Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Winner

Announcing the winner for:

The 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year

On 20 May 2017, at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest, Bristol, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The winner was WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen, translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and published by Orenda Books.

The trophy was presented by last year's winner Jørn Lier Horst.

As well as the trophy, Gunnar Staalesen receives a pass to and a guaranteed panel at next year's CrimeFest.

The judges's additional comments on WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE:
Gunnar Staalesen has long been the finest Nordic novelist in the private-eye tradition of the American masters. WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE is both a coruscating and ambitious novel from the veteran writer, and a radical re-working of his customary materials - perhaps the most accomplished entry in the long-running sequence of books about Bergen detective Varg Veum.
The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

Watch the live recording of last night's presentation:



Gunnar thanking his translator Don Bartlett:


Barry Foshaw (judge), Gunnar Staalesen, Karen O'Sullivan (publisher), Don Bartlett (translator), Sarah ward (judge), Kat Hall (judge)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The Petrona Award 2017 - Shortlist Announced

Outstanding crime fiction from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden shortlisted for the 2017 Petrona Award


Six outstanding crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2017 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today.

They are:
THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 20 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 18-21 May 2017.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous support of the 2017 Petrona Award.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist and the shortlisted titles:

“It was difficult to choose just six crime novels for the Petrona Award shortlist this year, given the number of truly excellent submissions from around the Scandinavian world. Our 2017 Petrona Award shortlist testifies to the extremely high quality of translated Scandi crime, with authors from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden making expert use of police investigations, psychological thrillers, private eye novels and historical crime fiction both to entertain and to explore pertinent social, political and historical issues. We are extremely grateful to the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.”


THE EXILED by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

Finnish police detective Anna Fekete returns to the Serbian village of her birth for a holiday, but is pulled into an investigation that throws up questions about her own father’s death decades earlier. As well as exploring the complexities of Fekete’s identity as a Hungarian Serb who has made her life in Finland, this accomplished novel looks with insight and compassion at the discrimination faced by Roma people, and the lot of refugees migrating through Europe.

THE DYING DETECTIVE by Leif G.W. Persson tr. Neil Smith (Doubleday; Sweden)

Lars Martin Johansson, a retired Swedish Police Chief, suffers a stroke after a lifetime of unhealthy excess. Frustrated by his physical limitations and slow recovery, he is drawn into investigating a cold case, the murder of nine-year-old Yasmine Ermegan in 1985. Expertly plotted and highly gripping, The Dying Detective features characters from a number of other crime novels by the author, but succeeds brilliantly as a standalone in its own right.

THE BIRD TRIBUNAL by Agnes Ravatn tr. Rosie Hedger (Orenda Books, Norway)

Former TV presenter Allis takes up the post of housekeeper and gardener at a house on a remote fjord. But her employer is not the old man she was expecting, and the whereabouts of his wife are tantalisingly unclear. Isolated from other villagers, Allis and Sigurd’s relationship becomes progressively more claustrophobic and tense. A haunting psychological thriller and study in obsession that is perfectly complemented by the author’s beautiful, spare prose.

WHY DID YOU LIE? by Yrsa Sigurđardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton, Iceland)

Yrsa Sigurđardóttir is as adroit a manufacturer of suspense as any writer in the Nordic Noir genre, as this standalone thriller comprehensively proves. Why Did You Lie? skilfully interweaves the stories of a policewoman whose husband has committed suicide, a work group stranded by hostile weather on a remote lighthouse, and a family whose American guests go missing. A compelling exploration of guilt and retribution, which builds to a nerve-jangling finale.

WHERE ROSES NEVER DIE by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett (Orenda Books, Norway)

Grieving private detective Varg Veum is pushed to his limits when he takes on a cold case involving the disappearance of a small girl in 1977. As the legal expiry date for the crime draws near, Veum’s investigation uncovers intriguing suburban secrets. In what may well be the most accomplished novel in a remarkable series, the author continues to work in a traditional US-style genre, but with abrasive Scandi-crime social commentary very much in evidence.

THE WEDNESDAY CLUB by Kjell Westö tr. Neil Smith (MacLehose Press, Finland)

This multilayered novel tells the story of how a crime is triggered following the chance meeting of two people in a lawyer’s office. While the narrative can be seen as a tragic individual story, it also takes on larger historical dimensions as it unfolds. Set in Helsinki in 1938, on the eve of the Second World War, The Wednesday Club offers an insightful exploration into the legacy of the Finnish Civil War, and the rise of German and Finnish fascism in the present.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Petrona Award 2017 - Update

The Petrona Award team met recently to discuss the shortlist for the 2017 Award and the results of the discussion will be revealed on 30 March 2017.

The winner will be announced on 20 May 2017 at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest in Bristol.

A new picture of the judges has been uploaded to the judges page.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Petrona Award 2016 - Winner Announced



On 21 May 2016, at the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest, Bristol, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw,  Katharina Hall and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2016 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

The winner was THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst translated by Anne Bruce and published by Sandstone Press.

The trophy was presented by last year's winner Yrsa Sigurdardottir to Jorn Lier Horst's representative, Robert Davidson of Sandstone Press.

Mr Davidson read out the following remarks from Jorn Lier Horst:


This is the fourth Petrona Award and I feel highly honoured to follow Liza Marklund, Leif GW Persson, and Yrsa Sigurdardottir. I am also very grateful to the jury for the trouble they have taken, for their expert knowledge and their commitment over the years. They pay great tribute to their late colleague, Maxine Clarke, whose memory is perpetuated in this most suitable of ways.

Our present time will be referred to in future as the ‘Golden Age of Scandinavian Crime Literature’. Never before have so many Scandinavian authors written so many good crime novels, with a vitality and quality that not only attracts readers worldwide but also enhances the whole crime genre. In such a time it is especially an honour to receive the Petrona Award, particularly gratifying and a source of great pride. Thank you.



Mr Davidson added: This is yet another recognition of a very fine author. More than just a crime writer, Jorn Lier Horst is a novelist who has extended beyond his genre. I would like also to pay tribute to his translator, Anne Bruce. All of us at Sandstone Press are very proud to be the publishers of this great series.

As well as the trophy, Jorn Lier Horst receives a pass to and a guaranteed panel at next year's CrimeFest.

The judges's comments on THE CAVEMAN:

THE CAVEMAN is a gripping police procedural drawing on Jorn Lier Horst’s experiences as a  murder detective. All the books in the 'William Wisting' series have had compelling narratives and THE CAVEMAN is no exception, exploring a Norwegian society where, in a supposedly close-knit community, a man can lie dead at home unnoticed and unmourned for weeks. Excellent plotting, well-drawn characters and writing of the highest quality make this book a worthy winner of the 2016 Petrona Award.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The Petrona Award 2016 - Shortlist Announced


From the press release which was embargoed until 7.30am today:

Top quality crime fiction from Scandinavia is shortlisted for the 2016 Petrona Award


Crime novels from Finland, Norway and Sweden have made the shortlist for the 2016 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year, which is announced today. They are:

THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)

DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)

The winning title will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 21 May during the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 19-22 May 2016.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

THE DROWNED BOY by Karin Fossum tr. Kari Dickson (Harvill Secker; Norway)

Fossum’s spare prose and straightforward narrative belie the complexity at the heart of this novel. After the drowning of a young child with Down’s Syndrome, Chief Inspector Sejer must ask himself if one of the parents could have been involved. The nature of grief is explored, along with the experience of parenting children with learning difficulties. There’s a timeless feel to the writing and a sense of justice slowly coming to pass.


THE DEFENCELESS by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland)

The second in Hiekkapelto’s ‘Anna Fekete’ series is an assured police procedural rooted in the tradition of the Nordic social crime novel. Its exploration of immigrant experiences is nuanced and timely, and is woven into an absorbing mystery involving an elderly man’s death and the escalating activities of an international gang.  A mature work by a writer who is unafraid to take on challenging  topics.



THE CAVEMAN by Jorn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

Horst’s The Caveman begins with the discovery of a four-month-old corpse just down the road from William Wisting’s home. Troubled by his neighbour’s lonely death in an apparently uncaring society, the Chief Inspector embarks on one of the most disturbing cases of his career. Beautifully written, this crime novel is a gripping read that draws on the author’s own experiences to provide genuine insights into police procedure and investigation.


THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB by David Lagercrantz tr. George Goulding (MacLehose Press; Sweden)

The late Stieg Larsson created the groundbreaking, two-fingers-to-society, bisexual anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander. When Larsson’s publishers commissioned a fourth book, they turned to David Lagercrantz, whose The Girl in the Spider’s Web often reads uncannily like Larsson’s own text. His real achievement is the subtle development of Salander’s character; she remains (in Lagercrantz’s hands) the most enigmatic and fascinating anti-heroine in fiction.


SATELLITE PEOPLE by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle/Pan Macmillan; Norway)
An accomplished homage to Agatha Christie, Satellite People adds a Nordic twist to classic crime fiction tropes. References to Christie novels abound, but Lahlum uses a Golden Age narrative structure to explore Norway’s wartime past, as Inspector Kristiansen and Patricia investigate a former Resistance fighter’s death. Excellent characterisation, a tight plot and a growing sense of menace keep the reader guessing until the denouement.


DARK AS MY HEART by Antti Tuomainen tr. Lola Rogers (Harvill Secker; Finland)

Tuomainen’s powerful and involving literary crime novel has a mesmerising central concept:  thirty-year-old Aleksi is sure he knows who was behind his mother’s disappearance two decades ago, but can he prove it? And to what extent does his quest for justice mask an increasingly unhealthy obsession with the past? Rarely has atmosphere in a Nordic Noir novel been conjured so evocatively.



With grateful thanks to each of the translators for their skill and expertise in bringing us these outstanding examples of Scandinavian crime fiction.



Thursday, 7 April 2016

Petrona Award - Update

The Petrona Award team met yesterday (6 April 2016) to discuss the shortlist for the 2016 Award and the results of the discussion will be made public soon.

As usual the winner will be announced at the Gala Dinner at Crime Fest which this year is 21 May.

A new picture of the judges has been uploaded to the judges page.

Other additions to the site are a "Press Clippings" page and a new page for 2016.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Petrona Award 2015 - Winner Announced

Last night at CrimeFest, Petrona Award judges Barry Forshaw, Dr Katharina Hall and Sarah Ward announced the winner of the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.



And the winner is Yrsa Sigurdadottir for THE SILENCE OF THE SEA translated by Victoria Cribb and published by Hodder and Stoughton.


The trophy was presented by the Godmother of modern Scandinavian crime fiction, Maj Sjöwall, co-author with Per Wahlöö of the Martin Beck series.





As well as the trophy, Yrsa Sigurdardottr will also receive a pass to and panel at next year's CrimeFest.