Stine Pilgaard, a delightful new voice from Denmark


Stine Pilgaard (photo by Rasmus Jepsen)

Stine Pilgaard, born in 1984, is a graduate of the Danish Writer’s School and holds a degree from the University of Copenhagen, where she wrote her MA thesis on the role of women in Icelandic sagas. Her first novel, According to my Mum (2012), which is now in its 8th print-run, was shortlisted for the DR Romanprisen and won her the Bodil and Jørgen Munch Christensens Cultural Award for first novels. It was translated into Icelandic in 2014.

The protagonist of Stine’s first novel is a young woman who moves back to her father’s home after a breakup. She has also hit a dead end with her studies, and struggles with her meddling mother. The vivid and witty dialogues of the book make it a hilarious and enchanting read, giving a sharp analysis into the pain of relationship breakdowns.

Mamma_segir-175x276Her newest book, Songs for Festive Occasions (2015), is a web of stories about a group of people in a housing cooperative, who share communal work weekends, garden parties and internet provider issues. The narrator is a writer of horoscopes and songs for festive occasions, and her neighbours throng her living room as anniversaries of various sorts approach. The eclectic cast of characters includes Granny and Ruth, who met among cows and churches; Thomas, who is married to an absent-minded scholar of Old Norse; and Elizabeth, who wants a song written for her husband’s birthday despite the fact that he’s been in a coma for the last two years. This book has received glowing reviews.

Panel: Women, Love and the Narrative in Literature