Literary interview series

Jussi Adler-Olsen: The Shadow Murders

Jussi Adler-Olsen is Denmark´s bestselling author with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. It was such a delight talking to Jussi about the dark layers of the human mind and how he finds inspiration for his writing.

Thoughts about ethics, if violence is justified, how to create suspense to a degree that the reader cannot put his books down, mental health, resilience, and many other topics that are weaved into the fabric of Jussi´s books.

If you like thrillers and the inner works of good and evil in human beings, I think you will enjoy my conversation with Jussi:

Stine Pilgaard: The Land of Short Sentences

“You always tease the ones with the biggest hearts” – how can you not fall in love with a book that encompasses something so simple, yet so profound? In this interview, I talk to Stine Pilgaard about her novel The Land of Short Sentences.

Stine Pilgaard first two novels won her commercial success and multiple literary prizes.

Sarcasm, irony and humor runs through The Land of Short Sentences and so does the absence political correctness – how freeing it is to read what most of us feel and think but dare not say out loud.

Navigating life, finding your place in a new role, integrating into a new culture and a new language, can make you feel alienated, frustrated, and full of rage. Pilgaard´s work navigate in a world with multiple truths in a heartwarming and thought provoking way.

I hope you will enjoy my conversation with Stine as much as I did.

Anne Cathrine Bomann: Agatha

“There is something lonely about not living,“ (55) says the faceless psychologist who doesn´t know who he is and who finds his life pointless. He is not able to deal with feelings of his own or those around him and has turned anger into shame. In short: He is a therapist who is not capable of internalizing his own work.

Anne Cathrine´s book Agatha is dark – and ironic, and funny. I mean: A therapist with no meaningful connections with those around him forced to step outside his comfort zone months before his retirement and engage on a personal level with two different women!?

It is a heartwarming and powerfully moving piece. Themes of belonging, purpose, death, loneliness, hopelessness, pain – and getting a chance to live a happy life at a late stage in life.

Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann is an existential masterpiece. The novel is slim, yet filled with depth + quite a bit of that dry Danish humor, I love. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and hope you will, too.

Lykke Leonardsen: The Livable City

Lykke Leonardsen is such a knowledgeable person on climate change, urban planning, and sustainability. Further, she has humor and heart.

In our conversation we talked about how cities can develop toward sustainability and improve life for its citizens. Based on Tove Ditlevsen´s Copenhagen Trilogy, Lykke painted a picture of what Copenhagen used to look like and what it has developed into. Lykke Leonardsen´s thoughts on the livable city are inspiring and I think you will enjoy listening to her views on climate change and a sustainable way forward for cities.

Lykke Leonardsen is Program Director for Resilient and Sustainable City Solutions at the City of Copenhagen. She has worked with urban development for 25 years and is not only working to change her own city, she is also helping other cities change.

I hope you will enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed my conversation with Lykke.

Ida Jessen: Postcard for Annie – interview with the author and translator Martin Aitken

I love Ida Jessen´s writing. The more than ten books on my book shelves is a testament to that. I have read her works for years, since before I moved to America 12 years ago.

What makes Ida Jessen´s writing so special?, you might ask.

Ida Jessen has a way of understanding the inner feelings of the human being, and a sophisticated and elegant, yet down to earth way of writing about the inner turmoil in a quiet life. She often times writes about ordinary people outside the buzzling city life, you know the life most of us live.

Her way of narrating the dramas in especially her female characters is unique and oh so intelligent. But, as her translator, Martin Aitken said in our conversation, the men are there, too, since the inner feelings of the female characters are often a reaction to the men around them.

Now, thanks to Martin Aitken´s brilliant translation, Ida Jessen´s masterpiece of a short story collection is available to an English reading community.

Martin Aitken has won multiple prizes for his literary translations. He has a way of turning Scandinavian literature into literary pieces that feel universal and his mastery and depth of the English vocabulary adds rather than distract when reading his translations.

I hope you will enjoy listening to my conversation with Ida Jessen and Martin Aitken as much as I enjoyed participating in it:

Jussi Adler-Olsen: Victim 2117 – interview with the author

Lighthearted and deep at the same time. This thriller is about so much more than solving a crime. The book weaves a thrilling with current issues of the world.

The book digs deep into the immigrant crisis in Europe and deals with the dilemmas the European countries face. Instead of focusing on the thousands of people trying to enter Europe in hops of a better future, Adler-Olsen focusses on a single person. Through that person, who might otherwise have been ´just´ another number, the reader is led to think about every single individual as well as a more universal perspective.

It was so much fun talking to Jussi about his book and his perspective on Denmark and Europe more broadly.

I hope you enjoy this interview:

Dorthe Nors: Mirror, Shoulder, Blink – interview with the author

This short novel is full of humor and depth. Through the classic motif of a female protagonist having difficulty learning how to drive a car and getting her driver´s license, the book deals with Sonja finding a place in the world.

Reading this book, you laugh while having a pit in your stomach. Nors addresses topics such as lineless, feeling awkward, and how to be ok with holding values that most of society does not share such as feeling that living in an urban is the right way to live.

Nors masterfully touches on existential challenges in a way that makes you laugh while wanting to cry a little bit.

I hope you enjoy this interview :-):

Carsten Jensen: We, The Drowned – interview with the author

We, The Drowned has it all: wars, erotic entanglements, death, sorrow, loneliness, perspectives from a small, rural town and from large cities around the world.

The story takes place from 1848-1945, a period where Denmark´s role as a sea fearing nation was internationally renowned. The reader follows 4 generations of seamen and the women, mothers and wives, surrounding them.

Carsten Jensen is a writer, a literary critic, an essayist, and a political columnist. Since his debut in 1975, he has published 23 works of literature. We, The Drowned has been translated to more than 24 languages.

I hope you enjoy the interview 🙂

Karen Blixen: Babette´s Feast – interview with Kristian Ditlev Jensen

In this interview, I talk to Kristian Ditlev Jensen, price winning Danish writer, literary critic and food critic, and ordained pastor about Isak Dinesen´s (Karen Blixen´s) novella, Babette´s Feast.

This interview series aim at promoting Danish literature in English translation. Writers and literary experts are invited to participate in interviews and discussions.

You can watch the interviews without any prior knowledge. However, we invite you to join our new virtual Nationwide Danish Book Club where we read and discuss Danish literature in translation.

Thank you to the ScanDesign Foundation, Museum of Danish America, Northwest Danish Association, National Foundation for Danish America, National Nordic Museum, American-Scandinavian Foundation, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and the University of Washington Scandinavian Studies Department. – and of course a huge thank you to Kristian Ditlev Jensen.

I hope you enjoy the interview 🙂

Helle Helle: This Should be Written in the Present Tense – with Claus Elholm Andersen

I am happy to introduce the first interview in a new series aimed at promoting Danish literature in English translation. Writers and literary experts are invited to participate in interviews and discussions.

You can watch the interviews without any prior knowledge. However, we invite you to join our new virtual Nationwide Danish Book Club where we read and discuss Danish literature in translation.

Thank you to the ScanDesign Foundation, Museum of Danish America, Northwest Danish Association, National Foundation for Danish America, National Nordic Museum, American-Scandinavian Foundation, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and the University of Washington Scandinavian Studies Department. – and of course a huge thank you to Dr. Claus Elholm Andersen

I hope you enjoy the interview 🙂

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