5 Minute Fika: Barnet Libraries host Nordic Authors Evening

We speak to Mark from Barnet London borough council libraries, who are hosting an online event next week called ‘An evening with Scandinavian authors discussing their books.’

He tells us all about the event, which authors are attending, and some of his favourite Nordic books. Unfortunately the event is now sold out, but keep an eye on the Eventbrite page in case any spaces become available!

Tell us more about your event on Feb 10th?

My name is Mark Nagle and I am a librarian at Barnet Libraries.  Barnet Libraries is the place to go to for events on this fantastic genre! In the past we have welcomed Barry Forshaw, Quentin Bates, Bronte Aurell from the Scandinavian Kitchen, Lotte Petri and Arne Dahl, just to name a few.

With our reputation both locally and now internationally, we were approached by Agnete Friis with a germ of an idea for this event.  After that, I got my little black book of contacts out and managed to rustle up this stellar panel.  The event was put together in a few days via social media as we cannot meet in person in libraries currently.

We have also forged strong partnerships with the Danish, Icelandic & Swedish Embassies in London and The Danish-UK Association who are supporting us with this event.

You have an incredible panel of authors tell us some more about who you have appearing?

We have four authors from Denmark, Lone Theils (Chairperson), Agnete Friis, Dorthe Nors & Heidi Amsinck. Two from Iceland, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir & Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. Finally, from Sweden, Stefan Ahnhem.  They are a good mix of established Scandinavian writers and exciting new up-and-coming ones.

Lone Theils is the author of the ‘Nora Sand’ crime novels and a journalist.

Agnete Friis is best known for co-authoring ‘The Boy in the Suitcase’ with Lene Kaaberbøl. The book was short-listed for the Scandinavian Glass Key Award, competing against ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and received the 2008 Harald Mogensen award for best crime novel.

Dorthe Nors is one of the most original voices of contemporary Danish writing. She has written two celebrated short story collections, Karate Chop and Wild Swims, as well as one novella and five novels, including Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, which was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.

Heidi Amsinck is a writer and journalist born in Copenhagen, who has spent many years covering Britain for the Danish press, including a spell as London Correspondent for the broadsheet daily Jyllands-Posten.

She has written numerous short stories for radio, including the three-story sets ‘Danish Noir’, ‘Copenhagen Confidential’ and ‘Copenhagen Curios’, all produced by Sweet Talk for BBC Radio 4. ‘Last Train to Helsingor’ was her first published collection of stories. Her crime novel ‘My Name is Jensen’, set in Copenhagen, will be published in August 2021.

Eva Björg Ægisdóttir is a writer who was born and raised in Akranes, the small town featured in her books. ‘The Creak on the Stairs’ was her debut novel. The book went on to win the Blackbird Award and became an Icelandic bestseller. Eva now lives with her husband and three children in Reykjavík. She has already started on her second novel.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir lives with her family in Reykjavík; she is also a director of one of Iceland’s largest engineering firms. Her books are found on bestseller lists all over the world. Two of her novels have been selected by the Sunday Times as the crime novel of the year. In addition, Yrsa has won several prizes for her crime fiction novels, including the Petrona award for best Scandinavian Crime fiction in 2015.

Stefan Ahnhem is the author of the bestselling series, the ‘Fabian Risk’ series. He is not only a writer but a screenwriter that has worked in television and film in everything from original concepts, comedy, thriller, and adaptations. He also worked on the Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell.

We have an extensive collection of Scandinavian fiction and non-fiction publications for our customers to borrow.

What was your first Nordic crime novel that got you hooked on the genre and which ones are you excited for in 2021?

That is easy and still my favourite author, Arnaldur Indriðason and the book was called ‘Outrage’. As for 2021, I am looking forward to ‘The Butterfly House’ by Katrine Engberg.

What is your coffee and cake combination (to pair up with a good read)?

I do not drink coffee, good old-fashioned English tea is my preferred tipple along with a Lucia saffron bun (lussebullar) from the Scandinavian Kitchen.

Interview by Alex Minnis

Keep up to date with one of Barnet Books popular events by following them on their twitter BarnetLibraries and their Facebook page Barnet Libraries

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