Jón Kalman Stefánsson has been nominated for the Italian prize Premi Bottari Lattes Grinzane, for his novel Heaven and Hell (orig. Himnaríki og helvíti).
The novel, a mythically charged depiction of remote, turn-of-the-century fishing communities and their struggle against the overwhelming elements, was published in Italian last year, translated by Silvia Cosmini. The book’s initial print-run of 5,000 copies is at present sold out, with another one underway.
Heaven and Hell is the first installment of a trilogy, and the second volume, Sorrow of Angels (orig.Harmur englanna) is due out in Italian next November, along with an accompanying reading tour. At the time of this posting, translation rights to the third and final book, The Heart of Man (orig.Hjarta mannsins) have been sold to Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, with more negotiations pending.
The other two nominees for the prize are Italian authors Laura Pariana and Romana Petri. The prize was originally conceived to encourage reading among young people, and a vote cast by Italian readers aged 14-19 will determine who of the three will receive the final prize. The outcome will be announced October 13.
MacLehose Press, an imprint of Quercus books, published an English translation of Heaven and Hell by Philip Roughton in 2010.