This year’s prize was awarded to Danish author Solvej Balle for the novel “Om udregning af rumfang I, II og III”, a work which the jury described as a masterpiece of its time. Last year, Niviaq Korneliussen was the first Greenlandic winner with “Naasuliardarpi – Blomsterdalen”, a beautiful but also painfully raw story about love, friendship, and suicide among young people in Greenland. Niviaq said:
“The Nordic Council Literature Prize has breathed new life into my novel, Blomsterdalen, which I think it deserves. The prize has sparked even more debate about the issues I touch on and, in Greenland in particular, it has been pivotal in discourse about the power of literature. Getting such great recognition has allowed me to continue working as a writer and given me the peace of mind to immerse myself in new book projects.” She continues:
“I’m the first Greenlandic author to win the Nordic Council Literature Prize, which has given Greenlandic literature an even greater voice in the Nordic Region, and it’s about time now that we in Greenland live in a time when we are finally allowed to tell our own history.”
New inroads into literature
The Nordic Council Literature Prize – which also attracts international attention – makes a big impression right across the Nordic Region and makes readers in all the Nordic countries aware of literature that they would otherwise not have become familiar with. Over the years, the prize-winning works have reflected the times we live in and opened up new inroads into literature. Throughout the prize’s 60-year existence, winning the Nordic Council Literature Prize has had a huge impact on the prizewinners’ authorship.
“The Nordic Council Literature Prize renewed my courage. The courage to write what I have to write. In a way that suits my voice. Without regard for conventions or norms. Straight from the heart. These are the words of Danish author Kirsten Thorup who won the 2017 Nordic Council Literature Prize for her novel “Erindring om kærligheden”.
The prize has been important also for Einar Már Guðmundsson, winner of the prize in 1995 for the work “Englar alheimsins”: “The Nordic Council Literature Prize is a very important prize not just within the Nordic countries, but it also opens doors to other areas of the world. I myself experienced a great deal of attention in connection with receiving the award in 1995. The Nordic Council Literature Prize has also helped carve the strong position that Nordic literature enjoys today.”
The Nordic Council Literature Prize renewed my courage. The courage to write what I have to write. In a way that suits my voice. Without regard for conventions or norms. Straight from the heart.
Words for the 60th anniversary
Herbjørg Wassmo, who won the prize in 1987 for the novel “Hudløs himmel” has the following words on the occasion of the literature prize’s 60th anniversary:
Like in a dream from the universe
A recognition from literary connoisseurs in the Nordic Council
Many years later, I want to thank you again
that someone saw my books
I’m sending my warmest congratulations on the 60th anniversary
Hip-hip hooray for those who honour literature!
Awarded since 1962
The Nordic Council Literature Prize is one of Europe’s best-known and most prestigious literary prizes. The prize is the Nordic Council’s oldest prize and was first awarded in 1962. The prize is DKK 300,000.
The pan-Nordic adjudication committee, consisting of two members from each Nordic country, selects the winner of the literature prize. Sara Abdollahi, the committee spokesperson in 2022, says the following about the significance of the Nordic Council Literature Prize over the years:
“Aesthetic quality is an important and absolutely crucial concept for culture, literature, and art. It differs from the marketable and the saleable. It is something which, rather than quantity, is about the existential, and about the possibilities of fiction and language. I believe this is at the heart of the Nordic Council Literature Prize. An award that, over 60 years, with great integrity, follows the literature, not the chapter and what is valid in the here and now.”
The prize is awarded for a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages. The work may be a novel, a play, or a collection of poems, short stories, or essays that are of a high literary and artistic quality. The aim of the prize is to generate interest in the languages and literature of the neighbouring countries and for the Nordic cultural community in general.
The text has been updated on 21 December 2022 to include the winner from 2022