• Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!
I’m German but a bit of a global nomad and have lived abroad for the past 20 years. My degree is from the UK (London &Cambridge), and I’ve moved around working in international publishing -my dream job- since 2001. Set up my own company in 2013: I’m a Literary Scout for German & Spanish-language literature, but always curious about European fiction in general. My job is to “hunt down” & find books & authors that are the perfect fit for my international client publishers. I do this by networking with literary agencies, publishers and editors, reading ridiculous amounts of books and being ahead of the game. You have to be fast and have a good nose!
• Are there any Icelandic authors on your radar already? How do you see the situation of Icelandic literature on the global book market?
Steinar Bragi THE HIGHLANDS – can’t wait to read the complete English translation, it’s fantastic. Also Sjon & Andri Snaer Magnason- but I hope to meet/know more in Iceland… We all know Icelanders read more than anyone else on the globe. And the percentage of published writers/capita is also the highest, impressive. Being a minority language, it’s hard to find readers/translators. Also, the crime market may be somewhat saturated for Icelandic authors, but there is definitely always attention on & fascination with authors coming from Iceland.
• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?
I have never been and can’t wait to go: my feeling is I’m going to connect to the landscape as if it were a long-lost soulmate.
• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?
In Germany, we have a tradition of translating from all languages, readers are open and curious. Luckily, plenty of German editors read Scandinavian languages and so the best authors are always translated into German (making it possible for me to read directly). Spain is more limited in terms of translations, still: the recent trend of Scandinavian crime (post-Larsson-mania) has made readers more open to other genres in translation too.
• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?
I grew up reading the EDDA and feel my entire childhood fantasy was inspired and infused by it’s characters and universe. Sometimes I feel I still live there… I really like Arnaldur Indridasson’s books. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE by Halldor Laxness is on my bedside table, ask me in a few weeks? I saw a beautiful instrumental orchestration of some of his work at Berlin Volkstheater 2014. Others on my to-do list: ANGELS OF THE UNIVERSE by EINAR MÁR GUDMUNDSSON. GUNNLÖTH’S TALE by SVAVA JAKOBSDÓTTIR. Sjon THE ARCTIC FOX. Steinar Bragi THE HIGHLANDS when it’s fully translated. Recently read (&met) Hannah Kent’s BURIAL RITES, not an icelandic author but setting. Also, if HROSS I OSS / OF HORSES AND MEN were a short-story collection, I would read it IMMEDIATELY. One of my favourite films in the past years.