Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry


Taboos, Trends and Debates in Contemporary Scandinavian Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Start: Jan 27, 2014 05:15 PM
End: Jan 27, 2014 07:30 PM

Location: UCL, Roberts 508

A public lecture by Anna Nordenstam (University of Gothenburg).

Children’s literature is a delicate thing. Many publishing houses will avoid certain themes, and some publications do generate heated debates. One such recent debate in Sweden dealt with the figure of Lilla Hjärtat (the little heart) in the film and picture-book by Stina Wirsén (2012). In newspapers and in academic debates the question was raised whether The Little Heart should be considered a racist figure? In Denmark another picture-book, Oskar K. and Dorte Karrebæk’s Lejren (The Camp, 2011), attracted attention for its gruesome depiction of children in what resembles a concentration camp run by adults. Is this really a book for children? The lecture will address such taboos, trends and debates in contemporary Scandinavian children’s and Young Adult literature.

Anna Nordenstam is an Associate Professor in Comparative Literature at University of Gothenburg and Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University. She is currently working on the research project “Gender and Science. The Development of Women's Literature Studies in Sweden, 1965–1985”, and has published widely on the topic of Swedish children’s literature.