The 2011 P2 Listener's Novel Prize nominations

The 12 authors who are up for the prize: Gunstein Bakke, Tomas Espedal, Levi Henriksen, Jan Kjærstad, Cathrine Knudsen, Merethe Lindstrøm, Øystein Wingaard Wolf, Marit Eikemo, Ragnar Hovland, Tore Renberg, Stig Sæterbakken og Linn Ullmann.

The 12 authors who are up for the prize: Gunstein Bakke, Tomas Espedal, Levi Henriksen, Jan Kjærstad, Cathrine Knudsen, Merethe Lindstrøm, Øystein Wingaard Wolf, Marit Eikemo, Ragnar Hovland, Tore Renberg, Stig Sæterbakken og Linn Ullmann.

“The P2 Listeners Novel Prize is the only Norwegian literary prize that has a public jury debate, so that everyone can hear what happens as the jury discusses their way to a winner,” said literary critic and jury leader Marta Norheim to NRK.no.

A jury of seven from NRK’s ​​culture department has selected twelve books to nominate for the prize. This long list of twelve novels, however, shall soon be reduced to six.
A jury will discuss which of the six deserves the coveted title. The discussions can be followed on the radio.

A jury of seven from NRK’s ​​culture department has selected twelve books to nominate for the prize. This long list of twelve novels, however, shall soon be reduced to six. The jury will discuss which of the six deserves the coveted title. The discussions can be followed on the radio.

Critics have argued that since this is a listening price, then listeners should also have a say in the nominations. According to Marta Norheim, it is easy to understand this argument, but she will still defend the system of a jury.

“About 100 novels come out in a year, and very few listeners have time to read through them all. Even though we critics do not read all from cover to cover, we can guarantee that all have been browsed and read through by us,” said Norheim.

She believes that the process becomes more democratic in this way, because everybody gets a chance to win, even novels that have not received considerable attention in the media.

As the title suggests, only books in the “novel” genre are considered for an award.

“It’s okay to stick to one genre. First and foremost because it is difficult to compare poetry, short stories and novels,” said Norheim.

She is now in the process of looking over the nearly 100 applications from people who want to be involved in the listening jury. Unfortunately, there is room for only six jurors, three women and three men.

What kind of qualities does the jury foreman look for?

“The most important thing is that they love to read, and that they like to talk. To be wise and silent on the radio does not work so well,” Norheim said.

The six chosen jury members will be presented in December, about the same time that it made ​​known which six of the twelve novels they will discuss and determine a winner from. Variation in the listening jury is essential, according to Norheim.
“We would like to have different voices and dialects, and there is also an advantage if they have different literary tastes,” said Norheim.
The nominated novels are presented in turn on the air, and then discussed. With six jurors and six novels, it becomes quite a struggle to speak out for a particular favorite author.
During the process, the list of six is shortened to three finalists, and this is followed by a short grieving process for those who lost their favorite.
But, as in all jury decisions, someone always has to give up eventually.
Norheim is looking forward to having the jury in the studio.
“There are often fun encounters. Jury members already have something in common, and that is that everyone has read the books we discuss,” she said to NRK.
The debates and judgments will be heard on Norwegian radio February 11, 2012.

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