Per Marius Weidner-Olsen’s controversial debut novel was today nominated for Norway’s largest literature prize, but is not for sale because the publisher does not print new editions because he had not stated that he has previously been convicted of an assault case that overlapped with the book’s theme.
Critics praised this summer, new editions in August.
So fired by Forlaget Oktober because of what they believe is a serious breach of trust:
Per Marius Weidner-Olsen had not stated that in 2003 he was sentenced to prison for having obtained sexual intercourse through abuse of position or relationship of trust.
The publisher stated to NRK that the novel “I grew up almost like my own” had an overlapping theme with the verdict – which allowed the novel to be read in a different light. According to NRK, the publisher had been made aware of this after the aggrieved party in the verdict had reacted to the novel.
This created debate. The book’s total circulation of 2100 copies is now sold out. And today it is clear that the Brage Prize jury believes it is one of the four best novels published in 2020:
It has been nominated for the Brage Prize – Norway’s great prestige prize in literature – together with “Is Mother Dead” by Vigdis Hjorth, “I suggest we wake up” by the now deceased Beate Grimsrud and “Give according to ability, get according to need” by Olaug Nilssen.
His former publisher Ingeri Engelstad congratulates the author on the nomination:
– It is of course a very gratifying news for the author, and we congratulate him on the nomination, says publisher Ingeri Engelstad in October to VG.
She emphasizes that this does not change anything about their decision to end the collaboration with Weidner-Olsen.
– We are responsible for the decision we have made. There is nothing that changes either after the debate that has taken place or this award nomination. There is a thorough and well-thought-out assessment behind the decision in what has been a very difficult case, says Engelstad.
She confirms that they do not print new editions of the book – nor will they market it.
– Now he manages the rights to the book himself, and we are no longer the publisher for him, Engelstad says.
Per Marius Weidner-Olsen has in a column in NRK written about why he wrote the novel and why he did not inform his publisher about the verdict.
– Oktober publishing I think I have been disloyal since I have not informed about the verdict against me. But it is neither the publisher’s nor my right to anticipate reactions from the aggrieved party and then assess them in the publication process or writing process when the verdict and the aggrieved party are not mentioned in the book, writes author Per Marius Weidner-Olsen.
He writes that he was not aware that he had to disclose this judgment in order to comply with the contract’s clause on the duty to provide information. He believes that in addition to an ethical assessment, it is also a more “intellectual” assessment.
– If I had informed the publisher about the verdict, as they believe I should, and it would have led to the novel being demanded changed or not published at all, as they have opened for in retrospect, it would have raised questions about a the integrity of intellectual property and which conditions and persons in the author’s life outside what is mentioned are to be decisive for design and publication, he writes in the NRK article.
He emphasizes in the article that the sentence from 2003 has been served. Earlier this week, according to NRK, he notified of a possible compensation lawsuit against the publisher – since he is now missing out on income since the publisher does not print more books.
It is possible for a new publisher to print new editions of the book – but so far no publisher has confirmed that they want this. Several have stated to the industry website Bok365 that they will consider it if the author makes contact.
The Brage Jury: Annoying, enlightening – with an unpleasant glow
The Brage Prize is Norway’s most prestigious literature prize – and will be awarded in Oslo on 26 November. The Brage jury highlights the theme of sexual abuse and the protagonist’s own border crossings in its justification for the nomination:
The jury says the following about Weidner-Olsen’s novel “I grew up almost like my own”:
«The novel is a depiction of growing up told in retrospect by the adult protagonist, and among the defining experiences from childhood and early adolescence, we read about both sexual abuse and about the protagonist’s own border crossings. Early sexual experiences, concealment, and theft are the subject of investigations into guilt and shame in this book. “
The jury highlights “the credible and nuanced reflections on the protagonist’s experience of the abuse he is subjected to” as one of the book’s foremost qualities.
“The book draws with it how blurred boundaries between sexual exploration and the victim situation can be, and thus the book makes an interesting contribution to a current public debate about the relationship between victim and abuser.”
The jury also believes that Weidner-Olsen’s novel is “harrowing, and it is enlightening, with a gloomy, unpleasant glow.”
Here are the Bragen nominations 2020:
Beate Grimsrud: “I suggest we wake up” (Cappelen Damm)
Read VG’s review here: Dice roll 6!
Vigdis Hjorth: «Is mother dead» (Cappelen Damm)
Read VG’s review here: Hardcore om mor
Olaug Nilssen: “Give according to ability, get according to need” (Samlaget)
Read VG’s review here: When the family is smashed
Per Marius Weidner-Olsen: Forlaget Oktober
Children’s and youth books:
Helene Guåker: «High voltage danger to life» (Det Norske Samlaget)
Jenny Jordahl: “What really happened to you?” (Cappelen Damm)
Gulraiz Sharif: “Listen here!” (Cappelen Damm)
Read VG’s review here: Very, very nice book!
Andreas Tjernshaugen and Line Renslebråten (ill): «The Blue Whale» (Kagge)
Erika Fatland: «High: a journey in the Himalayas» (Kagge)
Read VG’s Review here: She renews the travel genre
Alfred Fidjestøl: «My battles: the biography of Drillo» (Gyldendal)
Read VG’s review here: Drillo tells the whole story
Dag O. Hessen: «The world at the tipping point» (Res Publica)
Read his article in VG: How bad can it go?
Sigrun Slapgard: «A secret life: special agent and Spanish volunteer Wilhelm Holst» (Samlaget)
Open class: Utility books adults and children / youth:
Lene Drange and Tore Løchstøer Hauge: «Snaponomi – become super good at your own finances» (Vigmostad & Bjørke)
Thomas Horne: «The great climate guide» (Forlaget Press)
Olav Schewe and Barbara Oakley: «The Super Brain. The best strategies for learning »(Universitetsforlaget)
Johannes Slettedal and Martin Aas (ill.): «Nettvett med Johannes. Get smart on the internet! » (Gyldendal)