On Wednesday, May 26, join us for a virtual book talk on The Employees with author Olga Ravn and translator Martin Aitken. With moderator Katrine Øgaard Jensen, they’ll discuss the novel, currently out in translation from Lolli Editions and shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize.
In the near-distant future, millions of kilometers from Earth, the crew of the Six-Thousand Ship consists of those who were born, and those who were made; those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew is perplexed to find itself becoming deeply attached to them, and human and humanoid employees alike start aching for the same things: warmth and intimacy; loved ones who have passed; shopping and child-rearing; our shared, far-away Earth, which now only persists in memory.
Gradually, the crew members come to see their work in a new light, and each employee is compelled to ask themselves whether they can carry on as before – and what it means to be truly living.
Structured as a series of witness statements compiled by a workplace commission, Ravn’s crackling prose is as chilling as it is moving, as exhilarating as it is foreboding. Wracked by all kinds of longing, The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering an overdue critique of a life governed by work and the logic of productivity.
This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above.
“A powerful and philosophical sci-fi experiment from a near-distant future, exploring what it means to be human and alive.”– Børsen
About Olga Ravn
Olga Ravn (b. 1986) is a Danish novelist and poet. Her novel Celestine appeared to critical acclaim in 2015. She is also a literary critic and has written for Politiken and several other Danish publications. Alongside Johanne Lykke Holm, she runs the feminist performance group and writing school Hekseskolen.
About Martin Aitken
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.
About Katrine Øgaard Jensen
Katrine Øgaard Jensen is a writer and translator from the Danish. She is a recipient of several fellowships and awards, including the Danish Arts Foundation’s ‘Young Artistic Elite’ Fellowship in 2020 as well as the 2018 National Translation Award in Poetry for her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s book-length poem, Third-Millennium Heart (Broken Dimanche Press/Action Books 2017). She teaches creative writing and literary translation at Columbia University, where she served as Acting Director of LTAC (Literary Translation at Columbia) from 2019-2020. Her translation of Ursula Andkjær Olsen’s Outgoing Vessel is out now from Action Books.