This fall, join us for a virtual literary series with the nominees of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize! Awarded since 1962 alongside other prizes from the Nordic Council in music, film, and environment, the Literature Prize is selected annually for a work of fiction (poetry, prose, or drama) written in one of the Nordic languages. Created to generated greater interest in the sense of Nordic cultural community and to recognize unique artistic endeavors, each year’s prize is selected by the Nordic Adjudication Committee, made up of two members from each of the Nordic nations.
This year’s nominee from the Sámi language areas, Mary Ailonieida Sombán Mari’s poetry collection Beaivváš mánát (Mondo Books, 2020) draws us into the Sami experience of abuse of power, racism, and contempt on the part of public authorities.
Written in two languages — including Norwegian in the first part (Leve blant reptiler (Living among reptiles)) and Northern Sámi in the second (Beaivváš mánát) — the collection empowers Sámi readers while offering insight to non-Sámi readers through its portrayal of moments in time. The poems draw attention to the lack of humanism in the ideology of the past while tracing a line between it and the modern day. In today’s discussion, the author will discuss the collection with moderator Lisa Monica Aslaksen.
This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the Q&A or send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 Author
Mary Ailonieida Sombán Mari has been a pioneer of the Sami language in several literary genres and has published many solid works, including the first children’s book in Sami: Ámmul ja alit oarbmælli (1976, which translates as Ámmul and the blue cousin) and the first Sami erotic novel, Bajándávgi (2004), which is told from a woman’s perspective. She was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2016 for the children’s and young people’s book Čerbmen Bizi (‘Bizi the little reindeer’, not translated into English).
She was nominated for the Hedda Prize in 2013 for the play Stáinnak / The White Reindeer. Mary Ailonieida Sombán Mari was also among the Sami writer pioneers who established Sámi Girječálliid Searvi (SGS) (the Sami Writers Association) in 1979.
About the Moderator
Lisa Monica Aslaksen is Assistant Professor in Sami Literature at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where she has been teaching since 2021. From 2007-2021 she has been Head of section and senior advisor at the language department at the Sami Parliament. Her research interests are Sami literature, Sami cultural history and Sami literature didactics.