place where the falsehood of a restrictive environment is juxtaposed against joy and imagination.

Way to go for this amazing YA title and author Johanna Förster!