As announced yesterday, Icelandic author Gyrðir Elíasson has won the 2011 Nordic Council Literature Prize for his short story collection Milli trjánna.
From the Adjudicating Committee (! — great name . . . we don’t use the word “adjudicating” near enough in our modern vernacular):
“The Icelandic author Gyrðir Elíasson has won the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2011 for his short story collection Milli trjánna for stylistically outstanding literary art which depicts inner and outer threats in dialogue with world literature.”
Here’s a bit from Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson’s write-up of Milli trjánna:
If anyone wonders where August Strindberg ended up after his death, the answer can be found in Gyrðir Elíasson’s latest collection of short stories, Milli trjánna. Here we meet Strindberg sitting all alone in the canteen in IKEA in Iceland surrounded by shoppers stuffing themselves with Swedish meatballs and cowberry jam. The short story is called Inferno, of course! In some of the book’s other short stories the reader meets the saddened musical brothers who are burying their father, the undertaker, amongst the potatoes in his kitchen garden, another musician who discovers a blank gravestone in his boxroom and last but not least, a black dog. The characters and the surroundings have become familiar to Icelandic readers with a knowledge of the author’s previous works but will probably seem a little strange to foreign readers.
The short stories are woven into each other, and there are references to Gyrðir Elíasson’s previous writings as well as older literature, not least Nordic. From the beginning of his career Gyrðir Elíasson has built up a unique universe, a world where individual texts are reinforced by the whole that they form a part of, almost as if all his production is a colossal borderless text that grows with each new poem or tale.
It’s worth noting that in 2008, Gyrðir Elíasson’s Stone Tree was translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb and published in the UK by Comma Press.
And for more info on Icelandic Literature, be sure to check out Fabulous Iceland a special website that was created to promote Icelandic lit and culture before the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Iceland will reign supreme as the Guest of Honor.
The nominations for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2010 were announced yesterday:
Poetry collection, Forlaget Borgen 2009
Børnene (The Children)
Novel, Forlaget Gyldendal 2009
Novel, WSOY 2008
Glitterscenen (The Glitter Scene)
Roman, Söderströms och Albert Bonniers Förlag 2009
Novel, Mál og menning 2008 (Danish translation by Kim Lembek)
Novel, Mál og menning 2008 (Swedish translation by Inge Knudson)
Karl Ove Knausgård
Min kamp 1 (My Struggle, Part 1)
Novel, Förlaget Oktober 2009
Imot kunsten (notatbøkene) (Towards Art (the notebooks))
Novel, Gyldendal 2009
De fattiga i Łódź (The Destitutes of Lodz)
Novel, Albert Bonniers Förlag 2009
Vad hjälper det en människa om hon häller rent vatten över sig i alla sina dagar (What Does It Help A Person If She Pours Clean Water Over Herself For All Of Her Days)
Poetry collection, Albert Bonniers Förlag 2009
Í havsins hjarta (In the Heart of the Sea)
Novel, Forlaget Sprotin 2007 (Danish translation by Jette Hoydal)
The winner will be announced 30 March 2010. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money down on Karl Ove Knausgård.
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .