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The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

The novel has been sold in seven countries and will be published next year as ‘The Prophets of Eternal Fjord’ by Atlantic Books in the UK and Norton in the US (Photo: Book cover)

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Kim Leine’s fourth novel, ‘Prophets From the Fjord of Eternity’ (Profeterne fra Evighedsfjorden) was announced the winner of The Nordic Council Literature Prize for 2013 on Friday, November 1.

The historical novel is set in colonial Sukkertoppen, now Maniitsoq, in West Greenland in 1793. Inspired by real events in the extended Danish kingdom in the late 1700s, it explores the animosity between Inuit communities and colonialists and portrays the “losses and gains of culture clash [and] the quest for freedom,” as described by the Danish Literary Magazine.

The inspiration for the book came from Liene’s keen interest in Greenlandic history, and as a historical piece, the novel required an extensive amount of research. According to Leine, emphasis was placed on eyewitness accounts from the 1700s and the literature Mads Lidegaards.

“While I was [in Maniitsoq] I read everything I could find… I've created a synopsis of five major books on Greenland, but it was the 'prophets' that required most research,” Leine told Information DKHowever, the complex and troubled relationships explored through the story are the most important element of the novel. Leine said it was most interesting to formulate the story of “how [the characters] love, misunderstand, harm each other and even come to kill each other”.

Leine made his debut in 2007 with the autobiographical novel, ‘Kalak’ described by Danish critics as a book “of unforgettable qualities that will survive the otherwise merciless oblivion to which most writers’ debuts are consigned.”