News regarding Danish literature...

Jens Christian Grøndahl to Hamburg

’Die Nordischen Literaturtage’ will be held on November 14-17, 2005, at the Literaturhaus Hamburg – this year with Jens Christian Grøndahl as the Danish contribution.

On Wednesday, November 16, at 6:30 p.m., Grøndahl will read from his novel Lucca, flanked by his translator, Peter Urban-Halle, who will also act as the evening’s moderator. ’Die Nordischen Literaturtage’ is held every other year, organized in collaboration between Hamburg’s cultural representatives and the Nordic consulates. Jens Christian Grøndahl’s participation has also been supported by the Literature Committee of the Danish Arts Council.

Canadian interest in Danish literature

There are indications that the small Canadian publisher, BookThug, may be developing a specialization in the publication of Danish literature

In connection with the Superdanish Festival in Toronto during the fall of 2004, BookThug published a selection of Niels Lyngsø’s poetry, translated by Gregory Pardlo under the title Pencil of Rays and Spiked Mace. Now, a second Danish author - Morten Søndergaard – has just been published by BookThug, a collection of poems entitled Vinci, Later, translated by John Irons. Morten Søndergaard has just returned from a promotional tour in Canada.

2006 will probably also offer the publication of another Danish author by BookThug, since the publishing house has acquired the North American rights to Karen Fastrup’s novel Mine syvogtyve sansers elskede (Thou, Beloved of My Twenty-seven Senses).

BookThug is run by Jay MillAr, who is also behind the web-based bookstore Apollinaire's Bookshoppe, which – in addition to BookThug’s publications – also sells translations of Katrine Marie Guldager and Inger Christensen. BookThug participated in a seminar in Copenhagen in the summer of 2005 for English-language publishers, arranged by the Danish Literature Centre.

Read more about BookThug and Apollinaire's Bookshoppe at www.bookthug.ca

Symposium on literary exchange in Malta

On November 3-7, 2005, the Danish-Chilean author Rubén Palma will participate in a symposium, Re-Visions - Literary Exchange in an Enlarged Europe in Valetta, Malta.

The symposium will gather authors, translators, and organizers of literary events, as well as representatives of national and international organizations, from all over Europe to discuss perspectives on European literary exchange after the expansion of the EU, 18 months ago, with 10 new member countries.

In addition to a discussion of a number of topics touching on the dissemination and translation of literary works, the program will include readings from local as well as visiting authors. The symposium has been organized by Literature Across Frontiers (LAF). The Literature Committee of the Danish Arts Council has supported Rubén Palmas’ participation in the symposium.

Author of Russian trilogy to France and Danish poetry to Russia

In June, recent Danish thrillers will be introduced at a new crime fiction festival in France. Authors Leif Davidsen and Michael Larsen are invited. After Danish literature has visited southern Europe, it will move eastward, where Danish poetry will spice up Kaliningrad’s 750th anniversary.

From June 9 – 11, crime fiction writers from all over Europe will meet in Paris to take part in the first European mystery novel festival, Pol’art – the European Crime Fiction & Art Festival. Leif Davidsen and Michael Larsen will be among the participating authors.

Both writers have been translated into French. Among Leif Davidsen’s works that have been translated, is the Russian trilogy: Den russiske sangerinde (The Russian Singer), Den sidste spion (The Last Spy) and Den troskyldige russer (The Gullible Russian). In October last year, Leif Davidsen also received the Literary Prize of the Embassies of Francophone Countries in Denmark. He received the prize for his 2001 novel De gode søstre (The Good Sisters). All his books translated into French have been published by Gaïa Editions. Michael Larsen’s novels Slangen i Sydney (The Serpent in Sydney) and Uden sikker viden (Uncertainty) have made him one of the most translated Danish authors today. The novels were translated into French in 1999 and 2001, respectively, for Payot & Rivage.

Leif Davidsen and Michael Larsen will participate in meetings, discussions and exchanges of opinion at the crime fiction festival.

Time and place: June 9 – 11, Paris For additional information: http://0937.free.fr Read more about Leif Davidsen and Michael Larsen at www.litteraturnet.dk

Danish poetry to Russia
Later in the month, Danish author and translator Søren Sørensen will be going to Kaliningrad, Russia. In honor of the city’s 750th anniversary, he will be reading from his Udvalgte digte (Selected Poems), which were translated into Russian as Dni Somnij in 2001. Søren Sørensen will also give readings and participate in various cultural events.

The author’s visit to Kaliningrad will take place from June 16-20, 2005.

Award presentations for autumn 2004 by the Literature Committee of the Danish Arts Foundation

Authors Klaus Høeck, Morten Blok, and Arthur Krasilnikoff awarded by The Literature Committee

The Literature Committee has determined to bestow awards for excellence upon:
Klaus Høeck for Hsieh
Morten Blok for At bære væslerne hjem (Bearing the Weasels Home)
Arthur Krasilnikoff for Hvalens øje (The Eye of the Whale)

- in the amount of DKK 75,000 each.

Justifications for the awards:

Klaus Høeck for Hsieh: Prototypes

For more than 30 years since his first formal cycle or series, called Rejse I-V (Journey I-V) (1971-73), poet Klaus Høeck has with unflappable consistency experimented with passing life as lived experience and written text through diverse systematic filters that both define and are transformed by the textual drive. High points have been Hjem (Home) (1985), Eventyr (Fairytales) (1992) and In nomine (2001). To these may be added Hsieh. The formal principle, the variable values of the prototype, is based on the structure of In nomine, while the systematization is consolidated and neutralized by the poet’s use of the I Ching. From this method comes, as always, a simple poetry, serene and ripe, built on the everyday jumble of trifles and miracles. The great and the small meet in a rosary of 12-line beads: “Min nye guldtand blinker/ fra alderens fyr/ tårn eller som en stjerne/ i natten når jeg smiler/ til min elskede/ om kap med siri/ us eller ori/ on eller som en/ elektronblitz fra canon/ vi har mange minder sam/ men og nogle af/ dem kan vi huske” (“My new gold tooth glimmers/ from age’s signal/ tower or like a star/ in the night when I smile/ to my love/ in a race with siri/ us or ori/ on or like an/ electron flash from a cannon/ we have many memories to/ gether and some/ we can remember”).

Morten Blok for At bære væslerne hjem.

At bære væslerne hjem is Morten Blok’s first book of prose, 38 short remembrances of great intensity and strength. Painful and disturbing situations are recorded with hypersensitivity from the vulnerability of childhood, marked by his parents’ divorce and his grandmother’s insanity. Feelings are expressed as concrete, sensual images from the universe of the body, but the poet does not drown in his emotions and perceptions. Distance is maintained – to the arrogant young man he once was and to sentimental idiom. The perspective is brought from childhood to the present, where the child is already doomed by drinking from his sick grandfather’s cup. From childhood innocence to death, raw and brutal, without extraneous words, when the weasels are carried home.

Arthur Krasilnikoff for Hvalens øje

Arthur Krasilnikoff’s Hvalens øje is neither a traditional novel nor a collection of short stories, but “a novel in 111 pieces.” Yet, Hvalens øje is, above all, a masterful example of the art of language. The 111 text fragments do not form a comprehensive, forward-moving (novelistic) sequence but a myriad of brief glimpses into memories that can be read as prose poems or story fragments in and for themselves.
Hvalens øje is a mosaic of the authentic impressions of a boy, Astur, when he and his family lived in Thorshavn. The distance to his childhood years is indicated and intensified in the text by the actual distance to the Faeroe Islands but also by the sea as the book’s central theme, as it is in most of Arthur Krasilnikoff’s writings. The sea is ambiguous, since it is both a threat and a source of identification for the narrator. Hence, there are a number of descriptions of the sea in Hvalens øje – but also of other natural phenomena, such as wind and weather, the dark and dank of winter, and the drowsy light of summer – which help give voice to the wordless experiences and memories of childhood.
Krasilnikoff has orchestrated the experiences of his alter ego Astur with a highly sensitive but sparse and sparing language that fits a young boy’s horizon of language and consciousness. Astur’s world is portrayed in a precise, recognizable and yet new and surprising way, in a unique tone free of pathos and sentimentality.

The Literature Committee of the Danish Art Foundation:
Bo Green Jensen, chairman
Anne Marie Ejrnæs
Henk van der Liet

Stig Dalager goes international on both sides of the northern hemisphere

On April 26-29, author and dramatist Stig Dalager found himself on the other side of the Atlantic.

He participated in the premiere of the play Family Nights – a play directed by Peter Langdal and for which he wrote the manuscript. Family Nights was performed at The Players Club in New York City with leading Broadway actors – including Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.

After the premiere in New York and a brief stopover in Denmark, Stig Dalager was in Bonn on May 2-3. The author introduced his novel Rejse i blåt (A Journey in Blue), which was recently published in German by Arche Verlag.

Stig Dalager has been a full-time author since around 1982. He has so far written 40 works in several literary genres, including prose and drama. Several of the works have been translated into a number of languages, and his dramas have been performed many places in the world – for example, Vienna, Berlin, New York, and Jerusalem.

Per Helge Sørensen in German once again

Per Helge Sørensen was invited to Germany by the Danish Cultural Institute in Bonn.

The author was in the city from April 26-27. He gave a reading to introduce his novel Spin, which was published in German by the publishing house Lübbe in February this year. In addition to his novel Spin, Per Helge Sørensen’s first novel Mailstorm from 2000 was published in German in 2002. This book was also published by Lübbe.

Ivan Z. Sørensen and Metalsvinet in Florence

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Metal Pig has been published in Italian by Polistampa.

In connection with its publication, Ivan Z. Sørensen was invited to Florence to speak about the work. His lecture was part of a major Hans Christian Andersen event, which was held April 19-20. The event took place at the Palazzo Vecchio and was organized by the Danish general consul in Florence.

Ivan Z. Sørensen is an author and lecturer. He has written, among other things, the book Omvejene til Pisa. En fortolkning af Karen Blixens Vejene omkring Pisa (Byroads to Pisa: An Interpretation of Karen Blixen’s The Roads Round Pisa) and is in the process of preparing Karen Blixens værker (The Works of Karen Blixen) for publication under the aegis of the Society for Danish Language and Literature. He has also been a curator for the Karen Blixen Museum and held an associate professorship in Florence.

Kristian Ditlev Jensen attends First Novel Festival in Kiel

Author Kristian Ditlev Jensen, who received in November 2004 BogForum’s prize for best debut novel for his book Livret [Bon Vivant], will participate June 2-5 in the First Novel Festival in Kiel, Germany.

The festival has become a French-German collaboration between the Literaturhaus Schleswig-Holstein and the Institut français in Germany. Authors from 10 European countries, along with representatives from their publishers, will participate in readings, round-table discussions, workshops, and symposia. A number of the events are open to the public. This is the third time the First Novel Festival has been held. This year, a representative from the Danish Literature Centre, which has coordinated the Danish participation, has been invited as an observer.

Children know best

Under the slogan ”Vote for a Book, You Sorry Sod,” the Children & Young Adult Department of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation handed out the first Danish children’s book award, the Orla award, in which children and young adults selected the authors they believed should be honored for the year’s best children’s books.

18,392 children voted for their favorites in four categories: picture book, children’s book, book for young adults, and comic book.
Winning as best picture book: Kaj & Andrea - Hurra vi skal i skole (Kaj & Andrea – Hurray, We’re Going to School) by Katrine Hauch-Fausbøll, illustrated by Sussi Bech.
The best children’s book: Sagen om det blodige vampyrtrick (The Case of the Bloody Vampire Trick) by Dennis Jürgensen.
Best book for young people: Himmelherren: Drengen med de violette øjne (The Lord of Heaven: The Boy with the Violet Eyes) by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen and, finally, best comic book: Hall of Fame: Don Rosa from the Walt Disney Company.

The prize was awarded at a special Orla ceremony, broadcast directly by DR on April 27. The Orla Prize is a collaboration between the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and the Reading is Fun campaign, being conducted by the Danish Ministry of Culture, the Danish Ministry of Education and the Danish Ministry for Family and Consumer Affairs. The Danish Literature Centre, part of the Danish Arts Agency, is on the steering committee for Reading is Fun.

Children’s Book Prize

On 18 April 2005, the Danish Minister for Culture Brian Mikkelsen presented the Ministry of Culture’s Children’s Book Prize to author Daniel Zimakoff for En dødssyg ven [An Incurable Friend].

The award committee for literature aimed at children and young people justified its recommendation of Zimakoff in this way: “The award committee of the Ministry of Culture would like to honor En dødssyg ven for its unique ability linguistically and psychologically to put on display such a wide-ranging and relevant gamut of prob-lems and to do it so well that it remains inhabited by young people who feel genu-ine and alive.” Daniel Zimakoff was born in 1956 and began to write at the age of thirty. The au-thor has over 25 works to his credit, and he received the Ministry of Education’s Writer’s Prize in 2003.

Niels Lyngsø heads for Norway

Niels Lyngsø will give a reading of selected poems at the Trondheim Literature Festival.

One of the festival’s goals is to introduce a number of foreign names not yet translated into Norwegian. Among other poets who will be attending the festival are: Yoko Tawada (Japan/Germany), Marie Silkeberg (Sweden), Bengt Emil Jonsson (Sweden), Barbara Köhler (Germany), Vemund Solheim Ådland (Norway), Ellen Einan (Norway), Jyrki Kiiskinen (Finland), Marcel Beyer (Germany). In attendance as well will be quite a few Norwegian writers whose names the festival organizers believe deserve greater attention in Norway. The Trondheim Literature Festival takes place every other year. This year, it will be held April 14 – 17.

For further information on Niels Lyngsø please visit www.literaturenet.dk. For additional information about the Trondheim festival, see: www.aeaa.no

Tunisian Poetry Festival

Translator and poet Muniam Alfaker has been invited to an artists’ festival in Tunisia.

Muniam Alfaker has been invited to the city of Kairouan, Tunisia, to take part in the artists’ festival, Printemps des Arts À Kaiouran. He will give a reading of his own poetry as well as other Danish poetry he has translated. Printemps des Arts À Kaiouran is one of the major festivals held in Arab countries, where authors, philosophers, film- and theatre people meet to debate current themes in art, culture and society. This year, the festival’s theme is Heritage and the Arts. The festival will take place April 9 – 16.

Literature in the New Europe

Jens Christian Grøndahl in Rome with European colleagues for the first EU seminar on literature.

As representative for Denmark, Jens Christian Grøndahl has, along with 1 author from each of the 25 EU states, been invited to the first EU seminar, TransEuropaExpress – Literature in the New Europe. The seminar will be held primarily at the new literature house in Rome, Cassa delle Letterature. In connection with the seminar, a bibliographic exhibit will be opened. Here, each participating author will display three books. Jens Christians Grøndahl’s contribution to the seminar will, along with that of the other participating authors, will be published in a book by the renowned Italian publishing house, Rizzoli. Among the other authors who will participate may be mentioned Christian Delius from Germany, Jean Rouaud from France and Jonathan Coe from England.

Danes to Nordic theatre days in Paris

Authors Astrid Saalbach and Peter Asmussen will participate in the festival.

Between February 15-17, Nordic theatre days, Vent du Nord, will be held in Paris. The theater festival is aimed at the general public and professional theatre people in Paris. Astrid Saalbach will read from her works Verdens ende (The World’s End) and Morgen og aften (Morning and Evening). The reading will be given at the Theatre de L’Est Parisien, where a number of Nordic authors will present a selection of their works. Peter Asmussen will in connection with the festival partake in a seminar with presentation and reading of Nordic drama. There will also be other theatre-related events at Nordic cultural centers in Paris. The instigators behind Vent du Nord are ’Scenes Nordique,’ which is represented by the Swedish literary agent Susanne Burstein, and ’La Maison Antoine Vitez’, whose task is to promote foreign drama in France. For more information: www.theatre-estparisien.net