Scandinavian Authors

Until recently, I ran a Scandinavian book club amongst the Nordic clubs in my city. The book club was a success until everyone got too busy and decided to go home to Scandinavia for the summer. (Can’t say I blame them!) Over the years that it was active, I managed to accumulate a list of interesting authors, and at my blogger friend Poppy’s The Viking Queen’s suggestion, have published the below list according to country of author’s origin, for anyone who wishes to discover the wonderful world of Scandinavian fiction.*

  • My primary interest is crime fiction so be warned that this list is not exhaustive and is heavily biased towards  writers of crime fiction. Most of these titles have been translated into English.

I will reveiw Lars Kepler’s book in coming weeks.

Danmark –

Christensen, Lars Saaybe – Historical Fiction

Christian Jungersen – The Exception TBR
Sara Blaedel – Blue Blood, tr. Erik J Macki & Tara F Chace. Crime fiction featuring Louis Rick.
Elsebeth Egholm – Three Dog Night. An Excellent Writer

Friis, Agnete & Kaaberbol, LeneThe Boy in the Suitcase; Not a bad read

Peter Høeg – Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, (a great read) and others much more obscure
Steffen Jacobsen – When the Dead Awaken
Martin Jensen – The King’s Hounds, tr. Tara Chace

Lotte and Soren Hammer – The Hanging, tr. Ebba Segerberg

Jussi Adler-Olsen – Redemption

Dan Turrell – Murder in the Dark, tr. Mark Mussari

Finland –

Antti Tuomainen – The Healer tr: Lola Rogers  TBR

Leena Lehtolainen – Her Enemy, tr. Owen Witesman  TBR

Pekka Hiltunen – Cold Courage, tr. Owen Witesman TBR

Jokinen, Seppo  – Detective Sakari Koskinen series TBR

Iceland –

Arnaldur Indridason – Cold Crime/ police procedural series featuring Inspector Erlendur: at least one of which was made into a movie (Jar City)

Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson – Daybreak,  TBR

Halldor Laxness – Iceland’s Bell and Atom Station (historical fiction; depicts Icelandic rural life)

Yrsa Sigurdardottir – Someone to Watch Over Me TBR

Norway –

Thomas Enger – Burned

Karin Fossum – I Can See in the Dark, tr. James Anderson. Crime Fiction. Often writes about people on society’s fringe. Inspector Konrad Sejer series

Jostein Gaarder – Sophie’s World – Fiction story that introduces you to philosophy in a fascinating way.

Knut Hamsun – Hunger; I would get shot for not mentioning it, and drawn and quartered for saying that it was boring, my apologies to all Norwegians, but,as it was considered a landmark in literature, it is listed here.

Gaute Heivoll – Before I Burn, tr. Don Bartlett

Anne Holt – Crime fiction from a former Norwegian Minister for Justice including the Hanne Wilhelmson detective series and characters: Former FBI profiler Johanne Vik & Detective Inspector Adam Stubo

Jorn Lier Horst – Closed for Winter, tr. Anne Bruce. Character: Chief Inspector William Wisting, Larvik

Jan Kjaerstad – The Conqueror

Gunnar Kopperud – Historical fiction and politics intertwined. Should be just my thing but “The Time of Light” is violent and not my favourite book, but listed here anyway)

Jo Nesbo – Thriller/crime fiction series with Detective Harry Hole. Also stand alone novel “Headhunters” was made into a movie in 2011

Per Pettersen – Out Stealing Horses and To Siberia (set in Denmark during WWII)

Gunnar Staalesen – Cold Hearts, tr. Don Bartlett

Linn Ullman – Daughter of actress Liv Ullman, novelist. Stella Descending is a good read.

Sweden –

Karin Altvegen – Shame, Shadow:- psychological thrillers

Ake Edwardson, – Series of crime fiction including Death Angels

Kerstin Ekman,

Kjell Eriksson,Crime series

Marianne Fredrikkson – Hanna’s daughters: Wonderful story of three generations of woman. Excellent fiction. ‘Simon & the Oaks’ was made into a movie in 2011

Grebe & Traff – More Bitter Than Death

Marie Hermanson – The Devil’s Sanctuary, tr. Neil Smith

Published in the US only (at the moment):  Anna Jansson – Strange Bird, tr. Paul Norlen, Stockholm Text

Mari Jungstedt – The Double Silence, Unseen, Unspoken. (Crime Fiction)

Mons Kallentoft – Savage Spring, tr. Neil Smith; Midwinter Sacrifice

Lars Kepler – The Fire Witness, The Hypnotist (reads well, scary, and a bit bloodthirsty in parts)

Camilla Lackberg – Journalist Erica Falck crime fiction series set in Fjallbacka, Sweden Light crime fiction where the characters become more like old friends

Jens Lapidus – Never F**k Up (apa Never Screw Up), tr. Astri von Arbin Ahlander

Stieg Larson – Lisbeth Salander Trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, well you know the rest…..

Åsa Larsson – Rebecka Martinsson series of detective novels.

John Ajvide Lindqvist – Let the right one in- Story about vampires, but don’t let that put you off. I would never read books on vampires, but this one is very different and was also made into a movie, and remade into an American movie.

Henning Mankell – Very popular crime fiction writer. A multitude of books, and TV series (Swedish/English)

Liza Marklund – Very popular crime fiction with the character: Annika Bengtzon (journalist) Also a TV series

Anders de la Motte – Game, tr. Neil Smith

Håkan Nesser – Set in a fictional town in Sweden with Inspector Van Veteran (police procedural/crime fiction with cutting sardonic wit)

Woman with Birthmark, The Return

Kristina Ohlsson – The Disappeared, tr. Marlaine Delargy

Leif Persson – Linda, as in the Linda Murder

Roslund & Hellstrom  – Fictional character Detective Inspector Ewert Grens. – in my TBR pile.

Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo – A timeless Martin Beck police procedural and crime fiction series written in sixties/seventies

Alexander Söderberg – Set in the South of Sweden

Johan Theorin – The Darkest Room. Creepy thriller/crime fiction set on Gotland, an island off the coast of Sweden

Tursten, Helene – crime fiction featuring  Inspector Huss, Gothenburg

Worthy also of note:

Andrew Stevensen – Non- Fiction; “Summer light”; A Walk across Norway. Not a Norwegian writer, but nevertheless great travel account.

Thunder God – a historical fiction novel about the Vikings and what it was like to live in those times. Loved this one, was really in the moment with the character.

Some more authors that I am not so familiar with:

Tor Age Bringsvaerd – science fiction literature – Norwegian
Ingvar Ambjörnsen – Elling series – one has been made into a movie
Anne B Ragde
Zoë Ferraris
Roy Jacobsen
Erlend Loe
Louis Masterson
Sulaiman Addonia
Margit Sandemo
Dag Solstad – • Professor Andersen’s Night

And if you like those books, you probably would also like this one, which is  more a travel book, but its non-fiction theme is Scandinavia.

True North – Gavin Francis  Travels in the Arctic, following the travels of ancient Nordic explorers.

I recommend checking out Karen over at Euro crime for seeking details of other Scandinavian authors and further listings of individual Scandinavian titles to ponder about.


14 thoughts on “Scandinavian Authors

  1. In Finland we have many more, but there is one who is popular in France and Italy. His name is Arto Paasilinna. I am just reading his book “A Charming Mass Suicide”. It is awesome. This man knows the heart of human people describing feelings, our society and nature. His language is very rich, although I read it in Portuguese and need frequently to use dictionary. The theme is not easy to understand when reading the title, but the contents is surprising.


    1. I have heard of this author, but it is quite difficult to get books like that here in Australia. I have to hope they come in on Amazon in my e reader, otherwise postage gets quite expensive. Thanks for that title, I will definitely keep an eye out for it and add it to my list.


  2. I just stumbled on your blog after seeing your comments on my onset of Winter. It is very interesting especially as both my husband and I often read Scandinavian authors. My husband discoverd Arnaldur Indridason some time ago and read them all. I read a couple but must admit have problems remembering the complicated names. He also introduced me to Stig Larson many years ago. The first translations were in German, so we could both read the books before they were known in the english speaking countries. I used to like Jo Nesbo, but the Harry Hole character eventually annoyed me with his alcoholic indulgences. We are Carl Morck fans from Jussi Adler Olsen with his mixed bunch of helpers. Of course our first connection was the late Henning Mankell with his Wallender. The books are good and the Swedish films are OK, but I did not like the series with Kenneth Brranagh – he was just not as I imagined Wallender.
    Thankyou very much for your comprehensive list of Scandinavian authors, I am sure that both myself and my husband will now be extending our Scandinavian crimi knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for stopping by. I can see you are very well read in your Scandi mystery books. And it seems I feel the same way as you. Harry Hole does get a bit tiresome with “the growling dogs” – and I totally am with you in regard to Kenneth Branagh. It did not do a good job of Wallander at all. Maybe he did not like the way it was filmed and set in sweden yet he spoke in English.!!! Many levels of wrong!!! I am just getting into Jussi Adler Olsen, but what I have read so far, is to be commended! I wish I could read in the native language, but that is beyond my capabilities at the moment and somehow, I think I woudl struggle and that would detract from the enjoyment of a fast paced thriller or murder mystery. I am so glad I was able to suggest some new authors for you to investigate! I hope you will stop by here again. I will definitely have a look over at your ‘place’again!


    1. I have only read this kind of literature since I turned 30, but it seems to have stuck with me! It might be my way of feeling like I have Scandinavia a bit closer!!!


      1. Maybe! It’s quite a list you have here. I like your words about “Svält”, Hamsun. I had difficulties with that one…


  3. So glad it wasn’t just me, Ann-Christine! Perhaps I am viewing Hamsun’s book through too modern an eye. For its time, no doubt it was “extraordinary.” Although on a purely social welfare/mental illness level, it is insightful. Thanks for your comment.


  4. Knut Hamsun’s “Growth of the soil” was compulsory at school at my time. I actually really enjoyed that one.

    Estonia is not Scandinavia, but we like to consider us a Nordic country (well, we are south of Finland :)). So may I suggest some Estonian authors, too (available in English):

    Jaan Kross (He has been tipped for the Nobel Prize for Literature on several occasions for his novels) The Czar’s Madman” – really good, interesting and makes you think about values in life.
    Andrus Kivirähk (our well-known contemporary writer) “The Man Who Spoke Snakish” – a lot of Nordic mythology here but of course it still speaks about life and people around us.


    1. Thank you for the suggested authors. I love that we have some Estonian authors to add to the list. Estonia was heavily involved with trading with those on the other side of the Baltic, in the Viking and Hanseatic eras so am happy to include it under the Nordic wing. Iam not familiar with these authors but Kivirähk sounds intriguing. I will have to see if I can get a copy from Amazon as I very much doubt the libraries here will stock it.


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