PUBLISHERS’ FELLOWSHIP – JONAS AXELSSON (SWEDEN)

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

I run a literary agency in Stockholm called Partners in Stories, founded 2013. I used to be a publishing director at the major publishing house in Sweden, Albert Bonniers Förlag, but after twenty years as an editor and a publisher I decided to create a new adventure for myself and some authors. Around 35 authors belong to the agency at the moment.

• Do you represent Icelandic authors or authors who have been published in Icelandic? How do you see their reception in Iceland and in other countries?

I don’t represent Icelandic authors yet, mainly because I almost just started and been busy taking care of Swedish authors. Some of our authors are published in Icelandic, like Fredrik Backman, Lena Andersson and Fredrik T Olsson. Backman is a major hit in Iceland and in several other territories, Lena Andersson’s readership is growing in the whole world and Fredrik T Olsson’s debut was a sensation and sold to over 25 languages.

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

First time to Iceland for me and I’m very excited. I’ve heard so many good things about the Festival and I’m really looking forward to it. Last year I was invited to Louisana in Denmark and the organizers there hailed the Reykjavik Festival and said they were more than inspired by your model of Literary Festival.

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

The situation for translated literature in Sweden is in general very tough. Domestic books by Swedes dominates the space and the charts. Just a few worldwide bestsellers make its way and finds a good amount of readers. But I think this is a status that will change, the genre literature from Sweden will lose some market shares and translated fiction will challenge and grow in attention and sales, thanks to the interest in great storytelling from the whole world.

• Do you have any favourite Icelandic author?

Halldór Laxness, of course. And I would like to add Einar Már Guðmundsson, who I line-edited in translation 25 years ago and has continued to read after that.