Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Norvik Press

Norvik Press, which moved in August 2008 from the University of East Anglia in Norwich to University College London, must surely be the only publishing house of its kind in the UK. It publishes a variety of literature from the Nordic countries.

Looking at the list of authors on the website, you can see that there are ones from different countries, genres and epochs. The press also published two periodicals: the more scholarly Scandinavica, and the magazine that is the shop window for what books are available and being published in the Swedish language, Swedish Book Review.

The website sections entitled Authors, Special Offers and Out of Print give you an overview of what is, and has been, published by the press. Even the Baltic countries are represented:

In 1994, a book of several short-stories from the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, edited and translated by Christopher Moseley was published: From Baltic Shores. Authors include Arvo Valton, Romualdas Lankauskas, Alberts Bels, Bo Carpelan and Suzanne Brøgger.

A more recent Baltic addition is the poetic Estonian novel by Viivi Luik, The Beauty of History (translator: Hildi Hawkins; 2007). This novel has been translated widely, and this translation was launched at the Estonian Embassy in London. It deals with an Estonian country girl who goes to Riga to visit her boyfriend during the Prague Spring in 1968, when the boyfriend risks being called up to go to Czechoslovakia as part of the Soviet troop contingent. He goes off to Moscow to get his exemption certificate, and the Estonian girl is left behind with his mother in the flat in Riga, where this atmospheric novel, full of observation and mood, is set.

But Scandinavia forms the trunk of the tree, including such names as Victoria Benedictsson, August Strindberg, Gunnar Ekelöf, Hjalmar Söderberg, Johan Borgen, Knut Hamsun, Jens Bjørneboe, Suzanne Brøgger, Svend Åge Madsen, Edith Södergran, and Runar Schildt.

The press was started by James McFarlane and Janet Garton, and is now run by Neil Smith.

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