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Nordic Council Literature Prize 2010

Purge winning the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2010 is met with enthusiasm.

Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen has won this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize for her novel Puhdistus (Purge), the youngest author ever to win this prestigious prize. According to the Adjudication Committee Oksanen shows her full strenght with her third novel Purge. Written with a rich and expressive language she weaves a specific historical event, the Soviet occupation of Estonia, with a globally burning issue – human trafficking.

The Adjudication Committee wrote:

"Sofi Oksanen's novel Purge takes place in two periods of time in Estonia, but its themes of love, treachery, power and powerlessness are timeless. Purge vibrates with tension: unspoken secrets and deeply shameful deeds stretch out across the book like a web and compel the reader to keep reading. With a rare precise and apposite language Oksanen describes what history does to individuals and history's pervasion in the present."

The Finnish newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet congratulates the winner and describes Oksanen's book as “a grand and thrilling novel that is everyone’s dream to read, write and publish”.

Hufvudstadsbladet is however a bit worried about Oksanen having time to continue her writing with all the attention coming with the prize.

“Sofi Oksanen is a literary genius”, Svenska Dagbladet’s culture editor Stefan Eklund wrote the day after Oksanen’s novel was awarded this year’s prize.

Cathrine Krøger from the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet says in an interview for the website ABC Nyheter that she is happy about the prize going to a strong, young female voice.

“Oksanen won the prize, just as we predicted”, concludes the Danish edition of the Elle magazine.

The book has sold almost 150 000 copies in Finland only and is translated into 27 languages.  It is awarded with both The Finlandia Prize and The Runeberg Prize. Now it´s topping the charts in all Nordic countries.

“I was obviously very surprised. This is the second time the award goes to a Finnish female writer. I was a little nervous earlier, as several journalists contacted me already on Monday and asked me for a winner’s interview,” the author tells to Svenska Dagbladet.

“It’s no surprise that Sofi Oksanen has won the prize. She has been a favorite in many countries, and it is well-deserved. She has written an incredibly powerful and unique book that certainly deserves an award, "says literary critic Marta Norheim in NRK.

“As I previously stated, it is an obvious choice and a price well-deserved”, agreed Jonas Thente from Dagens Nyheter.

“Oksanen shows that modern problems has their roots in history -- yet she's always writing a novel, not an indictment  about Soviet occupation and modern human  trafficking. And that is where lie the true power and miracles of art”

 The Literature Prize, worth DKK 350,000 (47 000 euros), will be presented to Sofi Oksanen at the beginning of November 2010 during the Nordic Council Session in Reykjavik, Iceland. The premier literary award of the Nordic Countries has been awarded since 1962.

The nominations from the national members of the Adjudication Committee for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2010 can be found at