The purpose of the Nordic Council prizes is to increase interest in the Nordic cultural community and in environmental co-operation, as well as to recognise outstanding artistic and environmental initiatives. The prizes will help to highlight Nordic co-operation and increase its visibility
§ 1. General conditions
The Nordic Council Literature Prize was established in 1961 following the recommendation of the Nordic Council.
The statutes for the Nordic Council Literature Prize are jointly agreed by the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The statutes are to be revised at the request of either the Nordic Council or the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Should the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers agree, the statutes and thus the Nordic Council Literature Prize shall be brought to an end.
Funding for the activity will be provided by the Nordic Council of Ministers within the budget for Nordic cultural co-operation. The size of the Nordic Council Literature Prize will be determined together with the budget.
The prize is administered by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic Council of Ministers may enter into an agreement with a third party for it to act as the secretariat for the prize (the prize secretariat).
§ 2. The prize-winning work
The prize is awarded for a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages by a living writer.
A Nordic language is considered to be either Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Greenlandic, Faroese, or Sami.
In this context, a work of fiction is considered to be poetry, prose, or drama that meets high literary and artistic standards.
As part of the assessment, works that may be considered eligible are those in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish that have been first published in one of the two calendar years preceding the year in which the prize is awarded. Works in Greenlandic, Faroese, or Sami and works from Åland that are first published in one of the four calendar years preceding the year in which the prize is awarded may also qualify.
The Nordic adjudication committee may decide that the prize is to be shared provided that the chosen work has multiple authors – for example, a collaboration between a writer and an illustrator or the like.
The winner will be announced and the prize awarded once a year in conjunction with an event to be decided by the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council must inform the prize secretariat of when and where the prize will be awarded no later than the beginning of the calendar year.
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.
§ 3. The national adjudication committee and the Nordic adjudication committee
National adjudication committees in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as a Nordic adjudication committee, are to be affiliated with the Nordic Council Literature Prize.
In consultation with the Nordic Council and the prize secretariat, the Nordic Council of Ministers is establishing a handbook for the administration of the prize. This is being determined in the context of the rules on, e.g.:
- The activities of the adjudication committee
- The annual cycle of the prize
- Voting rules, and
- Remuneration to the members of the adjudication committees and their deputies
The national adjudication committees
A national adjudication committee from each country nominates candidates for the prize.
The national adjudication committees consist of two members and one deputy member each from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, and one member and one deputy from each of the two language regions of Finland.
The members and deputies of the national adjudication committees are appointed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (by the Secretary General) on the recommendation of the national ministers for culture for four years with the option to extend this by a further four years. Ordinary members and deputies rotate in accordance with a rotation system as described in Appendix 2 of the handbook.
Members and deputies who have served for two four-year periods in succession may be reappointed after a four-year break.
One work may be nominated from the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Åland, and the Sami language areas. In these cases, the work is nominated by the applicable country/area’s author organisation or similar body. A representative of each author organisation or equivalent body for the applicable country/area is assigned to the adjudication committee as an adjunct. Each area’s national body for culture will inform the Nordic Council of Ministers who it has appointed as an adjunct. The adjunct member participates in the adjudication committee’s activities on the same terms as its other ordinary members.
Members and deputies must be experts in their own country’s literature and to the greatest extent possible in the literature of the other Nordic countries.
Each national committee must propose two works. In addition, one work in Faroese, one in Greenlandic, one in Sami, and one work from Åland may be nominated.
The nominations must be made no later than six months before the prize is due to be awarded.
The national adjudication committee is sworn to secrecy regarding the works that are nominated until they are made public.
The Nordic adjudication committee
The Nordic adjudication committee selects the winner based on the nominations made by the national adjudication committees.
The Nordic adjudication committee consists of ten members and is made up of the ordinary members of the national adjudication committees: Two each from Denmark, Finland (one from each language area), Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as any adjunct members from Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Åland, and the Sami language area.
The Nordic adjudication committee will decide on when and how the nominations will be made public.
Members of both the national and Nordic adjudication committees are responsible for taking bias into account in the assessment of specific works. If a member is considered biased, he or she may not take part in the discussion and assessment of this or these works. A member subject to bias may be replaced by the designated deputy. If there is disagreement regarding the existence of bias, this shall be decided by the spokesperson or vice spokesperson.
The national adjudication committees’ decisions on nominations and the Nordic adjudication committee’s decision on the winner are final and cannot be appealed before any higher body.
§ 4. The activities of the Nordic adjudication committee
The Nordic adjudication committee is operated by the Nordic Council of Ministers or a third party commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The spokesperson and vice spokesperson of the Nordic adjudication committee are appointed in accordance with the rotation system described in the handbook.
The Nordic adjudication committee constitutes a quorum in which at least one representative from each participating country and any adjunct members from Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Åland, and the Sami language area are present.
If, in exceptional circumstances, their participation is not possible, they may participate by way of another member from the national adjudication committee acting as a proxy or via a means of telecommunication.
The Nordic adjudication committee shall make its decision by way of a simple majority in all issues except for the decision of who to award the prize to, for which special rules apply as described in the section of the handbook on voting rules. Each member has one vote.
The Nordic adjudication committee is sworn to secrecy regarding the winning work until this is made public.
The Nordic adjudication committee normally holds one meeting a year. Minutes of the adjudication committee’s meetings are taken.
§ 5. Administration and finance
The Nordic Council of Ministers may enter into agreements with third parties for the performance of the function of prize secretariat. The prize secretariat handles the tasks related to the administration of the prize and the servicing of the adjudication committees. The prize secretariats tasks etc. are determined in the handbook.
The financial year of prize activities follows the calendar year.
Reporting and administration of finances must take place in accordance with Nordic Council of Ministers’ rules for budgeting, financial administration, bookkeeping, and auditing, as well as with other rules laid down by the council of ministers.
Remuneration to members and deputies is paid in accordance with the decision made by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Current rates are stated in the handbook.