2019:1&2 | 2015:1 | 2014:2 | 2014:1 | 2013:2 | 2013:1 | 2012:2 |2012:1 | 2011:2 | 2011:1 | 2010:2 | 2010:1 | 2009:2 | 2009:1

More news from the Swedish literary translation world can be found on the SELTA website at

From the 2019:1&2 issue

Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation 2018

The triennial Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation 2018 has been awarded to Frank Perry for his translation of Bret Easton Ellis and the Other Dogs by Lina Wolff (And Other Stories). Deborah Bragan-Turner's translation of The Parable Book by Per Olov Enquist was runner-up.

Full Details

From the 2015:1 issue

Prizes and Awards

Translator and long-serving SBR editor Dr Sarah Death has been awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star, a Swedish order of chivalry awarded to foreigners deemed to have made a particular contribution to civic life. Sarah Death was awarded the order for services to Swedish literature in Britain.

Professor Helena Forsås-Scott, another SELTA member and a director of Norvik Press, has also recently been awarded a major prize: the Swedish Academy’s ‘Awards from the Academy’s Own Funds’. Helena Forsås-Scott is Emeritus Professor of Swedish and Gender Studies at UCL and Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University.

The 2014 August Prize winners were announced at a ceremony in Stockholm in November 2014. The winners were as follows: Best Swedish Fiction Book: Kristina Sandberg Livet till varje pris (Life at Any Price); Best Swedish Non-Fiction Book: Lars Lerin Naturlära (Natural Science); and Best Swedish Children’s Book: Jakob Wegelius Mördarens apa (The Murderer’s Ape).

The 2014 Nordic Council Literature Prize was awarded to Finland-Swedish writer Kjell Westö for his Hägring 38 (Mirage 38), a novel exploring a pivotal year in modern Finnish history, the year before the outbreak of the Second World War, through the eyes of the individual. The novel is to be published in English translation by MacLehose Press.

The nominees for the 2015 prize have been announced. They include four Swedish-language authors: Peter Sandström’s Transparente Blanche (Schildts & Söderströms, Finland); Therese Bohman’s Den andra kvinnan (The Other Woman) (Norstedts, Sweden); Bruno K. Öijer’s Och natten viskade Annabel Lee (And the Night Whispered Annabel Lee) (Wahlström & Widstrand, Sweden); and Karin Erlandsson’s Minkriket (Mink Kingdom) (Schildts & Söderströms, Åland Islands).

Finland-Swedish young adult fiction author Maria Turtschaninoff has won the 2014 Finlandia Junior Prize for her novel Maresi. Krönikor från röda klostret (Maresi. The Red Abbey Chronicles Part 1) (Schildts & Söderströms).

New SELTA Website

The Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association, SELTA, now has a new and improved online home. The organisation’s new website was launched at the end of 2014 and includes a number of upgraded features, including a blog and a news section.

Swedish Literature Abroad Newsletter

Since the beginning of last year, the Swedish Arts Council has published a newsletter about the Swedish literary scene and the Council’s work to promote Swedish literature abroad. The newsletter, which is aimed at a foreign audience, is sent out four times a year. Previous newsletters and instructions on how to subscribe can be found at

Compiled by Agnes Broomé and Nichola Smalley

From the 2014:2 issue

Winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has been awarded to Sweden’s Barbro Lindgren. Lindgren is the author of over a hundred books for children of all ages, including some of Sweden’s best-loved books for children.The ALMA, founded by the Swedish government in 2002, is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature.

Finland 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honour

Buchmesse visitors will be treated to a specially designed pavilion, talks and readings, and even a ‘spoken-word sauna’. Johanna Holmström, Philip Teir and Kjell Westö are among the Finland-Swedish authors taking part. Visit

SBR’s special 2013-14 issue Cool SwedishTitles from Finland is available to download as a PDF file from our website.

The 2014 Petrona Award

Linda, as in the Linda Murder (Doubleday) by Leif G W Persson, in SELTA member Neil Smith’s translation, has been awarded the 2014 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. Neil Smith was also the recipient of last year’s inaugural Petrona Award, as the translator of Liza Marklund’s Last Will (Corgi).

New Writing on Crime Fiction

Continuing the crime fiction theme, journalist Barry Forshaw’s new book Euro Noir was recently published by Pocket Essentials.The book covers crime fiction and film from across Europe, and includes the chapter ‘Scandicrime revisited’ updating his earlier books on Nordic crime writing. In one of the appendices he interviews British fiction editors about publishing translated works.

SELTA Seminar: Translating Children’s Literature

SELTA is planning an autumn seminar on the translation of Swedish children’s literature. Translators and UK publishers will come together with Swedish authors to discuss current trends and challenges in Swedish children’s and young adult literature, and take part in practical workshops.

Details will be made available at

Jonas Hassen Khemiri Play to London

A new translation by Frank Perry of Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s Vi som är hundra (The Hundred We Are) will be staged this autumn at The Yard Theatre, Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN. The play will run from 14 October to 8 November.

Readux Books/Dialogue Berlin Event

On 6 November, Dialogue Berlin will host an evening celebration of Readux Books’ Swedish Series featuring Malte Persson and Cilla Naumann at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch in London.This free event will feature readings and discussions with the authors and their translator Saskia Vogel.

From the 2014:1 issue

August Prize Winners 2013

Fiction: Egenmäktigt förfarande (Arbitrary Conduct) by Lena Andersson, Natur 
& Kultur.

Non-fiction: Expeditionen. Min kärlekshistoria (The Expedition. My Love Story) by 
Bea Uusma, Norstedts förlag.

Children and young adult category: Snöret, fågeln och jag (Beanie, the Bird and Me) 
by Ellen Karlsson and Eva Lindström, Hippo Bokförlag.

2013  also  saw  the  first  ever  August  Prize  podcasts,  in  which  the  winners 
discuss each other’s books over cake and coffee. The six podcasts are available 
(in Swedish) from the August Prize website:

Tove Jansson Centenary

2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of Tove Jansson's birth. Tove Jansson’s rich and varied output for adults and children will be celebrated throughout the year in Finland, Sweden, and around the world. There will also be a special display devoted to Jansson’s most famous creations, the Moomins, at this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Further information, and a calendar of events, can be found at

Stockholm Literature

Autumn 2013 saw the inauguration of Stockholm Literature, a new annual 
international literary festival. The festival, which takes place at Moderna Museet (Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art), features talks, readings and performances bringing together literature, art and science. This year’s festival is planned for the 24-26 October 2014. For updates visit:

New Initiatives

A range of new activities and publications demonstrate the UK's sustained interest in the literature and wider culture of Sweden and Scandinavia.

2013 saw the founding of Nordic Noir Magazine, a bi-annual magazine devoted to 
Scandinavian crime fiction. The magazine is edited by Barry Forshaw and contains 
articles, interviews and reviews written by fans and bloggers. The magazine is 
downloadable from

Following  a  successful  first  year  in  Sweden,  bilingual  literary  magazine Const 
Literary (P)review
is preparing for its UK launch. The fourth issue, which focuses 
on visual art, will be published in connection with the London Book Fair in April.

SELTA is launching a revamped website, which will include a new blog where members can post their reflections on the world of translation and Swedish literature:

The UK festival of Scandinavian culture, Nordicana, followed up on the success of its inaugural weekend last summer with a second event on 1-2 February 2014. The expo at the Old Truman Brewery focused mainly on crime fiction and films, 
but also saw exciting forays into other aspects of Nordic culture, such as the 
cuisine of the North.

From the 2013:2 issue


The 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) has been awarded to the Argentinian illustrator and author Isol. ALMA, awarded annually at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. For further information visit:

Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström and their English translator Kari Dickson have once again been shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger with their novel Two Soldiers (Quercus), the sixth instalment in the Ewert Grens series. The fifth book of the series, Three Seconds (Quercus), earned Roslund and Hellström the Dagger, which honours both authors and translators, in 2011.

Nordic Council Inaugurates New Literature Prize

The Nordic Council’s Children and Young People’s Literature Prize will be awarded for the first time in 2013, reflecting the desire of the Nordic governments to strengthen children’s and young adult literature. Shortlisted Swedish books are Vita Streck och Öjvind (White Stripes and Öjvind) by Sara Lundberg (Alfabeta) and Pojkarna (The Boys) by Jessica Schiefauer (Bonnier Carlsen).

Nominees for the Council’s Literature Prize have also been announced; Sweden is represented on the shortlist by Lars Norén with Filosofins Natt (A Night of Philosophy, Albert Bonniers Förlag) and Johannes Anyuru with En storm kom från paradiset (A Storm Blew in from Paradise, Norstedt). The winners of both awards will be revealed at the prize gala in Oslo in October. Further details at

Nordic Translation Conference at University of East Anglia

Over 100 researchers, translators, publishers, authors and members of the public gathered at the University of East Anglia for the second Nordic Translation Conference on 4-6 April 2013. The aim of the conference was to promote discussion of translation from and between the Nordic languages.

Highlights included joint bilingual readings by author/translator pairs from the Nordic countries. A book featuring papers presented at the conference, and a special journal edition, are forthcoming. More information can be found at

Granta Breaks into the Swedish Market 

British literary magazine Granta has a new international offshoot in the form of a Swedish-language edition. The magazine, published by Albert Bonniers Förlag in May 2013, features original writing in Swedish from authors such as Peter Fröberg Idling and Amanda Svensson, alongside Swedish translations of texts included in the English-language edition. 

From the 2013:1 issue

History Brought Alive: A Collaboration in Three Languages

In Torkel Wächter’s Simulated Real Time project at, authentic letters, diary entries and official documents will be published on the day on which they were written, beginning on 30 January 2013, eighty years to the day since Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The sequence ends on 2 July 2013 and charts the lives of the German-Jewish civil servant Gustav Wächter and his family in Hamburg. The documents are in German and English, with a commentary in Swedish, English and German. An extended version of the material will be available as an e-book.

Academy Dispels its Mystique?

When the world spotlight turns on the Swedish Academy one Thursday morning each autumn, its choice of winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature sometimes causes controversy, and the 2012 choice of Chinese writer Mo Yan was no exception. The Academy, meanwhile, is doing its best to dispel the secrecy that traditionally surrounds it. A new book charting the Academy’s work around the year in words and photographs will soon be available in an English version (see our Just Out & Coming Up section) and the Permanent Secretary, historian Peter Englund, now writes a regular, accessible and sometimes whimsical, blog (occasionally in English):

Shaw Prize Winners 2012

The George Bernard Shaw Prize for translation from Swedish for books published in 2010-2012 was won by Robin Fulton for his translation of Harry Martinson poems collected as Chickweed Wintergreen (Bloodaxe Books). Peter Graves was commended for his translation of The Beauty and the Sorrow by historian Peter Englund (Profile). The prize, established in 1991, is sponsored by the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation, the Embassy of Sweden and Arts Council England.

August Prize Winners 2012 

Fiction: Ett kort uppehåll på vägen från Auschwitz (A Short Stop on the Road from Auschwitz) by Göran Rosenberg, Bonniers.

Non-fiction: ‘Det står ett rum här och väntar på dig…’. Berättelsen om Raoul Wallenberg (‘There’s a Room Waiting for You Here’… The Raoul Wallenberg Story) by Ingrid Carlberg, Norstedts.

Children and young adult category: A B C å allt om D (ABC and All About D) by Nina Ulmaja, Bonnier Carlsen.

News in Brief

In October 2012 Danish/Swedish crime series The Bridge, written by Hans Rosenfeldt, Nikolaj Scherfig and company, fought off stiff competition to win the International TV Dagger Award from the UK Crime Writers’ Association.

Extranea, the National Library of Sweden blog about foreign literature, features interesting articles based on the Library’s holdings, and occasionally written in English. On 19 December 2012 the blog featured the recent Strindberg issue of SBR:
http://ul.kb. se/2012/12/att-oversatta-strindberg/

A live, all-day Swedish Storytellers webcast in English from Stockholm in November 2012 was dubbed ‘the world’s biggest book group’. Swedish authors, publishers and agents took part. Interviews, readings and discussions from the event can be viewed at:

Wallander star Krister Henriksson will be performing at Wyndhams Theatre in London 16 April to 11 May. He is to star in a one-man stage adaptation of Hjalmar Söderberg’s haunting 1905 novel, Dr Glas, which is transferring from a successful run at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre. The play will be performed in Swedish with English surtitles.

From the 2012:2 issue

Dedicated Website Strindberg 2012

The website is an impressive resource in eight languages, packed full of information. It has a fully searchable calendar of Strindberg events in Sweden and around the world in 2012. Website editor Jan Kärrö has told SBR that its future after the end of the centenary year is as yet undecided.

New Ending for Miss Julie?

Fia-Stina Sandlund’s Rädda fröken Julie (She’s Staging It) is a new feature film supported by the Swedish Film Institute featuring three actresses who meet up in New York for an 11-day workshop in which they attempt to save the heroine from the prescribed tragic suicide.

National Edition of Strindberg’s Collected Works

Norstedts’ mammoth project nears completion with publication in this centenary year of the long-anticipated Ockulta dagboken (Occult Diary), its three volumes including the first-ever full-colour facsimile. The third volume comprises an introduction by Göran Stockenström and a full, scholarly commentary by our late colleague Karin Petherick. This is a limited edition of 999 copies, surely destined to become a collectors’ item.

Classic Swedish Detective on BBC Radio

From October 2012, BBC Radio 4 will be broadcasting dramatisations of all ten novels in the Martin Beck series, written in 1965-75 by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö and said to have inspired the modern police procedural.

Congratulations to …

… MacLehose Press which now has a ‘Translators Search’ option on its website, equal in prominence to its ‘Author Search’. Also to the website of Other Press, New York, which pays as much attention to its translators as to its authors.

… author Åsa Larsson and translator Laurie Thompson, shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger 2012 for Until Thy Wrath Be Past. The prize went to The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camillieri, translated by Stephen Sartarelli.

… Swedish author and translator Gun-Britt Sundström, 2012 winner of ‘Årets översättning’, a new, annual translation prize worth 75,000 kronor, for her rendition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Stolthet och fördom).

… translator Gregory Motton, winner of the Göran O. Erikssons-stipendium, awarded in May 2012 by the Swedish Playwrights’ Union for his many drama translations into English including several Strindberg plays.

From the 2012:1 issue

Home-grown Talent at Gothenburg Book Fair

The Gothenburg Book Fair 2012 will focus on Nordic literature. Taking place this year on 27-30 September, the Fair will offer a broad programme of events in collaboration with the Nordic Council (celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012) and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Watch the programme evolve at

Moving On

Erik Titusson has left his post as head of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) to start a new publishing house for children and young people, Lilla Piratförlaget in Stockholm. He is succeeded by Helen Sigeland, who has spent many years supporting translators and Swedish literature, first at the Swedish Institute and then at the Swedish Arts Council, when it assumed responsibility for this area. Her vacated post at the Swedish Arts Council will be filled by Susanne Bergström Larsson.

Finland-Swedish Publishers Join Forces

February 2012 sees the merger – or ‘fusion’, in their own words – of the two major Finland-Swedish publishing houses Schildts and Söderströms. The new Schildts & Söderströms will employ about some forty staff.

Nordic Council Literature Prize 2012

The Swedish nominees for the shortlist this year are poet Katharina Frostenson for Flodtid (Flood Hour) Wahlström & Widstrand, reviewed in the 2012:1 issue of SBR, and Eva-Marie Liffner for a historical novel inspired by Swedish writer C.J.L. Almqvist, Lacrimosa, Natur och Kultur. One of Finland’s nominations is Finland-Swedish poet Gosta Ågren’s I det stora hela (On the Whole), Söderströms. As an autonomous area, the Swedish-speaking Åland Islands are now also entitled to nominate an entry, and have chosen Leo Löthman’s novel Transportflotte Speer, PQR-Kultur, set before and during the Second World War. The winner will be announced in Spring 2012.

The August Prizes 2011

The winner in the Fiction category was Korparna (The Crows) by Tomas Bannerhed, Weyler förlag. The novel was reviewed in SBR 2011:2. The winner in the Non-Fiction category was Och i Wienerwald står träden kvar (And in the Wienerwald the Trees Are Still There) by Elisabeth Åsbrink, Natur & Kultur, a harrowing account of a Jewish boy who fled Austria for Sweden. The Children and Young People category was won by Pojkarna (The Boys) by Jessica Schiefauer, Bonnier Carlsen, reviewed in the 2012:1 issue of SBR.

Translated Children’s Literature Prize

The latest Batchelder Honor Award (Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association) has gone to The Lily Pond, a sequel to A Faraway Island, by Swedish author Annika Thor. Both books were translated by Linda Schenck and published by Delacorte Press.

Latest News

Tomas Tranströmer awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

6 October 2011: The Swedish Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011 to the poet Tomas Tranströmer. For a biographical note on the poet, in English, see A recent Tranströmer biography and new English translations of his work are featured in the reviews section of SBR 2011:2.

From the 2011:2 issue

Centenary in SBR

Events and publications in Sweden and in the UK will mark the centenary of the death of August Strindberg. The autumn 2012 issue of SBR will be a Strindberg centenary special, with translations already planned from his letters, journalism and early work, and articles on the challenges of translating his drama and prose. The editor welcomes proposals for further submissions.

Memorable Conference

The June 2011 conference ‘Selma Lagerlöf: Text, Translation, Film’, held at University College London in association with Gothenburg and Edinburgh universities attracted researchers from the USA, UK, Sweden, and many other European countries. One of the high points was a packed screening at Bloomsbury’s Horse Hospital venue of the classic 1921 silent film of Lagerlöf’s The Phantom Carriage, with live piano music played by candlelight by Swedish composer Matti Bye. A publication is planned.

Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Nordic Culture

This major new reference work is close to completion and due to be published by Hurst Publishers, London, in 2012. With more than 1,000 entries, it will be an indispensable resource for anyone seeking information in the broad field of Nordic culture since 1945.


The winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2011 is prolific Australian illustrator and author Shaun Tan. This year, Tan also won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for ‘The Lost Thing’, based on his book of the same title. His works have been translated into more than ten languages, including Chinese.


Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström (Quercus), translated from the Swedish by Kari Dickson, has won the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger 2011.

New Swedish Fiction Book Club in London

The club has been meeting monthly since spring 2011 at Fika Swedish Bar and Grille on Brick Lane, London E1. Organised by postgraduate students from the Department of Scandinavian Studies at University College London, and partfunded by UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, the book club has so far been oversubscribed, and the discussions, on books such as Torgny Lindgren’s Hash (trans. Tom Geddes) and Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater (trans. Joan Tate) have been going from strength to strength.

Young Translators’ Initiative

University College London’s Department of Scandinavian Studies invites young, unpublished Swedish-English literary translators to join a new project that aims to bring them together and help them develop their skills through a programme of events including workshops, peer reviewing and mentoring by experienced literary translators. The work will culminate in the publication of new collaborative translations of a number of Strindberg plays during the Strindberg centenary.

To register interest and for further information, please contact Agnes Broome: a.broome[at]

More News from 2011

Selma Lagerlöf 2011: Text, Translation, Film

A major international conference, SELMA LAGERLÖF 2011: TEXT, TRANSLATION, FILM, will take place at University College London, 20-22 June 2011.

The conference is hosted by the Department of Scandinavian Studies at UCL in conjunction with the Division of European Languages and Cultures (Scandinavian Studies) at the University of Edinburgh and the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Göteborg. The conference will mark the publication of the first three volumes in the new series 'Lagerlöf in English', published by Norvik Press, London, and will be the first international gathering of Lagerlöf scholars in well over a decade. The organisers hope the conference will contribute to raising Selma Lagerlöf's international profile and to the repositioning of her work in a global context.

The programme will include a plenary lecture on translation followed by a panel debate, a film evening including a screening of The Phantom Carriage, a plenary lecture focusing on the new Selma Lagerlöf Archive, and around 30 papers.

N.B. The start time on 20 June will be 13.30 or 14.00, not 17.00 as currently indicated in draft programme.

To register, go to:


Tom Geddes’ translation of Per Wästberg’s Sparrmans resa (The Journey of Anders Sparrman, Granta), which recently reached the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Award 2010, has now been shortlisted for the Oxford Weidenfeld Prize.

The winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2011 is illustrator and author Shaun Tan from Australia, born in 1974. Shaun Tan has illustrated more than 20 books, notably The Rabbits (1998), The Lost Thing (2000), The Red Tree (2001), The Arrival (2006) and Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008). His works have been translated into more than 10 languages, including German, Swedish, Spanish and Chinese. More details at

From the 2011:1 issue

Time Out Tips Khemiri

Four stars from London listings magazine Time Out in February 2011 for Jonas Hassen Khemiri’ s play Invasion! in Frank Perry’s translation. This ‘sassy, street-smart production about Muslim identity’ got the thumbs up as ‘a cracking debut from Tooting Arts Company - a fringe production of the first order’.

Selma By Design

Students of Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm will provide the cover designs for three Selma Lagerlöf titles to be published by Norvik Press in the summer of 2011: a revised edition of The Löwensköld Ring (translated by Linda Schenck); and new translations of Körkarlen (Peter Graves) and Herr Arnes penningar (Sarah Death).

Nordic Crime Fiction Under the Magnifying Glass

University College London’s first Nordic Noir Book Club event was a sellout in February when author Håkan Nesser joined Francis Hopkinson of Left Bank Pictures and an eager audience to consider the role of landscape in Swedish crime fiction, including TV adaptations and book cover design.

Scandinavian Crime Fiction, edited by Andrew Mestingen and Paula Arvas, (University of Wales Press, 2011) is a collection of essays on topics including ‘Dirty Harry in the Swedish Welfare State’, the place of pessimism in the Kurt Wallander series, and ‘Swedish Queens of Crime: the art of Self-Promotion’ (on Liza Marklund and Camilla Läckberg).

Palgrave Macmillan Crime Files series will publish its Scandinavian volume in autumn 2011 (title to be confirmed). The author, crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw, will examine the massive appeal of the field, and interview key authors, translators and publishers.


NICE (Nordic Intercultural Creative Events) is an annual festival in the North West of England. Its main programme is in November-December, with satellite events throughout the year in design, literature, visual arts, film, architecture and more.

Camilla Läckberg will be at the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, 21-24 July 2011. She will appear with Sophie Hannah and Tana French in a panel discussion on the fascination of the psychological thriller.

Invitees to the 2011 Edinburgh International Book Festival include multiprizewinning Swedish author Steve Sem-Sandberg, whose The Emperor of Lies is published by Faber & Faber in July.

From the 2010:2 issue

Dagger Double for Johan Theorin

The 2010 Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger Award for translated crime fiction 2010 has gone to writer/translator team Johan Theorin and Marlaine Delargy for The Darkest Room (Doubleday).

This follows last year’s win in the New Blood Dagger category for any debut crime novel. Theorin won with the earlier volume in his series set on the island of Öland, Echoes From The Dead, again in Marlaine Delargy’s translation.

The other Nordic titles shortlisted for the International Dagger 2010 were The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland (MacLehose Press) and Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indriðason, translated by Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker).

Nordic Noir - Scandinavian Crime Book Club

A series of events coordinated by University College London, January to April 2011. Join and meet other Scandinavian-crime lovers in London, authors, translators and specialists in Scandinavian languages, literature, history and cultures.

Scandinavian crime fiction has had an unrivalled success in the UK over the past ten years, led by internationally bestselling names like Peter Høeg, Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell. Today, crime writers from all the Nordic countries are available in translation, a rare occurrence in a British publishing market where less than 5 percent of available books are translations.

The planned events will bring crime fiction lovers, UCL researchers translators, publishers and authors together to share their knowledge of, and interest in, crime fiction and Nordic cultures. We will investigate the seemingly paradoxical popularity of violent crime fiction in countries well-known for their safe and peaceful welfare states, and explore what makes crime fiction from the Nordic countries particularly Nordic.

To be included on an email list to receive more information, and for enquiries about the project and the events, visit the website below and/or contact Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (j.stougaard-nielsen[at]

Don't Put Those Vuvuzelas Away Yet!

The 26th Gothenburg Book Fair, 23-26 September 2010, presents its widest focal theme so far: Africa and African literature. The event looks set to continue the cultural momentum generated on the sidelines of the recent World Cup, and (with any luck) to open its arms to volcanic-ash-trapped writers who could not speak as planned at the Africa-themed London Book Fair in April. More than 70 guests from 25 of the African nations are expected to visit. Speakers include Mpho Tutu Petina Gappah, Nawal El Saadawi, Nuruddin Farah and the ever-popular (in Sweden as in Britain) Alexander McCall Smith. This year’s overall programme includes 446 seminars with some 800 participants.

Selma Lagerlöf 2011: Text, Translation, Film

An international conference on the work of the Swedish Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf will be held in London on 20-22 June 2011, hosted by the Department of Scandinavian Studies at University College London, in conjunction with the Division of European Languages and Cultures (Scandinavian Studies) at the University of Edinburgh and the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion at the University of Gothenburg.

A call for papers has been issued on UCL website, where further information about the conference will be provided as it becomes available.

Historic Postcards

Ten years ago, packing cases full of letters, diaries, newspaper cuttings, photographs were discovered in an attic in Stockholm, along with a set of postcards sent from Hamburg to Sweden during World War II. 32 Postkarten retells the story of a German-Jewish family from the outbreak of the Second World War to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The authentic postcards, with English and German translations, and commentaries, are being published on the Internet from March 2010 in ‘simulated real time’ - on the date they were written, but 70 years later - at

The project has been devised and coordinated by Torkel S. Wächter, and the translators are Marlaine Delargy and Paul Berf. Given its postcard-length format, the material is well suited for the teaching of secondary and tertiary level history and German in schools. The material will remain available online well after the publication of the last postcard in December 2011.

For a press release about the project, in English, see:

Press Release (hover mouse over link to see full address)

Swedenborg Bicentenary Celebrations

The Swedenborg Society in London, established in 1810 with the main aim of translating and publishing the works of philosopher, scientist and visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), is celebrating its 200th anniversary throughout 2010. Its programme of events has featured speakers including A S Byatt, Simon Armitage, and neuroloist/writer David Eagleman. A new translation of Heaven and Hell and a complete bibliography of Swedenborg’s works have been launched. A season of films exploring Swedenborgian themes culminates in a short film festival at the end of October. In November, a conference entitled ‘Emanuel Swedenborg: Visionary Scientist, Scientific Visionary’ will take place.

Writers' and Literary Translators' International Congress 2010

Following the inaugural WALTIC meeting held in 2008 in Stockholm, the second congress convened on 2-5 September 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey. Special emphasis was given to the impact of cultural translation, and the journey of the word across borders and between cultures. Literacy, freedom of expression and authors’ rights remain key subject areas. SBR hopes translators received more attention at this congress than they did at the first.

From the 2010:1 issue

Prizewinning Translators

The Bernard Shaw Prize for translation from the Swedish for the years 2007-09 was awarded in January 2010 to Thomas Teal for his translation of Fair Play by Tove Jansson (Sort Of Books). Kjell Espmark praised the winner’s ‘subtle way of making Jansson’s delicate art shine through its English attire’. Fellow judge Andrew Brown, looking for ‘an element of real difficulty in the translation and for a rendering that was accurate as well as faithful in spirit’, found that Teal’s ‘extraordinary’ translation answered on all counts. The runner up was Tiina Nunnally for her translation of The Story of Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist (Harvill Secker). The prize, worth £2,000, is sponsored by the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation, the Embassy of Sweden and Arts Council England.

Frank Perry has received the Göran O. Eriksson Award for the translation of
Swedish drama. The award, worth 50,000 Swedish kronor, is made by Svenska Dramatikerförbundet. Frank Perry has translated many leading Swedish playwrights including Niklas Rådström, Lars Norén and Jonas Hassen Khemiri.

Peter Graves has won the Swedish Academy’s Translation Prize for 2009, and Tiina Nunnally has won the Academy’s 2009 prize for the introduction of Swedish culture abroad, which she shares with Hans-Peter and Karin Naumann.

Johan Theorin and his English translator Marlaine Delargy have won the 2009 Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for Echoes from The Dead, a novel that was in fact first introduced to the English-speaking world in an extract in SBR back in 2007. The prizewinning book, entitled Skumtimmen in the original Swedish, was also shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger.

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor, translated by Linda Schenck, won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award in the USA for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a foreign language.

The 2009 August Prize

The winner of the fiction category was De fattiga i Lodz by Steve Sem-Sandberg (Albert Bonniers förlag), a powerful collective novel about life in the Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lodz in 1941-44.

The non-fiction category was won by Att överleva dagen by Brutus Östling and Susanne Åkesson, (Östlings Bokförlag Symposion) for its world-class bird photography and informative text.

The junior August went to a non-fiction title: Skriv om och om igen by Ylva Karlsson, Katarina Kuick, Sara Lundberg och Lilian Bäckman, (XPublishing), praised as an inspirational book for all aspiring young creative writers.

The 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Kitty Crowther, the Belgian illustrator and writer, was announced as the recipent of the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

In Memoriam: Karin Petherick

We are profoundly sorry to announce to our readers the death in November 2009, at the age of 80, of Dr Karin Petherick, distinguished scholar, respected colleague and much-loved friend. A champion of this journal since its inception, Karin contributed many reviews over the years, and always went out of her way to praise and encourage its editors. She was a mainstay of the SBR Editorial Board from its formation in 1983 until early 2008, characteristically protesting throughout that she had little of value to offer.

A full obituary, published in The Times on 13 December, can be found at:

In Memoriam: John Hewish

It is with much regret that we announce the death on 13 January 2010 at the age of 88 of John Hewish, a frequent and erudite reviewer for SBR. With a degree in English from Lincoln College Oxford and an early period of his life as a journalist in Finland, he brought a valuable perspective to Swedish literature. He was the author of books on Emily Brontë, the history of patents and the nineteenth-century science collections of the British Library, where he spent the major part of his career.

From the 2009:2 issue

Meeting Sweden in Edinburgh

August 2009 saw the largest concerted Swedish participation in the Edinburgh International Book Festival, thanks to the efforts of the Swedish Embassy in London and the Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet). Eight authors - Henning Mankell, Annika Thor, Eva Runefelt, Per Wästberg, Johannes Anyuru, Klas Östergren, Marjaneh Bakhtiari and Fredrik Sjöberg (in order of appearance) - took part in readings and discussion of their work. All but the crowd-pulling Mankell were paired with a British counterpart for their sessions, leading to some fascinating conversations about the nature of cultural specificity, internationalism, and the status of writers in Britain and Sweden. The fact that such luminaries of the British literary scene as Anne Fine, Michael Symmons Roberts, Nadeem Aslam, Sir Michael Holroyd, John Burnside, Roma Tearne and Adam Foulds were happy to appear alongside Swedish writers suggests a genuine interest in contemporary literature from Sweden.

A companion volume to Swedish Book Review, entitled Literary Dialogues: Contemporary Swedish Writing in English, containing translated excerpts of the work of the visiting authors, was published to coincide with the Festival. Readers interested in obtaining a copy should contact:[at]

Spotlight on Selma

Two London events mark the centenary of Selma Lagerlöf’s Nobel Prize for Literature. On 5 November, Dr Helena Forsås-Scott gives a free lunch-hour lecture, ‘The Power of Lagerlöf’, at University College London. The lecture will be available to watch online from seven days after the event.

For details visit:

A number of vintage films based on Lagerlöf’s works will be screened later in the autumn. For date and venue, check the Embassy of Sweden’s home page:

In the USA, Penguin has just published Paul Norlen’s new translation of The Saga of Gösta Berling, with an introduction by George C. Schoolfield (for details see our Just Out and Coming Up section). For copyright reasons, this cannot be sold in the EU until 2011.

Reading Round the World

This programme of children’s events is the brainchild of the organisation Outside In (established 2007), which is bringing international authors and illustrators to the UK during 2009 to join translators and others in interactive events exploring books from all over the world, particularly children’s books in translation. May saw a visit by Swedish children’s author Anders Brundin, whose Dudley the Daydreamer, illustrated by Joanna Rubin Dranger, was published by Winged Chariot Press. He led children’s events at British Airways Community Learning Centre (in the flight simulator!) and at Folkestone libraries, to coincide with Winged Chariot’s ‘Picturing Europe’, a 3D exhibition of children’s illustrators from across Europe that was touring Kent.

In October, award-winning Ulf Stark and his translator and publisher Julia Marshall will be ‘In Conversation’ with Wendy Cooling at the Swedish Embassy in London, and visit Bromley Central Library to meet children from local ‘Chatterbook’ groups.

‘Reading Round the World’ is Outside In’s first national project:

All Go On the Eastern Front

The latest issue of literary journal 00-TAL, number 29/2009, is a Finland-Swedish special. Mainland Swedish critics, writes Madeleine Grive in her editorial (title as above), too often unjustly ignore the literary scene of their easterly neighbours, which has flourished in recent years. Contents include extracts from new and forthcoming works by Monika Fagerholm, Robert Åsbacka and Malin Kivelä. Merete Mazarella argues in an article that Finland-Swedish literature has drawn strength from its minority position; Fagerholm, Kjell Westö, Tuija Lindström, Ralf Andtbacka and others are interviewed or profiled by leading literary names from Sweden.

Finland-Swedish writers have also featured in our sister publication, the now online Books from Finland Items have included poetry by Claes Andersson and the correspondence of Hagar Olsson and Edit Södergran.

Sweden, meanwhile, is the focus country of the Helsinki Book Fair, 22-25 October 2009:

New Handbook for Literary Translators and Editors

Translation in Practice: A Symposium, published in May 2009 by Dalkey Archive Press and edited by Gill Paul, is a very useful, 74-page guide to best practice, based on discussions at a forum held in London in 2008. It takes a positive, practical approach and covers such issues as: how editors choose translators, negotiating contracts; establishing boundaries; translation problem areas such as dialect, colloquialisms, humour, culture-specific references and transatlantic compromises; and what makes a good editor. It looks set to become essential reading for experienced and aspiring literary translators alike, and their editors, we hope.

Crazy for Crime

Three of the six novels shortlisted for the Crime Writer’s Assocation International Dagger Award 2009 were Swedish: Karin Alvtegen’s Shadow, translated by McKinley Burnett, (Canongate); Stieg Larsson’s The Girl wh Played with Fire, translated by Reg Keeland (MacLehose Quercus); and Johan Theorin’s Echoes from the Dead, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Doubleday). The prize was won for the fourth time by the team of France’s Fred Vargas and her translator Siân Reynolds for The Chalk Circle Man (Harvill Secker).

Swedish film production company Yellow Bird recently announced that it is has acquired the film rights to six of Liza Marklund’s books featuring criminal reporter Annika Bengtzon. The company is currently producing six TV films and one feature film in Swedish based on Stieg Larsson’s critically acclaimed Millennium trilogy, as well as 13 new Swedish movies about Henning Mankell’s criminal inspector Wallander. Previous productions include adaptations of works by Helene Tursten and Norwegian bestseller Anne Holt, as well as co-production of the BBC series Wallander, starring Kenneth Branagh.

Dan Brown’s new thriller The Lost Symbol is to be speed-translated into Swedish by six translators working simultaneously, each allocated a hundred pages. The Swedish edition is due to be published by Albert Bonniers förlag only a month after publication of the book by Random House, but fear of pirate editions meant that no one was allowed pre-publication sight of the text. (Source: Dagens nyheter and

From the 2009:1 issue

New Swedish Titles 2008

The latest edition of this useful survey of new work by noteworthy Swedish authors is available on the Swedish Arts Council's website ­ Select "English" at the top of the screen, go to "Publications" and click on "New Swedish Titles". A printed version of the 24-page survey can be ordered there, and it can also be downloaded as a pdf file. The 2008 survey was written by Ulrika Knutson. A junior book survey compiled for the Bologna Book Fair, "New Swedish Books for Young Readers" will also be available in due course.

New Plays in London

Niklas Rådström's Monsters, a hard-hitting play about the murder of toddler James Bulger, will run from 6-30 May 2009 in a translation by Gabriella Berggren. The play is directed by Christopher Haydon and presented by Strawberry Vale Productions at the Arcola Theatre. Despite the fact that the play has yet to be performed, it is already proving controversial. Jonas Hassen Khemiri's first play Invasion! enjoyed its UK premiere and a threeweek run at the Soho Theatre in March 2009. The play was translated by Frank Perry and directed by Lucy Kerbel, who was selected by a panel chaired by the playwright as winner of the Young Angels Theatremakers Award 2008. Invasion! deals with the lives of young immigrants in the Swedish capital Stockholm, and was a sell out there for two years. It deploys comedy to assault our deepest prejudices about identity, race and language.

Swedish Writers in Edinburgh

No less than eight Swedish authors will take part in the 2009 Edinburgh International Book Festival, to be held on 15-31 August 2009. The visiting authors, who will be paired with British writers for the occasion, are: Swedish-Ugandan poet Johannes Anyuru; Iranian-born Malmö novelist Marjaneh Bakhtiari; top crime writer Henning Mankell; Stockholm poet and writer Eva Runefelt; biologist, writer and art collector Fredrik Sjöberg; prizewinning writer of novels for young people Annika Thor; novelist Per Wästberg, whose latest novel Anders Sparrmans resa is to be published in English by Granta in 2010; and novelist Klas Östergren, published in the UK by Canongate and the USA by MacAdam Cage.

Books from Finland magazine, which also covers Finland-Swedish writing, has converted to electronic publication after 42 years in print. The website will be officially unveiled at the London Book Fair in April 2009, but the material already posted gives a taste of what will follow. New articles will be added continuously, and interested readers can also sign up to receive an electronic newsletter. The site also has an impressively large archive based on online back issues.


The Swedish Publishers' Association awards the prestigious August Prize in three categories, each worth 100,000 Swedish kronor.The fiction prize went to Per Olov Enquist's "literary autobiography" Ett annat liv (Norstedts Förlag; see review on pages 77-79 of this issue).The winner was chosen from a shortlist of five, which unusually included three volumes of poetry.The non-fiction prize went to Regi Bergman by Paul Duncan & Bengt Wanselius (Bokförlaget Max Ström), now been published in English as The Ingmar Bergman Archives (Taschen).The winner of the prize for writing for children and young people was Legenden om Sally Jones by Jakob Wegelius (Bonnier Carlsen Bokförlag). Stieg Larsson's Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, translated by Reg Keeland and published by McLehose Press, has won the Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year award at the Galaxy British Book Awards.

London Highlights of Swedish EU Presidency 2009

The Embassy of Sweden in London joins forces with the City of London Festival ( and other partners for a programme including many cultural events. July's gala opening and concert at the Guildhall will feature the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and trombonist Christian Lindberg. Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame) and his Orchestra will entertain visitors to a Family Fun Day on Hampstead Heath with an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, pop and dance music. Other events include a major Ingmar Bergman film season at the Barbican and the "Visual Voltage" exhibition, presenting a green view of energy from an art and design perspective.

Centenary of Selma Lagerlöf's Nobel Prize

Events are planned in London for autumn 2009, including a screening of one of the films based on the author's books. Details will be available at the Swedish Embassy website: Norvik Press plans to publish new translations of a number of Selma Lagerlöf works in 2011.

Moomins (1)

The first author featured in Waterstones Bookshops' "Writer's Table" promotion was Philip Pullman, whose book selection in the autumn of 2008 included Tove Jansson's Finn Family Moomintroll. First published in Finland as Trollkarlens hatt in 1948, the book appeared in English in 1961, in a translation by Elizabeth Portch. The Puffin edition currently in print, and included in Philip Pullman's literary smörgåsbord, comes with Tove Jansson's own cover design and illustrations.

Moomins (2)

Puffin has signed a deal with Moomin Characters (MD Roleff Kråkström) for a series of new Moomin books over a number of years, with "completely new texts and illustrations", for a record sum between a Finnish and a foreign publisher. The first titles are due in 2010, timed to coincide with Mumin/Moomin turning 60, and Puffin 70. (Source: Svensk bokhandel)

Current Issue: 2019:1&2

Issue 2019-12

Copyright © 2020 Swedish Book Review | Contact Details | Web Design by Intexta