RSS FeedThe SELTA Blog contains posts by individual members on topics related to Swedish and Finland-Swedish literature and culture. The views expressed in posts on the SELTA Blog are those of the respective authors of the blog posts and not of SELTA as a whole. An RSS Feed is available.

Happy 2020 from our chair

Posted on 2nd January 2020 at 10:17 by Kate Lambert

Ian Giles sums up 2019 and looks ahead to 2020 below.

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Diversity and the power balance of language - SELTA's Edinburgh workshop

Posted on 11th November 2019 at 15:26 by Kate Lambert

Sophie Ruthven is an emerging literary translator of Swedish living in Innsbruck. She joined us in Edinburgh for the recent translation workshop and was inspired by the break-out session with Adrian Perera to write up her thoughts. Read on…

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SELTA's Speed Bookclub and Workshop in Edinburgh

Posted on 6th November 2019 at 09:17 by Kate Lambert

Catherine Venner is a translator of German based in Durham. However, she has a sideline in Swedish and became an Associate Member of SELTA in 2018. SELTA’s literary translation events in Edinburgh in the autumn of 2019 offered her the chance to get her feet wet with colleagues working in Swedish-English. Read on…

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Meet the Publisher - finding out how Hachette publish books

Posted on 22nd July 2019 at 20:29 by Ian Giles

In early July, the publishing group Hachette ran an afternoon session about how books are published. SELTA Chair Ian Giles was there and has written this report.

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A Meeting of Scandinavian Literary Translators’ Networks: Chairs on Chairs

Posted on 20th July 2019 at 20:54 by Ian Giles

SELTA Chair Ian Giles reports from an event in Vancouver featuring three Scandinavian literary translators' networks.

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DELT panel in Edinburgh

Posted on 11th July 2019 at 13:34 by Kate Lambert

On 25 June, the Association of Danish-English Literary Translators (DELT) ran a workshop on "Translator as editor/translator and editor" in Edinburgh. SELTA member Tom Ellett was there and has this report.

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The Art of Translating Stereotypes - A SELTA Workshop

Posted on 8th March 2019 at 09:01 by Joanna Flower

The Art of Translating Stereotypes

A review of SELTA’s Translation Workshop, 19 September 2018

by Joanna Flower


Konsten att göra intryck: Angela Ahola, (Natur & Kultur, 2016)


In September 2018, a group of SELTA members met at the Swedish Embassy in London to discuss how to translate an extract from a non-fiction book, Konsten att göra intryck (The Art of Making an Impression, Natur & Kultur 2016) by Dr. Angela Ahola, a psychologist and popular motivational speaker in Sweden.

Dr Ahola’s book, which has not yet been translated into English, emphasizes the importance of the first impression, an instinct that has been handed down to us by our ancestors from thousands of years ago, when a positive or negative first impression could be a matter of life and death – is that man standing there in front of me with a knife, a friend or foe? Who should I fear? Who can I trust?

The extract selected for discussion at the SELTA workshop concerned stereotypes and how they unconsciously affect our day-to-day perceptions of others. A number of participants had translated the 800-odd words in advance, and these English versions formed the basis for the exchange of views on the thorny issues arising from the text.

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Happy New Year from our new chair

Posted on 3rd January 2019 at 11:47 by Ian Giles

Dear SELTA members,

As you settle down to watch Dinner for One, I would like to thank you for another year of gott samarbete in SELTA.

Our membership figures remain strong – there are currently 72 members of SELTA. As I noted at the AGM in November, it’s especially reassuring that so many of our active members are at the beginning of their careers as literary translators.

2018 was a little quieter than 2017. It was great to see many familiar faces throughout the week during the London Book Fair at networking events, at the dinner and at our spring meeting. The panel of speakers at our spring meeting (Anna Blasiak, Ted Hodgkinson and Crystal Mahey-Morgan) provided plenty of food for thought about programming literary events. For the first time in several years, we held a SELTA event without the crutch of a nearby meeting in September with our back-to-basics workshop looking at non-fiction. Turnout was good and participants enthusiastic - this is hopefully something we will do again in future. I was thrilled to see such a high turn out for our AGM in November, with lively discussion ensuing as a result. We were also pleased to rekindle our relationship with the Scandinavian collection at the British Library as we welcomed Pardaad Chamsaz, curator of the Germanic Collections, to our meeting to tell us about the library’s resources.

SELTA members always tend to do well on the awards circuit and this year was no different. This year the Crime Writers’ Association awarded their International Dagger prize to Marlaine Delargy’s translation of After the Fire by Henning Mankell. Michael Gallagher’s translation of Mattias Boström’s From Holmes to Sherlock won the 2018 Agatha Award for nonfiction. Meanwhile, Peter Graves’ translation of Jakob Wegelius' The Murderer's Ape won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award.

SELTA members and Swedish literature did well on shortlists and longlists too. Annie Prime and Neil Smith both featured on the International Dublin Literary Award list of nominees for 2019. Peter Graves and Fiona Graham both had translations included on the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist. In the world of crime, Sarah Death, Marlaine Delargy and Saskia Vogel were all shortlisted for the 2018 Petrona Award (pipped at the post by our STiNA colleague Rachel Willson-Broyles).

In 2019, the London Book Fair takes place a little earlier than usual on 12-14 March. Hopefully I will see many of you there for the usual, fruitful networking opportunities the event provides. We will hold our SELTA spring meeting in London (date tbc) while we hope to hold our AGM in combination with a workshop event in Edinburgh in the autumn. More details on this will follow with plenty of notice

Best wishes for the new year ahead!

Ian Giles
Chair of SELTA

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Lars Norén - Print Room at the Coronet, London

Posted on 8th June 2018 at 16:47 by Intexta Web Services

SELTA member Kevin Halliwell reviews The Print Room at the Coronet's welcome production of two short plays by Lars Norén. Act and Terminal 3 are directed by Anthony Nielson and translated from the Swedish by Marita Lindholm Gochman. Booking until 30 June.

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Stockholm International Comics Festival 2018

Posted on 7th June 2018 at 19:12 by Kate Lambert

SELTA Chair Ruth Urbom is back from the Stockholm International Comics Festival at Kulturhuset with this report.

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SELTA Chair Ruth Urbom gives a brief recap of our recent guest panel

Posted on 7th June 2018 at 12:58 by Kate Lambert

Friday the 13th of April turned out to be an auspicious date for SELTA members as we met for our regular spring meeting at the Embassy of Sweden in central London. After the conclusion of our official business we welcomed three guest speakers who told us about their approaches to programming live literary events.

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Words and the World

Posted on 15th January 2018 at 16:40 by Kate Lambert

In Autumn 2017 SELTA member Fiona Graham attended the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre. Below is her account of Ted Hodgkinson's conversation with Jonas Hassen Khemiri, winner of Sweden's August Prize in 2015.

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Q&A with the founder of DENT - the Danish equivalent of SELTA

Posted on 24th November 2017 at 08:01 by Kate Lambert

We were joined at our AGM on 3 November by two representatives from the nascent Association of Danish-English Literary Translators – or DELT – who came to observe SELTA at work. Afterwards, we put a few questions to the founder and current Chair of DELT, Ellen Kythor.

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Northern Noir in London

Posted on 24th November 2017 at 07:41 by Kate Lambert

In October several SELTA members attended In from the Cold: Northern Noir, a symposium on northern crime writing, translating crime fiction and criticism. Attendees heard interviews with crime writers and gained an insight into translating crime fiction from Norwegian in a workshop and a translation slam. Below, SELTA member Fiona Graham gives an account of Henry Sutton's workshop on Purpose and prose in the modern crime novel.


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Nature in Writing - Swedish authors visit London

Posted on 17th July 2017 at 09:31 by Ruth Urbom

In early May, SELTA welcomed four Swedish authors to London for two busy days of literary events, including a literary translation seminar for our members on the theme of ‘Nature’ and an evening programme that was open to the public. SELTA’s Chair Ruth Urbom looks back on these activities.

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Author Elin Olofsson with translators in London

Posted on 10th July 2017 at 09:28 by Elin Olofsson, translated by Marie Andersson

In early May 2017, Elin Olofsson was one of four Swedish authors invited by SELTA to take part in two days of literary events in London, including a translation seminar. Participants had prepared their own translations of a brief excerpt from Elin’s 2016 novel Gånglåt (‘A Walking Melody’) and met to discuss their interpretations and word choices. In this guest post, Elin Olofsson shares her thoughts and reflections on that day’s discussion.

The English translation here is by SELTA member Marie Andersson. Scroll down for Elin’s original Swedish. Photo credit: Ian Giles.

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Book review:

Posted on 14th May 2017 at 17:26 by SELTA Web Editor

Swedish Book Review 2017:1 didn't quite have enough room to fit in this review by Agnes Broomé of Zulmir Bečević's book, Avblattefieringsprocessen (The Swedification Process) so we are publishing it here.


Zulmir Bečević, Avblattefieringsprocessen (The Swedification Process)

Reviewed by Agnes Broomé

In his third novel, Avblattefieringsprocessen (The Swedification Process), Zulmir Bečević continues to explore the issues of ethnicity, national identity and alienation around which his two previous books were built. This time, however, Bečević approaches his subject from a darkly satirical angle in a dystopian portrayal of modern-day Sweden.

Read on:

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A Riveting Reviews Workshop

Posted on 10th February 2017 at 19:13 by SELTA Web Editor


On 1 February SELTA members attended a workshop on writing book reviews, especially reviews of fiction in translation, run by Rosie Goldsmith of the European Literature Network. The event brought in an impressive range of reviewers, critics and editors to share their reviewing experience and opinions with an audience of aspiring reviewers, translators included. Here Sarah Death, Fiona Graham and Kate Lambert give their thoughts on three and a half hours listening to, sometimes contradictory, words of wisdom from the experts.

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"Is there such a profession?" Remembering Patricia Crampton

Posted on 25th January 2017 at 20:09 by SELTA Web Editor

Following the death of Patricia Crampton on 1 December 2016, we would like to share this piece which first appeared in Swedish Book Review 2008:2. In it Patricia Crampton talks about her sixty years as a translator, a fascinating account of a career that began with the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials and at the time of writing was still continuing with Miffy, with more than 200 children's books and over 50 books for adults in between.

Round the World in Sixty Years by Patricia Crampton

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Book bloggers panel with SELTA on 1 November

Posted on 9th November 2016 at 17:14 by SELTA Web Editor

The current Chair of SELTA, Ruth Urbom, gives an account of the book bloggers’ panel who spoke to our members after SELTA’s 2016 AGM.

On 1 November SELTA members were joined by a panel of three book bloggers who spoke to us about world literature, blogging and the unexpected benefits of sharing their interest in books with other readers. All three of our guest speakers – Ann Morgan, Stu Allen and Bookwitch – have a strong international dimension to their blogs.

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The Cantankerous Crow: A classic Swedish picture book returns

Posted on 27th May 2016 at 09:14 by SELTA Web Editor

SELTA member and Swedish Book Review editor Deborah Bragan-Turner looks at the story behind the new edition of a classic Swedish picture book first published nearly sixty years ago.

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Posted on 19th April 2016 at 16:53 by SELTA Web Editor

SELTA member Annie Prime is, among many others things, the English translator of Finland-Swedish writer Maria Turtschaninoff. In this blog, Annie reflects on the 2016 FILI translators-in-residence and getting to know your author. 

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Spoilers. Is the ultimate taboo in modern-day reviewing appropriate for Swedish Book Review?

Posted on 26th January 2016 at 12:27 by SELTA Web Editor

SELTA member and regular contributor to Swedish Book Review Sarah Death reflects on the thorny issue of spoilers.

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Auto Nomad In Sweden

Posted on 22nd September 2015 at 09:10 by SELTA Web Editor

SELTA member and Swedish Book Review editor emerita Sarah Death offers her reflections on something of a lost treasure in the form of Wilson McArthur's 1948 travelogue, Auto Nomad In Sweden.

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My Mum's a Gorilla - So What?

Posted on 12th March 2015 at 11:33 by SELTA Web Editor

SELTA member and award winning translator Fiona Graham has reviewed 'Apstjärna' by Frida Nilsson, one of the authors who spoke at SELTA's children's literature workshop last autumn. Fiona, who says she can't understand why Nilsson's works haven't yet been snapped up by an English-language publisher, has also translated a chapter of the book to give readers a taster. 

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PIRATES AND PETTICOATS: An enthusiastic book review by Sarah Death

Posted on 11th February 2015 at 12:34 by Ian Giles

SELTA member Sarah Death reviews novelist Elin Boardy's latest offering, which sounds a gripping yarn. Sarah has included a brief translation from the opening to provide a taste of the novel.

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Annelis Johansson's visit to SELTA

Posted on 17th December 2014 at 12:18 by SELTA Web Editor

In this guest blog post, Swedish author Annelis Johansson shares her thoughts about participating in SELTA's literary translation workshop in London in early November. An ethnologist by training, Annelis was twice nominated for the August Prize for Young Writers, a national award for promising Swedish writers aged 16–20. She made her publishing debut with Fågelungar (‘Baby Birds’), a young adult novel, in 2007 and followed that up with two more YA novels. Her most recent book, Herr Fikonhatt och slottet Thoufve (‘Mr Fighat and Castle Thoufve’), just out from Opal in September 2014, marks a new direction in Annelis’ writing as it is aimed at slightly younger readers. The English translation here is by Agnes Broomé, and it is followed by Annelis’ post in the original Swedish.

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Malte Persson's visit to SELTA

Posted on 4th December 2014 at 12:07 by SELTA Web Editor

Author and poet Malte Persson joined four other Swedish writers who came to London in November to participate in a day of practical literary translation workshops with SELTA members. Since his literary debut in 2002 with the novel Livet på den här planeten (‘Life on This Planet’), Malte Persson’s output has encompassed fiction, poetry, literary criticism and children’s literature. He has received a number of awards for his work, including the 2012 Tegnér Prize, and was nominated for the prestigious August Prize in 2008 for his novel Edelcrantz förbindelser (‘Edelcrantz’s Relations’). In this guest post, Malte reflects on workshop participants’ various translations of an extract from his 2012 children’s book, Resan till världens farligaste land (‘Journey to the World’s Most Dangerous Land’). The English translation here is by Nichola Smalley. Malte’s original Swedish post is included below.

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Per Gustavsson's Visit to SELTA

Posted on 27th November 2014 at 09:00 by SELTA Web Editor

Per Gustavsson is a Swedish author and illustrator who travelled to London in November 2014 to take part in SELTA’s event on children’s and young adult (YA) literature. In addition to being a member of the Swedish Academy for Children’s Books, Per has won a number of awards for his work. His most recent prize is the 2014 Elsa Beskow plaque for the year’s best Swedish illustrated children’s book, which he received for Skuggsidan (‘Shadowside’, 2013). In this guest post, Per shares his reflections on the day of workshops and discussions. The English translation here is by Ruth Urbom, and Per’s own words in Swedish are included below.

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Cilla Naumann's visit to SELTA

Posted on 27th November 2014 at 09:00 by SELTA Web Editor

Cilla Naumann is one of five award-winning Swedish authors who travelled to London in early November for a day of practical translation workshops and discussions with SELTA members, other translators and postgraduate students. In one of the workshop sessions, participants compared their translations of an extract from Cilla’s young adult novel 62 dagar (‘62 Days’), published in 2011, and discussed the differences in word choice and textual interpretations that emerged from the various translations. Cilla Naumann’s blog post has been translated into English by SELTA member Nichola Smalley, and Cilla’s own words are included in the original Swedish below.

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Poetry, Memories and an Unusual Path

Posted on 19th October 2014 at 21:35 by Ruth Urbom

Inspired by an item in the most recent issue of Swedish Book Review, SELTA member Harry D. Watson shares his memories of living in Sweden and the course of events that led him to Swedish literary translation. Harry's translation of The Garden, a novel by Magnus Florin featuring the real-life Swedish Enlightenment figure Carl Linnaeus, was published earlier this year by Vagabond Voices.

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Making connections and branching out

Posted on 13th October 2014 at 17:35 by Ruth Urbom

SELTA's new website has just gone live! This blog is intended to be a space where our members can post brief items about topics they'd like to share with readers.

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From North to South and Back Again

Posted on 16th June 2014 at 15:58 by Ruth Urbom

In this blog post, SELTA member and Swedish Book Review editor Sarah Death provides some tips on a new literary magazine from Sweden, as well as her reflections on some books she's currently reading – from Sweden and closer to home! Sarah's translation of Tomas Bannerhed's 'scintillating first novel' The Ravens was published by Clerkenwell Press earlier this year.

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Introducing the SELTA blog

Posted on 2nd April 2014 at 19:00 by Ruth Urbom

Welcome to the new SELTA blog! This is a platform where SELTA members can contribute their own views on books and translation-related events and share interesting insights into their work as literary translators.

Posts on this blog reflect the individual views of their respective authors and not the views of SELTA as a whole.

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