New anthology looks at Nordic literature for children and young people

29.11.19 | News
På tværs af Norden

Illustration from the anthology “På tværs af Norden” (Across the Nordic region).

“Can you really write stuff like that for kids?” “På tværs af Norden” (Across the Nordic region) is a new research-based anthology providing a unique insight into the latest trends in literature for children and young people in the Nordic region. The result of a creative Nordic collaboration process, the anthology brings together perspectives on literature from a range of stakeholders.

The Nordic region has a strong tradition of literature for children and young people. In fact, with a few exceptions, it is currently the best selling and most read literature in the region. The idea behind the anthology is to inspire collaboration and progress. The contents consist of an interdisciplinary mix of text and images from academics, professional communicators, authors and illustrators.

Children’s creativity is also stressed. Reading is important, but the ability to write and process what you read in various ways is even more important.

Mixed bag

The anthology contains ten essays, which are a mixture of letters, poetry, illustrations and research findings, which reflect on the children's literature scene in the region, ask whether Nordic picture books are for a particular age group and discuss the concept of quality. It also contains articles on young people’s increasing interest in dystopias and reworked folk tales, the variety, form and imagination found in children’s poetry as well as the new opportunities thrown up by the digital age.

Sofie Hermansen Eriksdatter, the project manager behind the anthology and head of the Secretariat for the Nordic Council literature prizes, sums up the process.

“The anthology is a fine demonstration of cross-pollination between sectors and genres. It provides an outlet for academics, communicators, publishers, authors and illustrators involved in literature for children and young people in the Nordic region to convey their knowledge and experience to others and to seek inspiration.”

An important part of the dystopias discussed is about how important it is to master new technology but not to be mastered by it.

Humour, emotion and depth bring people together

Authors, illustrators, publishers, academics and others involved in Nordic literature for children and young people met in Denmark in June 2019 at a seminar exploring contemporary literature and ways of working more closely together at Nordic level. Three days later, they had a writing group, had produced letters and illustrations and created a dynamic new meeting place.


“På tværs af Norden” is the first of three anthologies in a project that will last from 2019 until 2021. It is part of the culture ministers’ focus on children and young people’s literature called “LØFTET”, which has existed since 2013 when the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize was established.