[New Publication] On top of the world: mapping the Nordic crime fiction boom based on translation data (Open Access)

By Karl Berglund, Jesper Gulddal, & Stewart King


Nordic Noir – crime fiction originating in the Nordic region – is one of the most significant international publishing success stories of the twenty-first century. Despite its importance, no one has mapped and analysed the circulation of Nordic Noir as world literature. The present study addresses this knowledge gap by quantitatively mapping the global translation flows of Nordic Noir during the period of its greatest international success, from 2000 to 2020. Drawing on the “Nordic Noir in Translation Database” containing 8,886 translations from all five main Nordic languages – Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish – this study is the first to chart the so-called “boom” in a comparative macro perspective, bringing to light the nuances of its international dissemination and impact. Key findings relate to the chronological structure of the boom, the scale of Swedish dominance and the role of a small group of top authors in driving overall translation rates.