Solid year for Norwegian literature export in 2013

Norwegian literature abroad is doing extremely well, and NORLA is experiencing a large interest in Norwegian literature, judging from the number of applications for translation subsidies from foreign publishers.

In 2013 NORLA granted subsidies for the translation of 412 Norwegian published titles. This is almost as many as the record year of 2012, when 431 published titles received subsidies from NORLA. The total number of published titles sold to other languages through agents and agencies, however, is far greater, in that many book translations are financed through funding schemes other than those offered by NORLA.

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Photo: Veronica Sande.

“Works by a total of 196 Norwegian authors will be translated through translation subsidies from NORLA in 2013 and the applications encompass a total of 46 different languages. That such a broad spectrum of books from all genres travels beyond our national borders is a clear indication of the high level of quality that characterises Norwegian contemporary literature,” says NORLA’s director Margit Walsø.

It is impressive that the export of Norwegian literature, judging from NORLA’s statistics, is remaining stable compared to the two preceding years, considering the relatively large economic challenges faced by the international book industry. In 2013 NORLA also tightened its allocation criteria, so that translation shall predominantly be done directly from Norwegian and not via a third language.

Not surprisingly, German is the leading language for NORLA’s allocations for 2013 (34 subsidies), followed closely by English (33), Danish (26*), Swedish (24*) and French (21).

NORLA is seeing a considerable increase in the number of translations into priority languages such as Chinese, Turkish and Portuguese – and that is a pleasure.

NORLA is also experiencing that the increased interest in Norwegian literature on the part of the other Nordic countries is holding its own as well, and funding was granted for 62 applications in 2013 (compared with 58 the preceding year)*.

In 2013 for the first time NORLA granted a subsidy for translation into Montenegrin (Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World).

Translation subsidies from NORLA in 2013 totalled NOK 5,606,300 – while applications were submitted for the total amount of NOK 14,263,900.

  • Translations from Norwegian into Nordic languages are financed predominantly through funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers.

See NORLA’s allocated translation subsidies in 2013 below.

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See details of NORLA’s allocated translation subsidy in previous years here.