Since 1993 Nordbok has published an annual review, Nordisk Litteratur. Although possessing the form and appearance of a periodical, this publication has gradually developed into a literary yearbook. This year’s edition is a book of 184 pages, although still retaining the format of a periodical. The yearbook’s chief editor is Jógvan Isaksen, who comes from the Faeroe Islands and is a lecturer at the University of Copenhagen. He has written books on art and literature, also crime novels for children and adults. In addition to the chief editor, the yearbook has a staff of highly-qualified assistant editors representing all the Nordic countries. All the text in the yearbook is printed in parallel in two languages, English and one or other of the Nordic languages.Nordisk Litteraturaims to reflect what is new in Nordic literature. A large number of books are presented in short reviews, while some are given greater attention. There are also several articles on trends and developments in the world of books. This year’s edition is devoted to literature for the young and by the young. A number of articles examine what is happening among certain writers who made their debut in recent years. The Nordic children’s book is considered from several angles and evidence is provided to show that Nordic literature for children is still happily alive and remains independent in relation to norms and conventions.
As on previous occasions, this year’s edition of Nordisk Litteratur gives prominent place to the nominated candidates and the final winners of the Nordic Council’s prize for literature. This prize, now standing at DKK 350,000, has been awarded every year since 1962. A panel of judges, consisting of two members from each of the Nordic countries, chooses the winner from among the candidates nominated by the committee of each individual country. In addition to being a highly prestigious form of recognition both for the winners and for those nominated, this award plays a significant role in maintaining interest and understanding for the literature of neighbouring Nordic countries.
The Nordic Council’s prize for literature in 2003 was won by the Swedish author, Eva Ström, for her collection of poems, Revbensstäderna. In the introduction to a lengthy article on Eva Ström’s work the jury’s reasons for awarding her the prize were quoted – “Eva Ström is a singular voice in the landscape of Swedish poetry. She is a forerunner for a younger generation of poets and her work never stagnates. She tests the limits of the language and challenges the potential of the word. Revbensstäderna stands out because of her striking courage, her intensity and physicality, as well as the clarity with which she depicts the human condition today.”
Nordisk Litteratur offers a unique opportunity to obtain an overall view of what is happening today on the Nordic literary scene. Having now been published for more than 10 years, the yearbook also gains significance for those interested in a wider perspective. A project to make all editions electronically available has recently been completed and they are now accessible on Nordbok’s home page, http://www.nordbok.org.
Translated by Erik Deverill