On July 13, acclaimed Danish author Ida Jessen joins us with translator Martin Aitken for a virtual discussion on the new book A Postcard for Annie. With moderator Désirée Ohrbeck, they’ll discuss the writing and translation of the prizewinning anthology hailed as an “insightful, original collection” (Kirkus Reviews) following the inner lives of several women on the brink, or sidelines, of catastrophe.From the winner of the Lifetime Award from the Danish Arts Foundation and the 2017 Critics’ Choice Award, Ida Jessen’s A Postcard for Annie traces the tangled emotional lives of women facing moral dilemmas. A young woman witnesses a terrible accident with unexpected consequences; a mother sits with her unconscious son in a hospital room; a pair of sisters remember their mother’s hands braiding their hair. In seaside tourist villages and in snowy cities, turbulence destabilizes composed lives, whether through outright violence between strangers or habitual domination between loved ones.
Writing with the same narrative generosity, Jessen fills each story with bracing passages that splash with the living world, only to become concentrated in the unfixed, vacillating matter of a human psyche caught between silence and speech, paralysis and action.
A Postcard for Annie will be available beginning June 28 from Archipelago. This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to email@example.com. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on our Virtual Programming page and on our YouTube channel.
About the Speakers
Ida Jessen is widely considered to be the master of psychological realism in contemporary Danish fiction. Having made her debut with the short-story collection Under Sten (Under Stone) in 1989, Jessen’s breakthrough came with the trilogy: Den der lyver (The One Who’s Lying; 2011), Det første jeg tænker (The First Thing I Think Of; 2006), and Børnene (The Children; 2009). The latter earned her the Booksellers Prize, the Golden Laurel and a nomination for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Her short story collection, Postkort til Annie (Postcard to Annie; 2013) earned her another nomination for the Nordic Council Prize. Jessen was recently awarded the 2017 Critics’ Choice Award (April 2018) for The Anagrams of Doctor Bagge. She is also a recipient of the Lifetime Award from the Danish Arts Foundation.
Martin Aitken has translated numerous novels from Danish and Norwegian, including works by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Peter Høeg, Ida Jessen, and Kim Leine. He was a finalist at the U.S. National Book Awards 2018 and received the PEN America Translation Prize 2019 for his translation of Hanne Ørstavik’s Love. He was a recipient of ASF’s Nadia Christensen Translation Prize in 2012 for Hildegard, by Anne-Lise Marstrand-Jorgensen; now in its 43rd year, ASF’s Annual Translation Competition awards prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a 20th- or 21st-century Nordic author.
About the Moderator
Désirée Ohrbeck served as a Danish Lecturer at the Scandinavian Studies Department at University of Washington from 2010-2016. She is now a proud board member for University of Washington Scandinavian Studies Advisory Board. Désirée M. Ohrbeck is a columnist writer for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and a frequent contributor in Danish media both on TV and radio. She has written op-eds, commentaries, and essays for Politiken, Berlingske Tidende and Jyllands-Posten.