Pajtim Statovci (FI )and Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir (IS) are nominees for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2021. In this live stream they are interviewed by Sofie Hermansen Eriksdatter from the secretariat of The Nordic Council Literature Prizes.
Pajtim Statovci was born in Kosovo in 1990. At the age of two he came to Finland and grew up in the town of Porvoo. His first novel, Kissani Jugoslavia (2014) (published in 2017 as My Cat Yugoslavia by Pushkin Press in David Hackston’s translation), was an immediate breakthrough. It gave Finnish literature a new circle of motifs: Europe’s war-torn south-eastern corner and people wandering between identities and cultures. Statovci is a master of the Finnish language. His texts are exceptionally colourful and multidimensional; there are places where every sentence and every metaphor surprise and offer up fresh perspectives. Statovci’s second novel, Tiranan sydän (2016) (published in 2018 as Crossing by Pantheon Books in David Hackston’s translation), was nominated for the 2019 US National Book Award for translated literature. Bolla (2019) will be released in Norwegian in May 2021 by Gyldendal and later in the autumn in Swedish by Nordstedts. This will be followed by publication in Germany by Luchterhand, Italy by Sellerio, the Netherlands by De Geus, the United States by Pantheon, and the United Kingdom by Faber & Faber. The book made him the youngest ever recipient of the Finlandia Prize.
Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir (born in 1976) is a writer and poet. Aðferðir til að lifa af is her ninth novel. In 2012, she was awarded the Icelandic Literature Prize for her novel Allt med kossi vekur (‘Everything Is Woken with a Kiss’, not translated into English), and her novel Fyrirlestur um hamingjuna (‘Lecture on Happiness’, not translated into English) was nominated for the same prize in 2000. In 2005, she was also awarded the DV Culture Prize for her novel Yosoy (not translated into English).
The scene that Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir paints for the reader in Aðferðir til að lifa af (‘Methods of Survival’, not translated into English), is quiet, but at the same time swelling with life like the late summer itself. In this world, dogs wear out their leashes while peace settles on the city. In the same way, humanity simmers in the characters that the author brings onto the stage. A young girl struggles with anorexia, with emotions raging inside her; a middle-aged man, previously a workhorse, becomes disabled and is stumbling towards an uncertain future; a widow feels like a sack of glass shards, and an unhappy boy roams the city, where most people seem to both pity and fear him.