2014 Kjell Westö, Finland: Hägring 38

2014  Kjell Westö, Finland: Hägring 38
Fotograf: Cata Portin

About the author

Kjell Westö was born in 1961 in Helsinki, where he lives to this day, although he also spends a lot of his time in Stockholm. He studied journalism at the Swedish School of Social Science and literature at the University of Helsinki. Early on in his career, Westö worked as a journalist for the newspapers Hufvudstadsbladet and Ny Tid, but soon became a freelance author. Although his writing encompasses a variety of genres, including everything from poetry to short stories and essays, he is especially well known for his novels.

About the winning piece

The year is 1938. Adolf Hitler’s expansion policy invokes both anger and admiration, not least in the so-called Wednesday Club in Helsinki – an informal discussion forum, consisting of some old friends of the lawyer Claes Thune. Club nights are as much an excuse to hit the bottle as to talk politics, but in 1938 it becomes clear that the rifts in Europe are reflected at the Wednesday Club.

Hägring 38

Published by: Schildts & Söderströms 

Publication year: 2013

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

Finnish author Kjell Westö won the Nordic Council Literature Prize for his novel Hägring 38 (in English “Mirage 38”) thanks to its “evocative prose that breathes life into a critical moment in Finland’s history – one that has links to the present day”.