Bible hogs Norway's bestseller list

Bible hogs Norway's bestseller list

A new translation of the Bible has taken the top spot in Norway's bestseller list, selling 75,000 copies between October publication and Christmas, according to the publisher's figures.

The Norwegian Bible Society used a team of 30 famous literary authors as consultants on the translation, including internationally known playwright Jon Fosse, and published a literary edition without chapters and verses.

The new translation's runaway success meant it occupied the number one spot on Bok & Samfunn's bestseller list almost continuously from mid-October to Christmas, leading to frantic reprints from the publisher, which had an initial run of just 25,000 for the title.

Publicist Stine Smemo Strachan, who worked on the project, said: "The media coverage was huge, it was on the news, in all the papers two or three times, and people were discussing it over lunch - it became a cultural event. The only week it was knocked off the number one spot was when [controversial Norwegian bestseller] Karl Ove Knausgård published a new book, and they always go to number one."

She added: "Some may speculate it has something to do with the [Utoya] tragedy this summer, but I think the main success is down to media coverage and that famous literary authors were consultants on the translation and they focused on it being readable."