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Hans Christian Andersen continues to captivate

27 MAY 2005

Australian author Bryce Courtenay will delight Canberra students with tales about master storyteller Hans Christian Andersen at the opening of a commemorative exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra next Tuesday.

Hans Christian Andersen 2005 was created by Odense City Museums to celebrate 200 years since the birth of the famous Danish writer of fairytales.

Mr Courtenay, Australia's top-selling novelist, is one of six official Australian Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors nominated during the recent visit of Danish Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.

Bryce Courtenay will open the exhibition in the Hall at 11am Tuesday, 31 May.

The exhibition documents Andersen's life from his poor childhood in Odense to world renown as a creator of books enjoyed by children of all ages - and read in more languages than any other publication than the Bible. The exhibition is on show in the Museum's Hall until 26 June.

Other special guests at the opening are:

  • the Danish consul-general, Jorgen Mollegaard
  • president of the Scandinavian Australia Association of the ACT, Birgitte Moltke
  • students from Kaleen and Campbell primary schools

'We are very pleased to play host to this exhibition - a worldwide celebration of Andersen's story,' said Museum director Craddock Morton. 'It also coincides with a month of Hans Christian Andersen activities at the Museum.'

The Museum's regular Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday storytelling sessions in June will feature some of Andersen's enduring works, including The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea and The Emperor's New Clothes. The free storytelling takes place in the Boab Tree at 10am on Wednesdays (for the under-fives) and 11am on weekends.

Children are invited to join craft activities from 10.45am on 1 and 15 June, with free face painting and paper cutting. Hans Christian Andersen was a master of paper cutting, often accompanying a public performance of the art with storytelling, then unfolding the paper - to his listeners' amazement.

The Museum will also screen the 1952 musical Hans Christian Andersen, nominated for six Academy Awards, at 2pm on 12 June.

For interviews, images or more information please contact Sandy Forbes on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or Leanda Coleman on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or email media@nma.gov.au