The Nordic House is the administrative office for Nordic Council literature prizes. For further information please contact the Head of Secretariat Sofie Hermansen Eriksdatter.
Sofie Hermansen Eriksdatter
Head of Secretariat, The Nordic Council Literature Prizes
Danish author Jonas Eika has won the 2019 Nordic Council Literature Prize for the collection of short stories Efter Solen.
Eika has won the prize for a work that reminds us exactly why literature can do so much more than just mirror what we already know.
The jury said
The winner of the 2019 Nordic Council Literature Prize is a young author whose collection of short stories Efter Solen (‘After the sun’) has surprised and enthralled the jury with its global perspective, its sensual and imaginative language, and its ability to speak about contemporary political challenges without the reader feeling in any way directed to a certain place. Eika writes about a recognisable reality, regardless of whether we’re in Copenhagen, Mexico, or Nevada, and whether we’re among financial speculators, homeless boys, or people who believe in aliens. There is a real sense of poetic magic. Reality opens into other possibilities; other dimensions. There is something wonderful and hopeful in it that reminds us how literature can do more than just mirror what we already know.
Read more about the Nordic Council prizes.
The Nordic Council Literature Prize is awarded for a work of literature written in one of the languages of the Nordic countries, that meets “high literary and artistic standards”. Established in 1962, the prize is awarded every year and is worth 350,000 Danish kroner (2008). Eligible works are typically novels, plays, collections of poetry, short stories or essays, or other works that were published for the first time during the last four years, or in the case of works written in Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish, within the last two years. The prize is one of the most prestigious awards that Nordic authors can win.
The winner is chosen by an adjudication committee appointed by the Nordic Council. The committee consists of ten members, two each from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The committee members are generally experts in their own country’s literature, as well as their neighbouring countries. In addition to the regular members, additional members may be added to the committee if works are nominated from Åland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland or the Sami language area. Apart from the monetary award, the intent of the prize is also to “increase interest in the literature of neighbouring countries as well in Nordic cultural fellowship”.
The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize was awarded for the first time during the Nordic Council Session in 2013 at the same time as the other Nordic Council prizes and is since then awarded annually.
The award is the result of the Nordic Culture Ministers long-standing desire to strengthen and elevate literature for children and young people in the region.
The prize is, as well as all the other Nordic Council prizes, worth DKK 350,000 and is awarded in conjunction with the Nordic Council’s Annual Session.
The jury said
This year’s winning book has a somewhat enigmatic title. The title in Norwegian has a double meaning – “everyone counts/tells” – but it’s more than a Where’s Wally? book. It says that everyone should be counted and mean something; that everyone is unique and valuable. The number of people in the colourful pictures grows from a single boy looking at the stars, to thousands of people watching a rare comet. Although there are many stylised people in the pictures, they all have individual features that allow us to recognise them. In a variety of contexts and environments, they gradually emerge with the own distinctive lives. The text is poetic and funny. It arouses curiosity and gives us clues for understanding what’s going on in the pictures. With Alle sammen teller (available in English with the title Everyone counts, published by Magikon, 2018) Kristin Roskifte allows both the text and images to form part of a context that is different and unique within the tradition of a ‘Where’s Wally?’ style book. It is a work that can be read time and again, and each time we discover something new.