A zest for reading Norwegian

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Some of the Norwegian titles that have been translated into other languages. Photo: Eivind Røhne/NORLA.

2017 was a record year for Norwegian literature abroad. Never before have more Norwegian titles been translated into other languages.

During 2017, 538 Norwegian books were granted support for translation by the Norwegian Literature Abroad (NORLA). This is a historic record for Norwegian literature abroad. “Never before have so many titles been granted translation support by NORLA”, said Margit Walsø, Director of NORLA. In comparison, “only” around 100 translations were granted support by NORLA in 2004.

NORLA promotes the export of Norwegian literature, and is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. Most of the Norwegian books that NORLA granted support for translation in 2017, were translated into German. The German book market is ranked the second biggest in the world, making the Norwegian presence even more exciting. An example of the success that Norwegian authors have had in Germany, is Maja Lunde’s book The History of Bees, which was the most-selling book in Germany last year.

There were also a large numbers of translations into other Nordic languages. Norwegian literature is particularly huge in Denmark, which is ranked as the second language of translation. English is at number three, and being the world’s largest book market, it promises good for the interest of Norwegian literature globally. Other languages, such as Spanish, Dutch, French and Russian, were among the languages on the list.

So far, 2018 has been a good year for Norwegian literature in India. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi was a Series Partner at this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival, together with the other Nordic Embassies. Norway was also the Country Partner at Jaipur Bookmark Festival, which was held at the same time.

Norway will be the Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019, marking its international position as a literature nation. We are looking forward to see how Norwegian literature will grow globally!