Gott nytt år! And Grattis SELTA!

My childhood was rich in book experiences, especially those coming from other countries. The first encounters with the Swedish literature happened thanks to Teresa Chłapowska, the outstanding translator from Swedish to Polish. She was the one who had bridged two languages with knowledge, precision and fun. Her exquisite translations allowed us to we get to know authors such as Tove Jansson, Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, Gösta Knutsson and Åke Holmberg. The social climate at the time in Poland encouraged publishing the books which are rightly considered classics all over the world. Fizia Pończoszanka (Pippi Långstrump / Longstocking) and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, The Six Bullerby Children, and the entire Moomin world have always been part of my education and reference points in the literary context.

Years later I began to read Swedish literature in English and discovered a new universe of English translators who work tirelessly to bring all genres of books across the language border. Many of them (all?) are members of The Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association SELTA. The association aims to promote the publication of Swedish and Finland-Swedish literature in English, and to represent the interests of those involved in the translation process. SELTA held its first Annual Meeting in April 1982, and throughout November and December 2022 it has been celebrating its 40th birthday. Today might be the last day of the celebration yet it is not the end of hard work, collaboration between publishers, cultural and literary organisations, Embassies and many individuals who make this happen and continue. SELTA also produces the online Swedish Book Review which does indeed expand horizons, with its variety of texts, translated extracts of Swedish works, reviews etc SBR covers popular genre fiction, literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and novels for young adults.

Rather than summarizing the articles and practical information that SELTA shares on its website which in itself is a fantastic resource for anyone interested, I would like to share some of my reviews and to reintroduce translators who are simply brilliant and together with the Swedish authors bring unique works to the English-speaking readers. You might have read these books, you might want to add them to the reading list for future. New year 2023 is round the corner. So shall we read as we enter the unknown…? BUT: there is absolutely no pressure to click on all those links below… As I was searching for names of authors and translators, and the English titles, I realised that we are really lucky have so much to choose from, and I enjoyed looking back and remembering what I have read over the years… Another case of too many books, too little time?

Let me start with the winners of the Petrona Awards for the best Scandinavian Crime Novel published in the UK in a previous calendar year. Agnes Broomé translated Maria Adolfsson’s Fatal Isles, winner in 2022. Deborah Bragan-Turner translated Mikael Niemi’s To Cook A Bear, winner in 2021, Rachel Willson-Broyles Malin Persson Giolito’s Quicksand, winner in 2018, and Neil Smith, translator of Liza Marklund’s Last Will (winner in 2013) and Leif G W Persson’s Linda, as in The Linda Murder (winner in 2014). In the ten years’ history of the Petrona Award Swedish books took half of the trophies.

It appears that I have read and revied several books translated by my favourite Swedish (and Norwegian) translator Neil Smith: Watching You by Arne Dahl, Hunted by Arne Dahl, Water Angels by Mons Kallentoft, Souls of Air by Mons Kallentoft, Earth Storm by Mons Kallentoft, The Final Word by Liza Marklund, The Other Son by Alexander Söderberg, The Silenced by Anders de la Motte, MemoRandom by Anders de la Motte, The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund, The Dying Detective by Leif G.W. Persson, The Gilded Cage by Camilla Läckberg, The Lies We Tell by Kristina Ohlsson and The Wednesday Club by Kjell Westö. Plus the following translations by Sara Death The Darkest Day by Håkan Nesser and The Root of Evil by Håkan Nesser. Ian Giles Dark Music by David Lagercrantz, Geiger by Gustaf Skördeman, Good Girls Don’t Tell by Liselotte Roll and The Silent War by Andreas Norman. Elizabeth Clark Wessel 3 Hours by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe and After She’s Gone by Camilla Grebe. George Goulding and Sarah De Sanarclens Hell and High Water by Christian Unge. George Goulding The Carrier by Mattias Berg. Rachel Willson-Broyles A Nearly Normal Family by MT Edvardsson, Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein and The Tunnel by Carl-Johan Vallgren. Fiona Graham 1947: When Now Begins by Elisabeth Åsbrink. Agnes Broomé For the Missing by Linda Bengtsdotter and For the Dead by Linda Bengtsdotter. Marlaine Delargy The Flood by Kristina Ohlsson, An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten, The Silent Girl by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt, The Man Who Wasn’t There by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt and The Voices Beyond by Johan Theorin. Susan Beard The Silver Road by Stina Jackson and The Last Snow by Stina Jackson. Saskia Vogel  A Summer with Kim Novak by Håkan Nesser. Tiina Nunnally The Ice Child by Camilla Läckberg.  Michael Gallagher The Invisible Man from Salem by Christoffer Carlsson and The Thin Blue Line by Christoffer Carlsson.

Happy New Year 2023! Gott nytt år! Godt nytt år!

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