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The Nordic Council Literature Prize

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess presented the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2018 to Icelandic author Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir at the Oslo Opera House this evening.


Crown Princess Mette-Marit was pleased to present the prize to Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir for her book Ör (in English: “Scar”). The Nordic Council Literature Prize 2018 was awarded for “a work full of subtle humour and sparkling, vital language, which asks the big questions about life and death.”

The Nordic Council Literature Prize 2018 was awarded for “a work full of subtle humour and sparkling, vital language, which asks the big questions about life and death.”

Öris Ms Ólafsdóttir’s fifth novel. Her other work includes a collection of poems, plays, and song lyrics for an Icelandic band. She was born in Reykjavik in 1958 and has taught art science and art history at the University of Iceland and at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. 

Crown Princess Mette-Marit congratulates Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir of Iceland on winning the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2018. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix.

Celebrated Nordic culture

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was also in attendance at the awards ceremony, which celebrated outstanding Nordic efforts in culture and the environment. The literature prize is awarded along with the Nordic Council prizes for literature for children and young people, music, film and environmental efforts. The autumn Session of the Nordic Council is convening in Norway this week, and the ceremony awarding the prestigious prizes is one of the highlights.

The awards ceremony, broadcast on NRK TV this evening, was hosted by Linda Eide and Hans-Olav Brenner, with musical performances by Susanne Sundfør, Dagny, Jarle Bernhoft, Marja Mortensson, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, the Norwegian National Opera Chorus and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK).

Marja Mortensson on stage during the awards ceremony at Oslo Opera House. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

Prestigious prize

The Nordic Council Literature Prize, awarded since 1962, goes to a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages. In this context, a work of fiction is defined as a novel, a play, or a collection of poetry, short stories or essays that meets high literary and artistic standards. The purpose of the prize is to promote interest in the literature and language of the neighbouring countries, as well as in the Nordic cultural community.

The Crown Princess expressed thanks to the Nordic Council this evening for bringing greater attention to all the authors and their works over the years:

“The Nordic Council Literature Prize has played a special role through the years, highlighting some of our finest authors. Without the Nordic Council spotlight, I and thousands of other readers would have missed out on works by important authors and some wonderful literary experiences.”

The Nordic Council Literature Prize 2018 was awarded to Iceland's Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix.

In all, 13 authors were nominated for this year’s literature prize:

  • From Denmark: Caroline Albertine Minor: Velsignelser (in English: “Blessings”) and Vita Andersen: Indigo (in English: “Indigo. Novel of a childhood”)

  • From Finland: Susanne Ringell: God morgon (in English: “Good morning”) and Olli-Pekka Tennilä: Ontto harmaa (in English: “Hollow grey”)

  • From the Faroe Islands: Jóanes Nielsen: Gudahøvd (in English: “God’s head”)

  • From Greenland: Magnus Larsen:Illinersiorluni ingerlavik inussiviuvoq (in English: “You meet many people on the path of life on the sled track”)

  • From Iceland: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir: Ör (in English: “Scar”) and Sigurður Pálsson: Ljóð muna rödd (in English: “Poems recall a voice”)

  • From Norway: Roskva Koritzinsky: Jeg har ennå ikke sett verden (in English: “I’ve yet to see the world”) and Carl Frode Tiller: Begynnelser (in English: “Beginnings”)

  • From Sweden: Gunnar D. Hansson: Tapeshavet (in English: Tapeshavet is the name of an old stretch of coastline that formed on Sweden’s west coast after the last Ice Age) and Agneta Pleijel: Doften av en man (in English, “The scent of a man”)

  • From the Aaland Islands: Carina Karlsson: Algot

Other prizes

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was also among those to present prizes this evening. She presented the Nordic Council Environment Prize to the Natural Resource Council of Attu, West Greenland, for its work in documenting and communicating the local inhabitants’ knowledge about and experience with the marine environment.

Erna Solberg presents the Nordic Council Environment Prize to the Attu Natural Resource Council, Greenland. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix.

Actor Jakob Oftebro presented the Nordic Council Film Prize for the Icelandic film Kona fer í stríð (in English: “Woman at War”).

Gunilla Bergström, author and illustrator the Albert Åberg books, presented the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize Nordisk to Bárður Oskarsson of the Faroe Islands, whose publisher accepted the prize on his behalf.

Singer-composer Sofia Jernberg presented the Nordic Council Music Prize to Norwegian composer-organist Nils Henrik Asheim for his work Muohta (“Snow”).

Nils Henrik Asheim of Norway won the Nordic Council Music Prize 2018. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix.

After the award presentations, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess had a chance to greet the evening’s prizewinners. 



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