For the first time, Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse’s works have been translated into Chinese.
The milestone was marked by the international Jon Fosse festival (Fosse’s Blossoms) in Shanghai in November, staging five of his plays from five different countries – Russia, India, Italy, Iran and China.
Translators are the most important emissaries we have for bringing Norwegian literature out into the world. Their work is of decisive significance and to spotlight this work, we started the interview series entitled “Translator of the month”. Here we will get to know some of those who translate from Norwegian and learn about their challenging work of transmitting Norwegian literature into all the different languages of the world.
The translator of the month for August is Ben Yu, who translates into Chinese. He has translated a number of titles for both children and adults and works as an architect. Together with his wife,
visual designer Yilei Wang, he has founded Northing, a multi-functional organization with a focus on publication, design, cultural events and communication. Northing has initiated the project “China meets Norway in a bookshelf”. This is a cultural exchange project with the purpose of promoting Norwegian art books, picture books, and illustrated books in China through exhibitions, book markets, seminars, workshops and other unofficial activities. The project focuses on young artists and illustrators from or based in Norway and their works that reflect current Norwegian subcultures. As part of “China meets Norway in a bookshelf” an exhibition which will take place in Meridian Space in Beijing during the book fair in August. A selection of artists has been invited to visit China, where they will meet local artists with similar interests and inspire each other. NORLA has provided funding for the project.
Read more about Ben here.
Those of you who understand Norwegian can read the interview here.
A Norwegian sports and cultural delegation led by Norway’s Minister of Culture, Linda Hofstad Helleland, visited China from 25 to 27 May. The delegation also included the author Jostein Gaarder and NORLA’s director, Margit Walsø.
Jostein Gaarder’s books are very well known to Chinese readers as a total of 16 have already been published in Chinese!
A central part of the delegation’s cultural programme was to renew and strengthen cultural collaboration with China.
On 25 May, ZHANG Fusheng, previously editor of Nordic literature at the People’s Literature Publishing House, was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by the Minister of Culture, Linda Hofstad Helleland.
During the Beijing International Book Fair the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beijing announced the winners of their translation competition (launched in May):
2nd Prize Winner: Mr. Shao Zhibing
3rd Prize Winners: Mr. Kim Jarle Wroldsen and Ms. Zhou Yuan
4th Prize Winner: Mr. Liu Lingxuan.
(No 1st Prize Winner were chosen).
NORLA offers its warmest congratulations to the four winners!
The Chinese are crazy about Norwegian books. That is the impression we were left with after having visited the book fair in Beijing. Ever since 2010 NORLA has travelled to the book fair in Beijing, Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF), which takes place every year in the end of August. This year we were accompanied by four Norwegians: Even Råkil from Oslo Literary Agency, Hans Petter Bakketeig from Stilton Agency, Gina Winje from Winje Agency and Svein Størksen, Magikon Forlag. At the fair energetic work was carried out to present Norwegian books and meet with Chinese publishers to promote the translation of more Norwegian titles into Chinese.
Norwegian children’s literature arrives in China: Håkon Øvreås and Øyvind Torseter meet Chinese readers
2015 will be an historical year for the dissemination of Norwegian literature in China and Taiwan. All of 18 Norwegian books will be published in Chinese this year. And 11 of these are books for children/young people.
“Increasingly more Norwegian titles are being published in China and Taiwan and this is an exciting development. We have great ambitions for increased export,” says NORLA’s Director Margit Walsø.
NORLA took part along with the NordLit network from the Nordic countries in this year’s Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair in China, 13-15 November 2015, for the very first time. The book fair proved very successful as the interest for Norwegian books was massive – with a wonderful buzz around the launch of Håkon Øvreås and Øyvind Torseter’s award-winning book “Brune”.
NORLA travels around the world to promote Norwegian literature. Have look at some of our travelogues!
(If you read Norwegian, you will find our complete collection of travelogues here).
This past spring has been perhaps the most labour-intensive in NORLA’s history. A great deal has happened – particularly when it comes to Norway’s role as guest of honour at Frankfurt 2019:
The Frankfurt team was set up on 1 March, with a project manager, a coordinator for the literary programme and a coordinator for the cultural programme. And the first thing they focused on was presenting a broad range of Norwegian literature for translation to relevant publishers, and setting in motion potential collaborative projects for the cultural programme.
At NORLA we are pleased about the positive reception for our new offer for non-fiction publishers from abroad, specifically, the opportunity to apply for a stay of five days in Oslo at the Hotel Bondeheimen, which is also NORLA’s translators hotel.
We have begun the exciting autumn book fair season and the first fair on the list was the Beijing International Book Fair which took place in the end of August. This is the seventh time in a row NORLA has been to Beijing and we can hereby confirm that Norwegian literature is becoming increasingly popular in China.
If you happen to read Norwegian, you may read the report on the atmosphere of the fair by NORLA’s bookworm emissary here.
See our selected titles from the book fair in Beijing with presentations in both Chinese and English here.
You may also see the covers of Norwegian books recently published in Chinese through NORLA’s translation subsidies here.
NORLA travels around the world to promote Norwegian literature
Please have look at some of our other travelogues here.
2015 has been a fantastic year for Norwegian literature abroad and an exciting year for NORLA. We have worked intensively to lay the foundation to enable Norway to apply for Guest of Honour status at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019. We are pleased that this initiative has met with overwhelming support from the Storting. When the broad engagement on the part of the book industry now receives the whole-hearted support of the Government and the Storting, we have a fantastic starting point for a Norwegian application for Guest of Honour status. The Storting’s decision to back the application with NOK 30 million creates an exceptional opportunity to make a large investment in the export of Norwegian literature and culture, and we thank everyone who has contributed to our having come this far in the application process.
The translators are the most important stakeholders we have for bringing Norwegian literature to the world. Their work is of vital importance and to showcase this work in January 2015 we started the interview series «Translator of the Month». Here we become better acquainted with translators from the Norwegian language and their challenging work, which introduces Norwegian literature to all the different languages of the world.
In 2018, the fourth year in the series, we have so far interviewed translators from Norwegian into Arabic, Spanish and German.
In 2017, we interviewed translators from Norwegian into Bosnian and Croatian, Hebrew, Danish, Czech, Gergian, German, Chinese, French, American English and Russian.
In 2016, we presented translators from Norwegian into Spanish, Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Korean and English.
And in 2015, we interviewed translators from Norwegian into Russian, French, German, Serbian, Italian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Chinese and British English.