Jørn Lier Horst, Lone Theils and Stefan Ahnhem @ Nordic Noir Book Club Event in London, May 22nd

The Nordic Noir Book Club in London is excited and proud to give advance notice of an upcoming event in London featuring prominent crime writers from Norway, Denmark and Sweden: Jørn Lier Horst, Lone Theils and Stefan Ahnhem.

Jørn Lier Horst’s latest crime novel (in the William Wisting series) “When it grows dark” (translated by Anne Bruce) is out today from Sandstone Press.

Lone Theil’s bestselling debut novel “Fatal Crossing” (translated by Charlotte Barslund) will be out in April from Arcadia Books.

Stefan Ahnhem’s second novel in the Fabian Risk series, “The Ninth Grave” (translated by Paul Norlen) was out earlier this year from Head of Zeus.

Start reading and return to these pages for more on the authors and their novels. The event will take place in the evening of the 22nd of May at JuJu’s (The Truman Brewery). So, reserve the date in your calendars. Tickets will go “on sale” in a couple of weeks, and will be announced on the Nordic Noir Book Club blog.

We are looking forward to seeing new and old Scandinavian crime fiction fans in London in May. Please contact Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (j.stougaard-nielsen@ucl.ac.uk) if you have questions about the event.


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Scandinavian Crime Fiction – The Book

scancrimefiction-frontpageMy book, Scandinavian Crime Fiction, has now been published by Bloomsbury. On the Nordic Noir Book Club blog, you can find information about the book, learn about how the book came into being, read reviews and, not least, find out how to purchase a copy with a Book Club discount.

Click here to visit the Book page on the NNBC Blog

In other news, the Book Club is working on a new London event scheduled for late May featuring crime writers from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Follow us on Facebook and on the blog to receive further news about the event and early access to tickets.


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Danish bestseller Thomas Rydhal’s The Hermit – at London’s Free Word Centre, 10 October.

Thomas Rydhal discusses his debut crime novel The Hermit. An instant bestseller in Denmark and winner of the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel.rydahl

Mon 10 Oct 2016; 6:45pm – 9:00pm @ Free Word Centre

Book your tickets here

Thomas Rydhal’s extraordinary debut crime novel The Hermit was an instant bestseller in Denmark and stayed in the top ten for 30 weeks. Winner of the Harald Mogensen Prize for Best Danish crime novel and the Glass Key Award for best Nordic crime novel. It has been translated into 30 languages.

Thomas discusses the themes of the book with Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Literature at UCL. K. E. Semmel, translator of the English edition, will contribute on video describing the particular challenges of Danish-English translation and how the story was adapted from one cultural context into another.

This event is part of Wanderlust: Great Literature from Around the World, a monthly event series at Free Word. Join us on the second Monday of each month to celebrate the best fiction in translation.

About The Hermit

The Hermit is set in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, where its unlikely hero, a 67 year old ex-pat Danish taxi driver, is caught up in a dangerous web of corruption and murder.

A car is found crashed on a beach of Fuerteventura. On the back seat lies a cardboard box containing the lifeless body of a small boy wrapped in newspaper cuttings. No one knows his name, and there is no trace of a driver. The last thing Fuerteventura needs is a murder. The ailing resort already has half-empty bars, there are plans for a new casino, and the local police are under pressure to close the case. But long-time islander and loner Erhard, a taxi driver who sees more than most people, won’t let the investigation drop – and he has nothing to lose. The question is: can a 67-yearold man, who knows nothing about mobile phones or the internet, possibly solve a complex murder whose dangerous web of deceit stretches far beyond the small island? This bold, unsettling literary thriller introduces a strikingly original new talent to crime fans.

About Thomas Rydhal

Thomas Rydahl was born in Aarhus in 1974. He studied philosophy and psychology and graduated from the Danish Writing Academy in 1999. He has translated Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Outliers into Danish. The Hermit, his first novel, is the only debut to have won the Glass Key Award – previous recipients include Henning Mankell, Karin Fossum, Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbø. He lives in Fredensborg, Denmark.

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Launch of Nordisk Books and the publication of modern Danish classic Havoc in London

This Friday, 9. September, sees the launch of a new publishing house in London, Nordisk Books, and their first publication, Havoc by the great modernist Danish author Tom Kristensen. This is an exciting new venture that will bring past and contemporary quality Scandinavian literature to an English-speaking readership, and Havoc originally published in 1930 is an extraordinary novel with which to launch Nordisk Books.

Havoc by Nordisk Books

Karl Over Knausgård has said of  Havoc that it is “one of the best novels to ever come out of Scandinavia. As discomforting as beautiful, it portrays the fall of a man, and it’s so hypnotically written that you want to fall with him.”

If you wondered whether there was an original depressed, alcoholic, self-destructive fictional hero in Scandinavian literature before “the ulcer school” of Nordic Noir detectives, Tom Kristensen’s Ole Jastrau is the ultimate archetype.

If you are in London on Friday the 9th of September, why not join us for the launch party to celebrate Nordisk Books and to learn more about one of the greatest novels in modern Danish literature by the Danish James Joyce. Mikkel Bruun Zangenberg and myself will join the publisher Duncan Lewis in a talk about Havoc, Tom Kristensen and Danish literature in translation.

Date: Friday 9th September, 2016
Time: 19.00 – 22.00
Location: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (tube Holborn, bus no. 38)
After party: the Dolphin Tavern (just next door)
Debit/credit card payments will be accepted for purchase of books

Please RSVP to info@nordiskbooks.com

See also https://conwayhall.org.uk/event/nordisk-books-launch-party

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Sjón in Conversation with London Student PEN

The Icelandic poet, lyricist and novelist Sjón is coming to UCL to talk about his new book as well as his work as president of Icelandic PEN. In Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was, Sjón once again takes his readers on a mind-bending miniature historical epic, this time through the life of a 16-year-old homosexual boy living in Reykjavík in 1918. The book explores questions of queerness and sexuality on the fringes of a society in profound transformation, itself on the very extremity of the world.

Sjón, together with the book’s translator Victoria Cribb, will be interviewed by a representative from UCL PEN, part of the London Student PEN Network. Since 2012, student branches of the writers’ association English PEN have sprung up on university campuses all over the country. We bring together students, academics and writers working for the human right to freedom of expression, and for the free movement of ideas and literature.

The interview will be followed by a reading and an audience Q&A.

Time: 7th of June, 7.00-8.30 pm

Location: Pearson G22 Lecture Theatre (North East Entrance)

For any questions, please contact Alice Olsson (CMII, UCL PEN): alice.olsson.15 [at] ucl.ac.uk

The event is open to all, but please register for your Eventbrite ticket: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sjon-in-conversation-with-london-student-pen-tickets-25696255191

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2016 Petrona Award

Top quality crime fiction from Scandinavia is shortlisted for the 2016 Petrona AwardPetrona Logo

Crime novels from Finland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2016 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

They are:

THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)
THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)
THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)
THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)
SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)
DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 21 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 19-22 May 2016. The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

Fossum’s spare prose and straightforward narrative belie the complexity at the heart of this novel. After the drowning of a young child with Down’s Syndrome, Chief Inspector Sejer must ask himself if one of the parents could have been involved. The nature of grief is explored, along with the experience of parenting children with learning difficulties. There’s a timeless feel to the writing and a sense of justice slowly coming to pass.

THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

The second in Hiekkapelto’s ‘Anna Fekete’ series is an assured police procedural rooted in the tradition of the Nordic social crime novel. Its exploration of immigrant experiences is nuanced and timely, and is woven into an absorbing mystery involving an elderly man’s death and the escalating activities of an international gang. A mature work by a writer who is unafraid to take on challenging topics.

THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

Horst’s The Caveman begins with the discovery of a four-month-old corpse just down the road from William Wisting’s home. Troubled by his neighbour’s lonely death in an apparently uncaring society, the Chief Inspector embarks on one of the most disturbing cases of his career. Beautifully written, this crime novel is a gripping read that draws on the author’s own experiences to provide genuine insights into police procedure and investigation.

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

The late Stieg Larsson created the groundbreaking, two-fingers-to-society, bisexual anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander. When Larsson’s publishers commissioned a fourth book, they turned to David Lagercrantz, whose The Girl in the Spider’s Web often reads uncannily like Larsson’s own text. His real achievement is the subtle development of Salander’s character; she remains (in Lagercrantz’s hands) the most enigmatic and fascinating anti-heroine in fiction.

SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)

An accomplished homage to Agatha Christie, Satellite People adds a Nordic twist to classic crime fiction tropes. References to Christie novels abound, but Lahlum uses a Golden Age narrative structure to explore Norway’s wartime past, as Inspector Kristiansen and Patricia investigate a former Resistance fighter’s death. Excellent characterisation, a tight plot and a growing sense of menace keep the reader guessing until the denouement.

DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)

Tuomainen’s powerful and involving literary crime novel has a mesmerising central concept: thirty-year-old Aleksi is sure he knows who was behind his mother’s disappearance two decades ago, but can he prove it? And to what extent does his quest for justice mask an increasingly unhealthy obsession with the past? Rarely has atmosphere in a Nordic Noir novel been conjured so evocatively.

With grateful thanks to each of the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.

The judges are:

Barry Forshaw – Writer and journalist specialising in crime fiction and film; author of four books covering Scandinavian crime fiction: NORDIC NOIR, DEATH IN A COLD CLIMATE, EURO NOIR and the first biography of Stieg Larsson.

Dr. Katharina Hall – Associate Professor of German at Swansea University; editor of CRIME FICTION IN GERMAN: DER KRIMI for University of Wales Press; international crime fiction reviewer/blogger at MRS. PEABODY INVESTIGATES.

Sarah Ward – Crime novelist, author of IN BITTER CHILL (Faber and Faber), and crime fiction blogger at CRIMEPIECES.

More information can be found on the Petrona Award website (http://www.petronaaward.co.uk).

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Nordic Noir at Crime Festival in Horsens

Arriving at Krimimessen in Horsens, Denmark, the largest crime fiction festival in Northern Europe, one is greeted by long lines of expecting readers making their way through the gates of the old state prison – the gate, the taxi driver told me, where visitors used to enter the prison to visit jailed family members. I am here to, luckily, to see another kind of inmate, namely the many writers who have been invited to talk about their crime novels, to pitch them to an audience of readers who may quite possibly have seen and read it all before. As you make your way through the gates to the festival venues in the old prison gym, the prison workshops and magazines you come upon a black hearse inscribed with the name of one of the more recent Danish crime exports, Sara Blædel, advertising the first novel in a new series of hers: The Undertaker’s Daughter.

Advertising Sara Blædel’s forthcoming novel, Bedemandens Datter at Krimimessen 2016

In her talk, Blædel told an audience numbering in the hundreds that she got the idea for her no heroine, an undertaker’s daughter, from her experience of losing both of her parents a few years ago with only a few days between – the comfort provided by the female undertaker was nothing less of heroic in the midst of her grief.

My own talk on this the first day of the festival was about Female Avengers in Nordic Crime Fiction, building partly on a short article I have written about Nordic female crime writers for the online The History of Nordic Women’s Literature and the last chapter of my book Scandinavian Crime Fiction, both of which will appear, if all goes well, later in the year. The theme of this year’s 15th edition of Krimimessen is Revenge, and throughout the day there where excellent debates and talks about revenge – why, for instance is revenge an ongoing preoccupation in societies where we should have dispelled with such “primitive” emotions. Robert Zola and Anna Grue gave interesting talks, and there to show the broad interest of the festival, there even was a talk by a Danish journalist about the Truth Commission in South Africa.

Other memorable talks on this the first day of the festival was an interview with Lone Theils. She is the author of Pigerne fra Englandsbåden (or Fatal Crossing, as I believe it will be called in English). She has recently returned to Denmark after spending 16 years as a newspaper correspondent in London. Her first crime novel is set in London (Nordic Noir in London!!) and her second novel soon to appear in Denmark (in June she revealed) takes place between Denmark and the UK involving a refugee family from Iran – yes, timely indeed.

An old friend of the Nordic Noir Book Club, Gunnar Staalesen, opened the festival with its anniversary speech, mentioning the historic relationships between Norway and Denmark and celebrating the growing interest in crime fiction over the past 15 years the festival has existed. This turned out to be a great day for the Norwegians (even if Karin Slaughter probably had the largest audience) as the big prize offered by the Danish Crime Academy, Rosenkrantz prisen, went to Gard Sveen, author of The Last Pilgrim.

Exhausted from running around from one venue to the other, I think I should just do the Prison tour tomorrow after giving my second talk on Scandimania and Nordic Cool – on the reception of Nordic Noir in the UK, if I can stay away from talks by Jesper Stein, Mari Jungstedt, Lars Kepler – and, perhaps even harder for me to stay away from, a discussion between Staalesen and academic colleagues Kerstin Bergman and another old friend of the NN Book Club Bo Tao Michaelis celebrating the late Henning Mankell. Oh what to do?

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