Yesterday, Petrona and I went to the World Literature Weekend session, Crime Scars featuring Karin Alvtegen and Håkan Nesser with Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen:
I made a few notes:
Karin Alvtegen's first novel Guilt is her only crime novel not yet translated. Her most recent book is not crime at all. She's not writing at all at the moment as she has no ideas. She worked very closely with translator Steven Murray on Shadow and Shame. It's up to the translator to find the rhythm in their own language.
Three years after the death of her brother, which occurred when she was 9 months pregnant, she had a breakdown and whilst on sick-leave sat and wrote Guilt. She says she has to know the whole story in her head before writing it down.
Håkan Nesser fifth and last Barbarotti is in the computer at the moment. He doesn't understand Van Veeteren at all but Barbarotti is like a little brother so he is more in control. In response to a question from the audience, he said Van Veeteren's fascination with tooth-picks is because he's an ex-smoker.
High density of crime writers in the 25 million population of Scandinavia. Jakob's succinct answer to why are Scandinavian authors so popular at the moment is that "they are damn fine writers".
Authors who write in English such as Elizabeth George, P D James, Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters are very popular in Sweden. It's ironic that 80% of books translated are from English as many Swedes can read English.
Someone was live tweeting in front of us so you can read more snippets from this talk and other WLW events on twitter at #wlw11 and especially at @lrbshop.