Category Archives: Related events

Who Reads the Literatures of Small Nations and Why?

What was the last book you read in English translation? What made you read it? Do you go out of your way to read books in translation? Are they easy to find? Can they tell us or show us things that English-language literature can’t?

You can help us to learn more about the habits of UK readers by answering this short and simple online questionnaire: We are particularly interested in the thoughts of readers following our Nordic Noir Book Club

And join us for an evening of sharing experiences with the reading, publishing and selling of literature in translation in the UK on Wednesday February 4th 2015, 7pm; Elwin Room, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, 16 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN


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Two events 11-12 May: Something Else for the Weekend

Hej! We have two events coming up, and Nordic Noir will loom large in both of them.

On Saturday 11 May, 2-3pm, enjoy a virtual tour of Crime Scenes and Cycle Paths: Copenhagen’s Hidden (Hi)stories. We’ve been working with UCL’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) to make a multi-layered map of Copenhagen that reveals some sites, sights and stories you may not have witnessed in the literature and television of the city.  You can contribute to the map by telling us about your favourite places in Copenhagen. You can leave a comment below, or tweet @scandstudies using the hashtag #copenmap. Deadline: Wednesday 1 May! Tak!

On Sunday 12 May, 2-3pm, join us for a panel discussion on Welfare, Literature and the Body: Nordic Perspectives. Panelists include our very own Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Dominic Hinde (phd student, translator, journalist, Scottish green politico, and an editor of Post Mag), and others tbc. This panel discussion and Q&A explores the welfare state in the Nordic countries, focusing on how literary fiction has functioned as a space in which ideas about society, justice, welfare and well-being could be debated and developed. Of special interest is the human body: how have Scandinavian novels, poems, plays and even films represented the body – male or female, healthy or sick, infant or aging, working or playing – as  building, challenging, and benefiting from the welfare state? We’ll be using exciting new voting pod thingummies (that’s the technical term) to enable audience participation.

The venue for both events is the Ground Floor Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building, Malet Place, London, WC1E 7JE [click here for a map and transport information]

Both events are free – no need to book, just come along! The first sixty attendees will be able to enjoy complimentary coffee and biscuits.SomethingElsefortheWeekend

These events are part of Something Else for the Weekend, 2 days of hands-on activities around the theme of Reading, giving festival-goers the chance to get up close and personal with UCL research. There are lots of fascinating exhibits and activities, from travel writing about toilets to learning difficulties to fairy tales, and it’s all free! For more information, please visit



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Literature, justice and forgiveness

Nordic Noir discussions have often touched on the role of Scandinavian crime literature in dissecting concepts such as justice, catharsis, forgiveness, and other crucial issues for humanity. These lectures will not focus on crime fiction, but may be of interest for their focus on the power of literature to shape and reflect collective norms. All welcome – no need to book – please join us!

The venue for all four lectures is the Ramsey Lecture Theatre, Christopher Ingold Chemistry Building, 20 Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AJ.

Four lectures by Leverhulme Visiting Professor Svend Erik Larsen

Leverhulme Lecture I: Wednesday 16 January, 6pm, G21 Christopher Ingold Building

Forgiveness after Religion: Radical Wrong-Doing & Cultural Norms

The idea of radical wrongdoing changed when Christianity lost its grip on cultural norms, and forgiveness acquired a new role in literature and culture. Followed by a wine reception hosted by the School of European Languages, Culture and Society.

Leverhulme Lecture II: Wednesday 6 February, 6pm, G21 Christopher Ingold Building

Don Juan, Lear & Figaro: Reinventing Forgiveness

Tragedy and comedy feed on the transgression of norms and its consequences for human life. When they change, new visions of humanity emerge together with new role of forgiveness.

Leverhulme Lecture III: Wednesday 13 March, 6pm, G21 Christopher Ingold Building

Where Forgiveness does not Exist

Cultures before or outside Christianity take issue with radical wrongdoing in other ways than the Western tradition, questioning the universal status of forgiveness.

Leverhulme Lecture IV: Wednesday 24 April, 6pm, G21 Christopher Ingold Building

The Limits of Forgiveness: Writing Reconciliation in South Africa

Many South African writers have discussed the limits of the bold attempt to use forgiveness as an instrument to national reconciliation.

Professor Svend Erik Larsen (Aarhus Universitet, Denmark) has been awarded a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship to spend January-June 2013 based at UCL Scandinavian Studies. He will be delivering four Leverhulme Lectures, leading Masterclasses for postgraduate students, and helping launch a new collaboration between UCL Scandinavian Studies, Dutch and SSEES: Learning from Small Nations. For more information, please contact Dr Claire Thomson (

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Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at a special secret location…

Fans of Scandinavian drama may want to snap up tickets for a new version of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House – performed by [Foreign Affairs] at a special pop-up location in the West End. These will be the first performances of translator Paul Russell Garrett‘s fresh new English translation of this classic play. This is a very short run: 20-24 November only. There’s something very special about this theatre company – not to be missed! Click here for more information about the company and production or click straight through to buy tickets from WeGotTickets.

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Icelandic crime at Day-for-Night Nordic Film festival

Sunday 2 December brings a relatively rare chance to see the Icelandic film adaptation of Arnaldur Indriðason’s novel Mýrin (Jar City) on the big screen.

Sun 2 Dec, 6.45pm – Riverside Studios

JAR CITY I Baltasar Kormakur, Iceland/Germany/Denmark 2006,  91 mins, cert 15

Inspector Erlendur investigates the death of an elderly man. His only clues: a picture of a girl’s grave and a cryptic note. Meanwhile, mystery surrounds a grieving father working on a revolutionary research facility, attempting to make sense of his daughter’s death. Erlendur has to battle with a complex and disturbing case whilst all the time facing his own personal demons in this complex and gripping thriller.

The screening is part of an exciting new Nordic Film festival in London, taking place from 30 November to 5 December 2012 at Riverside Studios, Ciné lumière, and the Prince Charles Cinema. The Nordic Film Festival brings together a broad mix of independent films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, celebrating the best in Nordic filmmaking past and present. Highlights include:

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED – by Oscar®-winning director Susanne Bier. Opening gala + party, 30 Nov @ Ciné lumière

FESTEN – Thomas Vinterberg’s highly acclaimed debut and first film of the avant-garde Dogme95 movement, 1 Dec @ Riverside Studio

BABETTE’S FEAST – special preview of this ‘culinary classic’ ahead of its BFI re-release, 3 Dec @ Ciné lumière

PURE – UK premiere closing gala, starring Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina), 5 Dec @ Riverside Studios + party

Full programme, ticket links and information at:

And see also: | @nordicfilmfest |

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Strindberg’s Red Room at UCL

Strindberg's Red Room at UCL

This month, Scandinavian studies at UCL is running Strindberg’s Red Room: a pop-up literary salon. Events start in earnest this week and run to 22 October. You can drop by for a free lunchtime talk or evening book launch, buy tickets for a workshop on zine-making or altered books, or just call in during the day to sit in a comfy armchair and read some Strindberg in English. The Red Room can be found at the main entrance to the UCL quad on Gower Street – on your left as you walk through the main gate. We are usually open 11am-6pm, depending on availability of students to man the exhibition! For more information, please visit or follow @scandstudies on Twitter.

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From Swedish Rap to Sami!

Have you been enjoying your Saturday night dose of Danish and Swedish lately? Would you like to hear a Swedish rapper talk about his creative wordplay? Interested to hear more about the languages of the Sami people of the Nordic Region? Or language diversity in London? Or maybe just a recorded message from my mum in broad Scots?* Then you may enjoy our upcoming two-day ‘witness seminar’ on Language Diversity in the UK and the Nordic Countries, on 8-9 June 2012.

*I must admit I haven’t asked her yet. Sorry, Mum.

The organisers say:

The UCL Scandinavian Studies Witness Seminar ‘Language Diversity in the Nordic Countries and the UK’ takes a different approach to talking about language practices. It brings together ‘witnesses’ who have personal experience of speaking or working with people who speak minority languages, regional dialects or urban vernaculars, and academics who study languages in the Nordic countries and the UK. In doing so, it creates a dialogue between lived experience and research, giving all participants the opportunity to think differently about the way they use and view their own and others’ language use.

The speakers include a rapper from Stockholm, talking about creativity and language use; a speaker of a rural dialect from Jutland, giving an insight into the place of regional dialects in Denmark; a London-based teacher, talking about the multilingual school environment and how it affects students’ language use; and a Sami speaker, who will discuss some of the problems encountered by a minority when trying to maintain their culture. We will also hear from sociolinguists Eivind Torgersen, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson, who will give their perspectives on different aspects of language variation and its political implications. We think all these speakers will have very different things to say about language and the cultural, social and political forces that surround it, and that’s why we’re so interested in bringing them all together.

You can download the event programme, and get information on how to register, at this link.

Conference fee: £26 (includes dinner Friday evening); £16 (conference only, excluding dinner)

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