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Claudia Dantschke Awarded the 2017 Stieg Larsson Prize

27 October 2017

German democracy activist Claudia Dantschke is the recipient of the 2017 Stieg Larsson Prize, for her decades-long work with deradicalization of young people in Islamist environments, and her promotion of more nuanced views on Islam and muslims.

The jury emphasizes Dantschke’s “groundbreaking and successful work with deradicalization of young people in Islamist environments, primarily in Berlin. Through books and articles, Claudia Dantschke actively participates in public debate, and contributes to the training of social workers and other groups concerning how to build relationships with the targeted youths and their families – which is the first, essential step toward leaving radical Islamism.

Claudia Dantshcke is one of Germany’s leading experts on Islamism and Salafism. With a degree in translation and interpretaion from Arabic and French, she worked as a journalist and editor at the East German news agency’s Middle East bureau, and subsequently as a freelance journalist after German reunification, mainly for the German-Turkish independent broadcaster AYPA-TV.

Since 2001 she is a fellow at the Zentrum Demokratische Kultur (ZDK), an organization that advances enlightenment ideas and democratic values. On behalf of ZDK, she has analyzed Islamist and far-right networks in different Berlin districts, with the purpose of developing local strategies for facing and preventing antidemocratic forces. In 2011 she initiated Hayat, Germany’s first consultation center for deradicalization, which offers advice and support to people in Salafist and jihadist environments, as well as to defectors and kin.

Dantschke started researching and challenging antidemocratic forces within political Islam long before our current preoccupation with the issue: already in 2000 she co-authored a treatise on political islam in Europe. In contrast to alarmist or virtue-signaling punditry, her work is characterized by qualified knowledge, rationality and pragmatism – and always solution oriented. A consistent shunning of stereotypes and prejudices, as well as a nuanced and compassionate view of radicalized youths, has awarded Dantschke enemies among far right and Salafist groups alike.

By way of books, articles, lectures and training, she disseminates the knowledge she has collected and the strategies she has developed during many years of applied field work.


About the Stieg Larsson Prize
Steig Larsson, author of the Millennium trilogy, waged a constant struggle against racism and misogyny, and for freedom of expression. The struggle was motivated by a simple idea: that each human being should have the right to be themselves.

In memory of Stieg Larsson, Norstedts Publishing along with Stieg Larsson’s father Erland and brother Joakim, has founded a prize of 200 000 SEK. The prize is awarded to persons or organizations that continue Stieg Larsson’s struggle.

Once a year, an independent jury selects a recipient. This year’s jury consists of publisher Elnaz Baghlanian, Expo Magazine’s editor-in-chief Daniel Poohl, journalist Mathias Ståhle, human rights attorney Johanna Westeson, and publisher Svante Weyler.



Photo copyright: AYPA 2017



Elisabeth Östnäs is awarded the Nils Holgersson Plaquette!

9 October 2017

Elisabeth Östnäs is awarded the 2016 Nils Holgersson Plaquette for The Story of Turid

Established in 1950, the Nils Holgersson Plaquette is awarded annually by the Swedish Library Association to the best children’s or young adult book of the year.

Says the jury:

In The King’s Daughter and its sequels War Time and The Raven Goddess Elisabeth Östnäs has offered a mighty portrait from the Viking age, in which the female protagonist is depicted as warrior, mother, spouse, and oracle.

The readers are introduced to a young woman who must flee from her home. Östnäs skillfully shows what happens to a person who is forced into exile; the timeless search for a home and an identity is represented in a powerful way. The character of Turid is brought to life in a bleak reality with the odds stacked against her but with the strength to find her own path.

The world depicted is a violent one, but the violence is never exploited as entertainment. Pagan rituals and early Christianity are described in an innovative way. Moving and memorable scenes are rendered in sparse prose, providing a suspenseful pace. Elisabeth Östnäs has written three vital novels about the Viking age for all ages.


Millennium 5 on The New York Times Bestseller list

21 September 2017

David Lagercrantz is currently on a long tour for the release of the fifth instalment in the Millennium series, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye. We just learnt that the book will be on second place on the New York Times Bestseller list next week – after only one week on the shelves.

And we won’t stop at that – the reviews keep coming in from all over the world:

“Somewhere beyond the grave in the Great Hereafter, Stieg Larsson must be smiling: Lisbeth Salander, his “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is still avenging injustice, hacking files, kicking butts and exposing corruption with the help of unlikely partner, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz has produced a multilayered and even better thriller this time around in his second outing continuing Larsson’s Millennium series, crafting an intricate web of intrigue that includes a prison gang, Islamist extremists, Salander’s evil twin Camilla and a cruel, top-secret pseudoscientific experiment.”

– The Buffalo News

“In Lagercrantz’s hands, the series is realizing grand ambitions of another sort. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for An Eye intensifies the mythic elements of Larsson’s vision […]moves the series further into the realms of Star Wars and Harry Potter”

– The Washington Post

“Lagercrantz is one of the best in the genre […] keeps building on the foundation laid by Stieg Larsson, with excellent result”

– Svenska Dagbladet


Rave reviews for Jerker Virdborgs Summer, Sister

Jerker Virdborg’s highly anticipated novel Summer, Sister has received rave reviews since it was published in Sweden (Albert Bonniers förlag) earlier this month.

Virdborg has one of the most talented voices of contemporary Swedish writers. He is an expert proponent of the ‘hardboiled’ style, without ever compromising with language or psychology. Capable of creating breathless suspense, his greatest skills lie in his ability to keep the reader constantly thirsting for more.

These quotes speak for themselves:

“Our starting point is in the middle of events; an arms deal carried out in the shadow of an constant, underlying threat – that things could turn violent at any minute. In the space of just a few pages, the main characters, their personalities and their relationships are introduced through the narrative. Then comes the escape: a brother makes his way through hostile territory, accompanied by his elder sister. She is the stronger of the two; he is our narrator. The siblings make their way through a Sweden laid waste by war or a catastrophe of some kind.  There is no force-feeding of details here; the backstory is gradually presented in a series of flashbacks. The result is exciting, and it is told in a pitch-perfect voice. Virdborg is an expert proponent of the ‘hardboiled’ style, but here neither language nor psychology are overlooked. Indeed, this is an example of that rare feat – a literary page-turner. There are few authors of his ilk in Sweden, and surely none who can match Virdborg’s sense keeping the story forwards, pulling the reader along with it. His greatest skill lies not in the crafting of action scenes, but in his ability to keep the reader constantly thirsting – craving – to find out more.”

– Vi Magazine

“It is not classic dystopias that come to mind reading Summer, sister. Rather, I think of Kerstin Ekman’s Blackwater. The black lakes, the dark powers, and the abundant taxonomy of plants cause that association. In addition, Virdborg, just as Ekman, is capable of creating breathless suspense. I wait in trembling silence alongside the novel’s characters as they risk being discovered by the enemy. I flex my calves as they prepare to leap over a creek. It is, simply put, engaging.”

– Dagens Nyheter

“I catch myself reading Summer, sister like an adventure novel rather than a depiction of human suffering in a condition of war. Jerker Virdborg is, as always, a skilled storyteller. Few can convey claustrophobic situations like he can.”

– Kulturnytt, Sveriges Radio

“The book is so suspenseful that I read it in one go. I kept it in my hand as I stacked the dishwasher, among the shelves of the supermarket, beneath the steps of the apartment with the kids romping around me.”

– Expressen

“Virdborg portrays the strong but unequal relationship between two very different siblings with great tenderness. He also depicts Swedish nature with a wealth of detail and mournful presence that makes the story vibrate with apocalyptic beauty.”

– Sydsvenska Dagbladet

“An ambitious literary novel that uses all available tools to attract people to literature. We can’t get enough of these kinds of novels.”

– Dala-Demokraten

“It is suspenseful, wickedly suspenseful. Jerker Virdborg has always had a page turner quality…”

– Kristianstadsbladet

“I am delighted by this book, in which the master of repressed undercurrents and charged suggestions, expresses and divulges his entire story.”

– Svenska Dagbladet

“Epic craftsmanship.”

– Kvällsposten

Ann-Helen Laestadius Awarded The Nordic Literature Prize 2017

3 July 2017

Ann-Helen Laestadius  was awarded The Nordic Literature Prize 2017 for the novel Ten Past One.

Ten Past One was also awarded The August Prize 2016.

“It is about the collective grief of a changing community, about civil society and local politics, and about love and friendship. In energetic prose, Laestadius intertwines place, politics and psychology”, read the motivation of the jury then.

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Rights sold

French rights sold to Actes Süd

December 2017

Turkish rights sold to Epsilon

November 2017

Turkish rights sold to Epsilon

November 2017

Spanish rights sold to Planeta

November 2017

French rights sold to Stock

November 2017

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