onsdag den 8. februar 2006

SKS's framtid - The different approaches in Finland and Iceland: I

The way we have done it here in Iceland, we’ve simply nominated the best, Icelandic crime novel of the previous year and left it to the author/publisher to see to it that it gets translated in time to be eligible for the Glass Key. The Finns have gone about it the other way around and only nominated a novel amongst those already translated. Here, we have counted on the publishers to realize the importance of the Glass Key, marketing-wise, and until this year, they have seen the light.
It has – maybe unfortunately, maybe fortunately – always been the same publisher, and they’ve always coughed up with the money to pay for the translation (except the first time, but that was before they really realized... and then the author, Viktor Arnar, saw to it personally that his story got translated).
This year, however, it looks as if there will not be an Icelandic novel amongst the contestants for the Glass Key. The jury in the Icelandic crime writers organization did nominate a novel, as usual, but now the publisher (and yes, it is the same old publisher yet again) refuses to pay for the translation. They base their decision upon the fact that this particular novel is not really a traditional crime-novel (and maybe the fact that it is more than 500 pages long has got something to do with it as well...).
This is something we just have to live with – or that, at least, is the attitude amongst us in the Icelandic crime society. In Finland, just like in Iceland and, for that matter, every other Nordic country, the best, Finnish crime-novel is picked out every year and awarded a prize by the Suomen Dekkariseura-jury.
The difference is, that in Finland this particular book is not automatically nominated as local entry for the Glass Key-competition. I have been told that this is not an option in Finland. That there is no way, they can simply nominate the best, Finnish crime-novel and then count on the publishers to get it translated, the way we do here in Iceland.

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