Literature Nov 20, 2020

Translation of Icelandic Literature is Growing Around the World

Check out the growing number of books translated by Icelandic authors!

Interest in Icelandic literature has grown internationally, especially this past year. The Icelandic Literature Center recently announced that in 2020, it received a record number of applications for grants to translate Icelandic literature into other languages. The Center received 147 applications and awarded 111 grants for translations from Icelandic into 28 languages. The largest numbers are for translations into Danish (13), English (9), German (8), and French (7). 

The uptick in applications is partially a result of the increase to a pan-Nordic initiative launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with this, NordLit, an organization of literature centers of the Nordic countries, raised translation grants to cover 50% of the costs. This encouraged publishers around the world to continue to translate and publish Nordic literature. 

The growing interest in Icelandic literature is not exclusive to 2020, but has been building over the last century. During this timeframe, over 300 books by Icelandic writers have been translated into Swedish and published in Sweden. John Swedenmark, one of the most prolific translators from Icelandic to Swedish in recent years, compiled a list of all the translated works. It is evident that Swedes and many others around the world are appreciating the richness of Icelandic literature.

To learn more about translation grants and Icelandic literature, visit the Iceland Literature Center. Let us know if you have a favorite Icelandic book on Twitter!