Friday, October 23, 2009

Nordic writers sweep the board in US crime awards
The Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason and the late Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson were honoured at the major US mystery convention Bouchercon

Alison Flood writing in, Tuesday 20 October 2009

Left - Steve Murray, Stieg Larsson's translator, at the Bouchercon awards

America's reputed long-standing indifference towards literature in translation was thrown in doubt this weekend when Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason and the late Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson picked up a host of awards at the major US mystery convention Bouchercon.
Indridason's The Draining Lake, in which a skeleton is discovered in an Icelandic lake after an earthquake, picked up the Barry award for best novel, voted for by readers of Deadly Pleasures and Mystery News.

Larsson's first Lisbeth Salander tale, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, won best first novel prize in the prestigious Anthony awards – voted for by the 1,700 crime fans at the convention – and the Macavity awards, named for TS Eliot's "mystery cat" and voted for by members of Mystery Readers International.
Steve Murray, Larsson's English translator, was at the convention and said it was "great to see the fans and other writers voting for him".
"The awareness of Scandinavian crime fiction has certainly been building, with Henning Mankell and others softening readers up for Stieg," he said. "Then he came along and was so much better than all the others."
Larsson's British publisher Christopher MacLehose at Quercus agreed. "The crime writers in translation are for perfectly obvious statistical reasons better than English ones, because they are all chosen by serious publishers in their countries of origin and filtered down and down before they get translated into English," he said. "We're translating a tiny proportion so we should be getting the best of the best."

Indridason's editor Stuart Williams at Harvill Secker said that the success of authors such as Larsson marked "another evolutionary stage" in attitudes to translated crime. "More than a seismic change in attitudes, [it's] a case of readers finding their way in ever-swelling numbers to a type of writing that happens to be enjoying a purple patch," he said.

The rest at The Guardian.

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