Cappelen Damm authors ran off with the Norwegian Critic's Award for both best work of fiction and non-fiction.
Best Work of Fiction to White, Norwegian Man
Brynjulf Jung Tjønn’s poetry book White, Norwegian Man was one of the defining books of 2022. The poetry collection depicts the author’s experiences of racism, as a child adopted from Korea by Norwegian parents. The book was the bestselling poetry collection in Norway last year, and has received fantastic reviews all around. Many critics are of the opinion that this is a future classic in Norwegian literature, and a book that should be read by all. White, Norwegian Man is also nominated for The Youth Critics Award.
In a number of books, Brynjulf Jung Tjønn has encircled otherness and social maladjustment. In the poetry collection White, Norwegian Man, he directly addresses his own experience as an adopted child from Korea, relocated to a small village by the Sognefjord. With short, poetic sentences devoid of sentimentality, he shows how life as a person of Asian descent in an all-Norwegian environment is an almost bizarre experience. The little boy is allergic to most things that surround him – wool, hay and milk – and he has no other culture than the white Norwegian culture, with a burning desire to be just what the title says: white and Norwegian.
In quick flashes we experience events from the poet's life, and the form assigns the task of reacting emotionally to the reader. It's as if the author is just saying, "Here you go, here it all is." In this way, this short book becomes an excellent gateway into something that very few people in Norway get to experience - the absolute experience of being a stranger in situations characterised by awkward goodwill and a lack of insight, but also living with a vague threat of potential brutality.
Best Work of Non-Fiction to Olav V: Lonely Majesty
In three volumes Tore Rem has written up the great history of King Olav V., in a series that has been highly praised by critics. The third volume wraps up the story, and focuses on the lonely work of a king after the death of his Queen. One critic stated that the trilogy will become the standard reference work on King Olav's life.
With this volume, Tore Rem concludes the trilogy about our second king, King Olav V., after the liberation from Sweden in 1905. King Olav's time as monarch followed a father who lived withdrawn from the people. King Haakon's strong position is particularly linked to the last war. King Olav transformed the role into being a far more visible monarch. During the oil crisis in 1973, he became the king who travelled by tram, which Rem shows was a carefully directed scheme from the Palace to have Olav appear as the smiling "King of the people".
With this volume, Tore Rem shows that the king also had his dark sides. He was deeply conservative and ruled his house with a heavy hand. In his dealings with the court's employees, he could be downright rude. He cursed often. Trifles led to quarrels. It is as if he needs a vent in this role he had forced upon him and from the loneliness inflicted by Märtha's death. Rem shows that the chasm between the King and the Crown Prince became deeper than we realised because of the Prince's relationship with Sonja.
The three volumes appear comprehensive, but in this volume the source material is more original, new and unknown than in the first two. Rem has had access to the Palace's archives and found other sources that shed light on the majesty's solitary life. Tore Rem is a confident prose writer and fine narrator with the right distance to the material.