A new independent press that will publish high-quality paperback translations of Scandinavian novels for the UK market will launch its first title next month.
Nordisk Books was founded by Duncan Lewis out of frustration with what he perceived as a lack of Scandinavian literary fiction translated into English, especially when compared to the saturated Scandinavian crime fiction market. The publisher intends to “get genuine literary fiction from the Nordic countries out to the [British] public”.
Lewis said: “The idea was inspired by a section of the sixth book in Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle series, where he related how he set up the publisher Pelikanen. That led me to think about how many Nordic authors are published in the UK and how almost none of them are not crime-related. As there is clearly more to the region’s literary output than just crime, and as I didn’t know anyone in publishing who could address the problem, I thought I might as well try it myself.”
Nordisk has acquired the rights to three titles, the first of which, Havoc by Tom Kristensen, will be released on 6th October. It tells the story of a Copenhagen literary editor’s chaotic, alcohol-fuelled descent into self-destruction as he wilfully rejects his life and its trappings of family, work and decency. A collection of “ultra-short” stories, touted as snapshots of the absurdity of life and accompanied by drawings by Norwegian author and illustrator Kim Hiorthøy, will follow later this year.
In early 2017, Nordisk will release Ebba Witt-Brattström’s The Love War of the Century, a “fascinating, acerbic recounting of the breakdown of Witt-Brattström’s marriage”. The title has sold more than 20,000 copies in its native Sweden, according to Lewis, who intends to expand the focus of the publisher in future to incorporate literature from Iceland and the Faroe Islands.