Stories from Scandinavia
March 09th, 2010
By Tiina Kristoffersson

Emma has gone off on her holiday to Vietnam, and the rest of us are busy at work. In a couple of weeks we will organise our second large Stilton meeting this year. Stilton has, from the start, complied with the principles of Nordic cooperation in its operations. We represent authors from Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and hope that soon we will also be able to include Norwegian and Icelandic authors.

Our authors’ shared Nordic heritage allows us to consolidate their Nordic narrative traditions. Those living in Nordic countries know full well that these countries do not represent a culturally unified area. Linguistically, the Finns belong to a completely different race. The Finnish language does not belong in the same linguistic group with the other Scandinavian languages, and few speakers of Scandinavian languages understand Finnish, which makes us Finns at times feel isolated. Even though the rest of the Nordic languages belong to the same family of languages, there are still distinct differences in their national characteristics. Every so often we slip and hurl insults at each others, and in particular at the Swedes who, being the largest nation, have constantly been branded the “big brother” among the Nordic nations. Compared to the rest of Europe, Nordic peoples are united by their close relationship to nature, dark winters, the welfare state (even though opinions are divided as to the endurance and future of that institution), and our unique narrative traditions. This is why even at Stilton, we do not wish to consider our authors first and foremost Swedish, Finnish or Danish, but instead as Scandinavian authors.

You can find more fascinating facts about the Scandinavian narrative in an interesting article by Wall Street Journal’s Laura Miller entitled “The Strange Case of the Nordic Detectives”:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703657604575004961184066300.html