For 2023, A Viking in LA’s reading challenge, now in its sixth year, is wider in scope but narrower in prompts. Instead of just focusing on Scandinavia (with occasional prompts opening up to Icelandic and Finnish reads), the 2023 reading challenge covers the whole Nordic region: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden which includes the autonomous territories of Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Åland, as well as Sápmi, the land of the indigenous Sámi people (which overlaps northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kola Peninsula of Russia). And, instead of 12 prompts as previous years, it’s a “mini challenge” with only six prompts, one for each of the five Nordic countries plus Sápmi.
I invite you to join me in reading six unique Nordic books by matching each Nordic country with a different prompt, as listed below. For the Sámi selection, the prompt is free choice. Any book by or about the Sámi people and their history and culture, fiction or nonfiction, is fine.
A winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize
The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize has been awarded since 1962 and is awarded to a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages. It can be a novel, a drama, a collection of poems, a collection of short stories or a collection of essays that meet high literary and artistic requirements. View a list of winners with English translations.
To see what I’m considering to read for this prompt, visit Nordic Lit Reading Challenge 2023: My Top Picks for Nordic Council Literature Prize Winners.
A longlist nominee for the Dublin Literary Award
The Dublin Literary Award has been presented annually since 1996 to a novel written in English or translated into English. The Award promotes excellence in world literature and is solely sponsored by Dublin City Council and administered by Dublin City Libraries. Nominations are submitted by libraries in major cities throughout the world. See a catalog of all nominees.
By or about a marginalized group in the Nordic region — indigenous, immigrant, minority, etc.
Nonfiction — by a Nordic author or about a Nordic region
Nordic Noir — crime fiction by a Nordic author set in the Nordic region
Sámi Literature — free choice
The Scandinavian Reading Challenge has been a passion project of mine and “celebrated” its fifth year in 2022. I started it for myself (and anyone else who has wanted to join) as an incentive to get to know Scandinavian authors better and to read Scandinavian books on a more regular basis. Every year I read 12+ books checking off various prompts.
This past year was the most intensive and focused year of them all. Inspired by the Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge, I read through the decades of the last century in Norway. A major component of this challenge was researching Norway’s history and finding books for each of the decades. I really enjoyed the research process and sharing my findings, even if only for a small group of readers. However, it was extremely time-consuming, and it took a toll on researching and reading books from other parts of the world, also a great passion of mine.
This year I still want to expand my Scandinavian reading, but I also want more opportunity and time to venture beyond those borders. I want to enjoy books in a more relaxed way and read more of what I already have on my shelf, both physical and digital shelves, both for this challenge and the wider world.