About the Nordic Council Literature Prize

Vinnare av Nordiska rådets Litteraturpris 2017
Photographer
Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org
The purpose of the Literature Prize is to promote interest in the literature and language of the neighbouring countries. It is awarded annually along with the other Nordic Council prizes for music, film, and the environment and children and young people’s literature.

The Nordic Council Literature Prize, awarded since 1962, goes to a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages. In this context, a work of fiction is considered to be poetry, prose, or drama that meets high literary and artistic standards.

As the statutes for the prize say, the purpose is to generate greater interest in the sense of Nordic cultural community and to recognise unique artistic endeavours. All of the Nordic prizes help to highlight Nordic co-operation and increase its visibility

Nordic Committee chooses winner

The Nordic Adjudication Committee selects the winner. It is made up of two members from each of the Nordic nations.

One of the members from Finland must be a Finnish speaker, the other a Swedish speaker. They must all be experts in the literature of their own country, but also, as far as possible, experts in the literature of the neighbouring countries as well.

In years when works are nominated from the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland or the Sámi language area, appropriate representatives are co-opted onto the committee.

National committees nominate

The members and the substitute from each country make up national adjudication committees, each of which nominates a maximum of two literary works. Three weeks before the prize is awarded, the Nordic adjudication committee will notify the directors of the Nordic Council of its decision regarding the winner together with its motivations.

Ceremony at Session

The Literature Prize is handed over, along with the prizes for music, film, environment and children and young people’s literature at an awards ceremony during the annual autumn Session of the Nordic Council. The Nordic House in Reykjavik is responsible for the administration of the DKK 350,000 prize (approx. €47 000, the same as the other prizes).