Gunn Reinertsen Næss

Gunn Reinertsen Næss

•Tell us a little bit about your company and your work there!

I am editor in chief for translated literature at Aschehoug publishing house, and I have had this great job since 2006. Aschehoug is one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in Norway, established in 1872. It is a family-owned company, and Mads Nygaard is the current publisher and head of the house. The publishing house is very nicely stationed in the heart of Oslo.

We publish approximately 200 titles per year; that is Norwegian and translated fiction, Norwegian and translated non-fiction and Norwegian and translated books for children and young adults. We publish Norwegian authors like Jo Nesbø, Merethe Lindstrøm, Jan Kjærstad, Carl Frode Tiller  and Jostein Gaarder. We also have a substantial educational department, and Aschehoug has several imprints, among them Universitetsforlaget and Oktober publishing.

• Have you been to Iceland before? What do you expect from your visit this year to the Literary Festival?

I have been to Iceland once, in 2006, on a private trip, and I absolutely loved it. The landscape, the sea, the people, the food – it all intrigued me. I know too little about Icelandic literature, and my main aim for coming to the festaval is to make up for that! I am sure both our hosts and international colleagues can guide me to the best authors and that Aschehoug‘s list of translations will, in time, include one or two of the very best Icelandic names.

I look forward to meeting and getting to know Icelandic and other international authors and colleagues, and to take part in interesting seminars and events. I am sure the festival will be a great inspiration!

PS I love the Icelandic horse, and hope to see some of these beautiful, sturdy animals.

• How do you see the situation of translated literature in your country?

Very competitive, is how I will describe the situation for translated literature in Norway. It is extremely bestseller focused, and the wider variety of quality literature is decreasing. Ours is a small market, the print runs are low and translation costs are high. Our lists of translations, containing some 30 titles per year, feature great authors like Siri Hustvedt, Pierre Lemaitre, Paul Auster, Sara Stridsberg, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Harper Lee, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Hjorth&Rosenfeldt, Peter Høeg, Toni Morrison and Arto Paasilinna.