Virago to publish Greenlandic debut

Virago to publish Greenlandic debut

Virago Press is publishing a novella from the Greenlandic language by Niviaq Korneliussen, translated by Anna Halager.

The book's author, who has been praised in the New Yorker as "the young queer writer who became Greenland’s unlikely literary star", grew up in a small island town off Greenland’s southern coast where she felt stifled by her surroundings and outcast because of her sexuality. 

Her book, Crimson, is billed as "a beautiful depiction of the exploration of queer and transgender identity in early adulthood". Its stream-of-consciousness narratvie features characters who get drunk and have one-night stands while on "a journey of self discovery" with prose that feature SMS messages and Facebook posts. 

Senior commissioning editor Ailah Ahmed acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Crimson (to be translated by Anna Halager from Danish, which Korneliussen first translated from Greenlandic herself) from Lene Therkildsen at Milik Publishing in Greenland. Amy Hundley at Grove Atlantic secured NA rights. Virago will publish Crimson in May 2018.

Ahmed said: "I feel very privileged to publish Niviaq Korneliussen’s debut. This is one of those rare moments when you feel you have discovered an extraordinary new voice. Korneliussen is a true original in style, content and in revealing modern day Greenland to readers around the world. Through Facebook posts and SMS messages, her four characters break-up, fall in love and go on a journey of self-discovery. Crimson includes a beautiful depiction of the exploration of queer and transgender identity in early adulthood. The novella is short, intense and full of passion and I am really pleased to have something from the Greenlandic language on the list."

Korneliussen said: "I'm extremely grateful that my novel is now in English and will be available to many different readers. I feel honored to be part of representing Greenlandic literature, because it’s very important to me that readers from around the world are able to get an insight in today's young Greenlanders' stories. It is important that Greenlandic literature has a voice outside of Greenland and that the outside world knows about a variety of issues and visions of the future for the country."

Milik Publishing has sold French, German, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic rights to Crimson. Korneliussen will be in the UK on 28th October to take part in the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre. The subject of the event is Writing Gender and Identity.