Heidi von Wright (Finland) and Lív Maria Róadóttir Jæger (Faroe Islands) are both nominees for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2021. In this live stream they are interviewed by Malan Marnersdóttir.
Heidi von Wright (born in 1980) made her debut with skör och spräcklig (2003) – an artful collection of poems rooted in childhood and imagination, with a subtle emphasis on the pitfalls and possibilities of language. In addition to her seven poetry books, which all point to textual mysteries and linguistic miniature crystals, von Wright has also devoted herself to drawing comic strips on her blog. In 2020, together with Jolin Slotte, she wrote a number of short stories that are published in Märkligt verkligt – Verkligt märkligt, which she also illustrated.
Von Wright’s eighth book, Autofiktiv dikt av Heidi von Wright (‘Autofictional poetry by Heidi von Wright’, not translated into English) is, despite its name, not a regular collection of poems. Instead we’re dealing with a variety of prosalyrically designed anecdotes and memories. It is relatives who come into play – a maternal grandmother in particular, but also a maternal great grandmother, a maternal grandfather, a maternal great uncle, a paternal great grandfather, siblings, etc., and the lyric “I” itself. We hear about the maternal great uncle, who transported oil and died in a German bomber attack, the paternal grandfather whose piano was taken across the border and dumped in a ditch, the father who was born prematurely, lies in an incubator, and is given cognac: “a drop on a cloth”.
Liv Maria Róadóttir Jæger (born in 1981) published the poem recording Mítt navn við hondskrift (‘My Name in Handwriting’, not translated into English) in 2014, and her first poetry collection, Hvít sól (‘White Sun’, not translated into English) in 2015. She holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Copenhagen. Eg skrivi á vátt pappír is her second poetry collection.
The poems in Lív Maria Róadóttir Jæger’s Eg skrivi á vátt pappír (‘I Write on Wet Paper’, not translated into English) are rooted in relationships with other people and with texts by other poets, writers and philosophers. The concrete, the abstract and the everyday are portrayed soberly, and sometimes as simply and clearly as though in a logical analysis of concepts – but then suddenly the poetic language unfolds, an observation or sensation is interpreted, surrounded by an image that is then perhaps interrupted by quotations or by a very concrete statement from a teenage girl, who would rather be left alone.