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Norvik Press Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

Still going strong – Norvik Press at 30 and the enduring appeal of Selma Lagerlöf

Norvik Press celebrates its 30th Anniversary with our double book launch of Mårbacka and Anna Svärd at the event Still Going Strong: Norvik Press at 30 & Selma Lagerlöf’s Enduring Appeal at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL.

Monday, 10 October 2016 from 18:00 to 20:00
IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
Please follow this link

9781909408296The publication of the last volume of the Löwensköld trilogy and of the first volume of the Mårbacka trilogy by Swedish Nobel Prize Winner Selma Lagerlöf coincides with the thirtieth anniversary of Norvik Press Ltd, a small and intrepid independent publishing house specialising in Nordic literature, based at University College London. Set up in 1986 by Professor Janet Garton and Professor James McFarlane (two leading scholars in the field of Scandinavian Studies), Norvik Press took on the task of making Nordic classics and scholarship on Nordic literature and culture available to English-speaking readers.

9781909408289-PerfectCC.inddThis event will feature a panel discussion about the work of the publishing house and speculate on reasons for its staying power and for that of its ground-breaking ‘Lagerlöf in English’ series. Linda Schenck (translator of the Löwensköld trilogy), Dr Sarah Death (translator of Mårbacka) and Professor Janet Garton will present the new additions to the Lagerlöf series, discuss various aspects of Lagerlöf’s writing and consider Norvik’s track record in publishing women authors in translation, currently way above the national average. The discussion will be chaired by  Professor  John Mullan, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

About the speakers:

Sarah Death has translated works by many Swedish writers including Victoria Benedictsson, Fredrika Bremer, Kerstin Ekman and Selma Lagerlöf. She is one of the directors of Norvik Press and took over the editorship of its ‘Lagerlöf in English’ on the death of its prime mover, Helena Forsås-Scott. She was the editor of Swedish Book Review from 2003 to 2015. She has twice won the triennial George Bernard Shaw Prize for translation from Swedish, and was awarded the Swedish Academy’s Translation Prize in 2008. In 2014 she received the Royal Order of the Polar Star for services to Swedish literature.

Janet Garton is Emeritus Professor of European Literature at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. She has published a number of books on Scandinavian literature, including Norwegian Women’s Writing (1993), the edited letters of Amalie and Erik Skram (3 vols., 2002) and a biography of Amalie Skram, Amalie – et forfatterliv (2011). She is a director of Norvik Press, and has translated several works of Norwegian and Danish literature, including Knut Faldbakken: The Sleeping Prince (1988), Bjørg Vik: An Aquarium of Women (1987), Kirsten Thorup: The God of Chance (2013), and Johan Borgen: Little Lord (2016).

Linda Schenck grew up in the United States and has lived in Sweden since 1972. After a fulfilling career as a simultaneous interpreter and translator, she has now retired and devotes her working time to translation of literature. Linda’s first translation for Norvik Press was published in 1997.

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Women in Translation Month

Women in Translation Month

August is #WomenInTranslation (#WITmonth) month, which is a particular cause for celebration at Norvik Press, because we are rightly proud of our many women authors, as well as the fine translators – female and male – who have brought them into English.

Norvik’s collection includes not only famous names of the past such as Amalie Skram and Edith Södergran but also a range of leading contemporary writers including Kerstin Ekman and Kirsten Thorup. In our continuing ‘Lagerlöf in English’ series, we are committed to bringing new, unabridged translations of classic Selma Lagerlöf works to a new audience.

A justified concern has been expressed of late about the lack of women authors being translated into English, a debate well summarised by Katy Derbyshire in a Guardian piece earlier this year: The Guardian article >

The average percentage of female-authored works translated across the board is put in the article at 26%, whereas Norvik Press’s figures are 48%. Since 2009, Norvik Press has been run by an all-woman team and the female part of our list has gone from strength to strength; in our new titles for 2016 it will constitute 60%.

In 2017 we will be continuing in the same vein with new projects including Vigdis Hjorth’s A House in Norway (transl. Charlotte Barslund), which was awarded a prestigious PEN Translates grant this spring.

This autumn Norvik Press will celebrate its 30th anniversary and as part of this event, to be held at University College London, we will be launching the latest additions to our Lagerlöf series, the first of them completing one trilogy and the second embarking on another: Anna Svärd (transl. Linda Schenck) and Mårbacka (transl. Sarah Death). Date and venue details will be announced later.

Our latest catalogue can be downloaded from the Norvik Press website. To whet your appetite, here are some of our titles by women writers:

9781909408227Kerstin Ekman 
Translated by Rochelle Wright

9781909408036Kerstin Thorup
God of Chance
Translated by Janet Garton


Svava Jakobsdóttir
Gunnlöth’s Tale
Translated by Oliver Watts

9781909408272Viivi Luik
The Beauty of History
Translated by Hildi Hawkins

9781909408081Amalie Skram

Translated by Katherine Hanson
and Judith Messick

9781909408289-PerfectCC.inddSelma Lagerlöf
Anna Svärd
Translated by Linda Schenck

9781909408296Selma Lagerlöf
Translated by Sarah Death


Victoria Benedictsson
Translated by Sarah Death

9781870041720Helene Uri
Honey Tongues 
Translated by Kari Dickson

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Memorial Event for Professor Forsås-Scott

A memorial event will be held at UCL on the 17th May 2016 to honour the life and work of Professor Helena Forsås-Scott, a much respected Director at Norvik Press.

Nordic-Childrens-Literature-Event-Helenas-presentation-1Memorial Event for Professor Forsås-Scott
Tuesday 17 May 2016, 2-4.30pm
Haldane Room, Wilkins Building
Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT

Helena joined UCL in 1994 and retired in 2010 as Professor of Swedish and Gender Studies. She was a pioneering force in Gender Studies at UCL and a much-loved colleague, supervisor, mentor and teacher in the Department of Scandinavian Studies.

Helena’s major publications include Re-Writing the Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner (2009), Gender-Power-Text: Gender and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Scandinavia (2004), Swedish Women’s Writing 1850-1995 (1997) and A Century of Swedish Narrative: Essays in Honour of Karin Petherick (1994).

Helena was a Director of Norvik Press and Editor of the ground-breaking translation series Lagerlöf in English.

Personal reflections
During the event there will be short contributions from some of Helena’s friends and colleagues. We would however also like to collate personal reflections from those who knew and admired Helena’s work. If you would like to share your personal reflections on Helena and her work, please email these to

Book a place
A limited number of spaces will be available for this event so we would kindly ask those who wish to attend to book a place as soon as possible via Eventbrite: Book a Place >

Norvik Press
The University of Edinburgh
The University of Washington
Scandinavica, An International Journal of Scandinavian Studies (pdf)
SELTA (The Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association)
Swedish Book Review

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EU literature in translation from independent publishers

A few months ago, the brilliant Dedalus Books got in touch to request a few examples of our Nordic fiction in translation that could be included in a list surveying literature from, or set in, EU nations.* The complete list was published in The Guardian today. Maybe our intrepid readers will discover something new from an unexpected corner of Europe? The Guardian Bookshop is going to carry a selection of works listed, but you can, as always, find stockists of Norvik Press publications via our website and at many good bookshops, online and offline alike.

The link to today’s Guardian article is here >>>

*Not EEA nations: so examples of our publications from Norway and Iceland are not included. Our translation of Viivi Luik’s The Beauty of History (trans. Hildi Hawkins) is listed under Latvia, although it’s an Estonian novel, because much of the novel takes place in Latvia.

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Jógvan Isaksen’s Walpurgis Tide: Book Launch

Norvik Press and the Representation of the Faroes in London cordially invite you to to a wine reception to launch the English translation of the Faroese thriller Walpurgis Tide. Featuring a Q&A with author9781909408241 Jógvan Isaksen, translator John Keithsson, and critic Barry Forshaw.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
6.00 – 7.30 pm

at the Embassy of Denmark
55 Sloane Street
London SW1X 9SR


by Wednesday 27 January 2016.
Please note that guests will be required to bring photographic identification to the event.
Walpurgis Tide is available at all good bookstores.
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Professor Helena Forsås-Scott

Helena Forsås-Scott
Helena Forsås-Scott. Image Credit

Norvik Press is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death, after a short illness, of Professor Helena Forsås-Scott, one of our Directors and founder and Editor of our translation series Lagerlöf in English. Helena joined UCL in 1994 and retired in 2010 as Professor of Swedish and Gender Studies. Helena was a pioneering force in Gender Studies at UCL and a much-loved colleague, supervisor, mentor and teacher in the Department of Scandinavian Studies. Her major publications include Re-Writing the Script: Gender and Community in Elin Wägner (2009), Gender-Power-Text: Gender and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Scandinavia (2004), Swedish Women’s Writing 1850-1995 (1997) and A Century of Swedish Narrative: Essays in Honour of Karin Petherick (1994).

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Book Launch: Terminal Innocence

Join us in Soho on Tuesday May 5th, 6-7.30pm, for the launch of Klaus Rifbjerg’s Terminal Innocence. Featuring translator Paul Larkin and Dr Mikkel Bruun Zangenberg, Danish literary critic and Lecturer at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Paul and Mikkel will be in conversation, telling us all about Rifbjerg’s role in twentieth-century Danish literature, and discussing the perils and pleasures of translating a novel that has been described as the Danish Catcher in the Rye. Light refreshments and light entertainment from the 1940s supplied.

This event is free, but places are limited, so please RSVP by Thursday 30 April to The venue is the ArtFix Space, 27 Peter Street. London W1F 0AJ (ArtFix’s website is here:

You can read more about the novel and its author, Klaus Rifbjerg, in this recent blogpost.

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New publication: Klaus Rifbjerg’s Terminal Innocence, trans. Paul Larkin

On Easter Sunday, Denmark awoke to the news that one of its most prolific, influential, and best-loved writers had passed away after a long illness. Klaus Rifbjerg (born 1931) debuted as a poet in 1956, and authored some 175 works: novels, plays, collections of poetry and short stories, screenplays and many other genres. He was particularly influential as a pioneer of modernism in Danish poetry. His first novel, Den kroniske uskyld (1958), is still recognised as one of his masterpieces.

Den kroniske uskyld is narrated by Janus Tolne, a Copenhagen schoolboy whose life is enlivened by the arrival of a new friend, Tore Riemer. Through Janus’ eyes, we catch glimpses of life under the German occupation of Denmark (1940-45), but his main preoccupation is his beloved Tore and, by extension, Tore’s girlfriend Helle. Locked in a chaste ménage à trois with this glamorous couple, Janus navigates his way through the waters of teenage firsts: girls, drinking, graduating from high school. As readers, we live this perplexing and, at times mortifying process of transformation along with Janus. But we know, too, perhaps before Janus does, that Tore and Helle are caught in some strange stasis, trapped in a web spun by Helle’s monstrous mother. As the title of the novel suggests, their innocence seems to be a chronic and terminal condition.

Terminal Innocence coverWith his translation, entitled Terminal Innocence, Irish translator and author Paul Larkin has captured the playfulness of Rifbjerg’s language in this novel, as well as his ability to capture the joy of the everyday and generate fresh perspectives on existence. Den kroniske uskyld has been translated into eight languages, including French, German, Polish and Czech, but it has not been available in English until now – perhaps because of the challenges posed for the translator by the fresh, rebellious, exuberant voice of Rifbjerg’s narrator.

While Rifbjerg did not live to see his debut novel published in English, Paul Larkin discussed the translation with him in person. Paul’s account of their meetings is available in his essay ‘The Day I Met Klaus Rifbjerg’ (links to – login may be required).

Terminal Innocence is available at all good bookstores.