Vigdis Hjorth and Ursula Andkjær Olsen are both nominees for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2021. In this live stream they are interviewed by Swedish culture journalist, writer and translator Yukiko Duke.
The interview will be conducted in Scandinavian.
For several decades Vigdis Hjorth has been among the most prominent authors writing in Norwegian. Nevertheless, something has happened in recent years. Although she has gained more readers, more of her work has been translated into more languages, she has won more awards, and many critics would add that she has written books that are even better.
Er mor død (‘Is mother dead’, not translated into English) is a hectic, intense novel that brings together many of Hjorth’s central topics – liberation and conflict in close relationships, questions about who owns a story, whose perspective should guide the way, and how one is heard – in the condensed format of chamber theatre.
Ursula Andkjær Olsen (born in 1970) is a distinctive voice in recent Danish literature. She weaves together a range of different threads and components in her works, which mimic the structures of classical music. In her polyphonic and systemic compositions, language is a living organism, in which things acquire meaning via the relationships into which they enter, just like the world they describe. Following her debut in 2000, Ursula Andkjær Olsen became a leading figure in the new generation of poets who began to turn poetry more towards the world, by touching on such themes as society, gender, the body and politics. She has written more than 15 works, primarily collections of poems, as well as a novel and several hybrid works, and has continuously worked across the boundaries of the art forms.
In Mit smykkeskrin (‘My Jewellery Box’, not translated into English) the poems unfold in time and as threads to the other poems, in an impressive network structure. The collection of poems continues the topics of motherhood and loss that have been central to her writing since Det 3. årtusindes hjerte (2012) (Third-Millennium Heart, Broken Dimanche Press and Action Books 2017, translated into English by Katrine Øgaard Jensen).