If only I could speak Swedish! But I was able to fathom out some key points. One award is given to a foreign book translated into Swedish, and another to works in Swedish.
The foreign award is named after Martin Beck, and this is a tribute to Beck's creators those Viking Gods of the police procedural, Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. I received two of the series in the post today;
1969 The Fire Engine That Disappeared, with an introduction by Colin Dexter
1970 Murder At The Savoy
I now have 9 out of the 10 books.
Colin Dexter admits that until asked to write the introduction he had never read any of the Swedish married couples books.
For a crime writer not to have read Sjowall and Wahloo is like a playwright not having read Shakespeare. It is my day for bold statements. I am pleased Colin Dexter started to read the Martin Beck series, he is in for a treat.
Some interesting names appear among the list of recent foreign prize winners.
2006 Phillipe Claudel
2005 Arnaldur Indridason [Icelandic]
2004 Alexander McCall Smith
2003 Ben Elton
2002 Karin Fossum [Norwegian]
2001 Peter Robinson
2000 Thomas H. Cook
While the list of Swedish winners demonstrates how long it takes for a book to be translated into English even if it is a prize winner. There is probably a wealth of fine crime writing that we have not yet had the pleasure of reading because it is still untranslated.
2006 Stieg Larsson
2005 Inger Frimansson
2004 Asa Larsson
2003 Leif G.W. Persson
2002 Kjell Eriksson [for Princess of Burundi]
2001 Ake Edwardson
2000 Aino Thosell
Henning Mankell won in 1991 and 1995, and Hakan Nesser in 1994 and 1996.
One of the nice things about these new Harper Perennial editions is the P.S. extras with insights about crime fiction, crime authors, policemen, and Swedish society.
"the so called Welfare State abounds with sick, poor, lonely people, living at best on dog food....." The Locked Room 1973
On suicide: "Sweden led the world by a margin that seemed to grow larger from one report to the next." Cop Killer 1974