Nordic prizes 2020 – on TV and online

15.10.20 | News
programledaren Halla Oddny Magnusdottir med pianisten Vikingur Olafsson

Den isländska programledaren Halla Oddny Magnusdottir med pianisten Vikingur Olafsson i bakgrunden under inspelningarna till årets digitala prisutdelning av Nordiska rådets priser.


The Icelandic host, Halla Oddný Magnúsdóttir, with the pianist Víkingur Ólafsson in the background during recordings for the annual award ceremony for the Nordic Council prizes. 

On 27 October, the Nordic Council will award its annual prizes during a TV special, which will be broadcast throughout the Nordic Region. COVID-19 may have put a stopper to the traditional ceremony inn Iceland, but the winners of the five prizes will be revealed at an online ceremony instead. The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, the novelist and artist Zinat Pirzadeh and the director and former prize winner Benedikt Erlingsson will be among those presenting the prizes.

Every year, the Nordic Council awards five prizes in recognition of Nordic literature, languages, music, and film, as well as innovative thinking in the field of the environment. The Icelandic delegation to the Nordic Council will host a somewhat different ceremony this year.

“COVID-19 forced us into a rethink, and the winners will be announced during a TV special. I am delighted that we will be able to welcome the whole of the Nordic Region to this special event and that we can all pay tribute to the nominees from the safety of our homes. These unique artists and driving forces in their fields are more than important than ever at a time when culture and the climate figure so prominently on the political agenda,” says the President of the Nordic Council, Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir.

Outstanding efforts in the fields of culture and the environment

The 51 works, initiatives, and artists nominated for the five Nordic Council prizes in 2020 include novels, short stories, picture books, poetry collections, dramas, a documentary, a pop album, a film score, symphonies, a beekeeper and a climate scientist. Each of the five winners will receive a Northern Lights statuette and DKK 350,000.

The awards will be made from the home or another of the presenter’s favourite places:

  • The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize 2020 will be presented by the President of Iceland, Guðni Thorlacious Jóhannesson Jóhannesson 
  • The Nordic Council Music Prize 2020 will be presented by the multi-instrumentalist and former winner Gyða Valtýsdóttir
  • The Nordic Council Environment Prize 2020 will be presented by Kira Lennert Olsen and Nuiana Hardenberg
  • The Nordic Council Film Prize 2020 will be presented by the director and former winner Benedikt Erlingsson
  • The Nordic Council Literature Prize 2020 will be presented by the comedian and artist Zinat Pirzadeh.

A more personal award ceremony – at home

The Icelandic host Halla Oddný Magnúsdóttir will present the TV special, treating viewers to performances by Iceland Dance Company, the internationally renowned pianist Víkingur Ólafsson and the indie band Of Monsters and Men. Rúnar Freyr Gíslason, RÚV TV producer, said:

“With everything that is going on at the moment, we wanted to make the ceremony more personal this year. We will visit people in their homes, or at other places where they feel at home, and take a peek at the artists in rehearsals or in their day-to-day lives. We hope the show will bring the Nordic countries together for the evening and remind us all that our culture and environment are what make us human and bind us together.”

Watch the award ceremony on TV or on the internet on 27 October

The award ceremony will start at 21:10 (CET) on 27 October, and the programme is being produced in collaboration with the Icelandic public service broadcaster RÚV.  Viewers can catch it as a live stream or on TV in all of the Nordic countries. See your national TV listings for details. The link for the stream will appear on

About the Nordic Council prizes

The Nordic Council prizes are among the most prestigious in the region and attract considerable international attention. The Literature Prize is the oldest of the five. It was first awarded in 1962 and has since been followed by the Music Prize, the Environment Prize, the Film Prize and the Children and Young People’s Literature Prize. Five adjudication committees select the nominees and the winner.