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Nordic Literature in focus at the Gothenburg Book Fair 2021

Today on the 24th of August, the book fair releases their program for this year, in which Nordic literature is one of the three core themes. On behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Nordic House in Reykjavik has curated a program with exciting encounters between Nordic authors to this year’s book fair.  

The annual book fair in Gothenburg is one of the major literary events and an important venue for encounters between Nordic literary professionals. This year the book fair has been transformed into a hybrid event, in which discussions will be recorded and broadcasted live on the platform Bokmässan Play. One of the main areas of focus this year is Nordic literature, where acknowledged and beloved authors are invited to discuss with exciting new voices in Nordic literature.

Six Nordic authors engaging in compelling conversations

In the Nordic program of this year, six authors from the Nordic countries will engage in discussions that touch upon the particular focus areas of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision regarding Nordic cooperation.

  • Authors Vigdis Hjorth (NO) and Pajtm Statvoci (FI) are both nominated for Nordic Council Literature Prize of 2021; Hjort for her novel Er Mor Død and Statvoci for the novel Statvoci and Hjort will be discussing with author and cultural writer Amanda Svensson (SE) about identity and crisis, internal as well as external, in Nordic literature.


  • A socially sustainable Nordic region will be at the core in the discussion between the Danish author Hanne Højgaard Viemose, a nominee for the Nordic Council literature prize in 2020 for her novel HHV-FRSHWN – Dødsknaldet i Amazonas, and Icelandic Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, whose novel Aðferðir til að lifa af has been nominated for this year’s award. They will discuss how social sustainability, or its opposite, is portrayed in Nordic literature. The discussion will be monitored by Elisabeth Friis (DK), senior lecturer in literature at Lund University and a member of the Danish Prize Committee for the Nordic Council Literature Prize.


  • Andri Snær Magnason (IS), whose novel Um tímann og vatnið  is nominated to this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize, will be discussing with Gunnar D Hansson (SE), who was a nominee for the same prize in 2018 with his novel Tapeshavet. Together with Magnason, Hansson will discuss a green Nordic region – How do Nordic authors write about and write in a green Nordic region? What role does literature play in a green future and what opportunities will unfold within the framework of literature? Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir (IS) will be moderating the discussion, that will be recorded at the Nordic House in Reykjavík.

The Gothenburg Book Fair occurs between the 23rd-26th of September 2021.


Here you can buy a ticket to the event or to the online platform Bokmässan Play

Here you can find the program for the Gothenburg Book Fair


Today, the annual meeting on Icelandic foreign policy takes place in the Nordic House. The seminar is a collaboration with the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its title is: “International cooperation at a crossroad: where is Iceland heading?”

This is a relevant question, and it is clear that international cooperation is at a crossroad after the pandemic that we have experienced in the past year. On the one hand, we are globally closer to each other due to the common experience and the digital platforms that have become part of our everyday lives. On the other hand, we have seen closed borders and stronger nationalistic tendencies.

When we talk about the future, we need to have this conversation with children and young people. They worry. They are not worried about having a bright future.They are worried about not having a future. Today’s young people are informed and smart. For the first time in history, knowledge is not passed on from the older generation to the younger generation, but vice versa. The young people use alternative platforms and media for discussions, but should still be taken seriously. The phenomenon itself is not new – new platforms have always emerged when the conventional ones did not provide space.

We are thus at a crossroad where we must be able to redefine competence and the “know-hows” and see what skills are needed in the future. How can we make room for young people? It is not enough that they are consulted in the processes – they must also be given an active role in the discussions about the big issues and included in the decision-making.

The future is for children and young people, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they do not lose hope.


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