Nominated by:

Sølvberget, Stavanger Bibliotek og Kulturhus, Norway

Publisher of nominated edition:

Orenda Books, UK

The Bird Tribunal

Agnes Ravatn    

Translated from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger

2018 Longlist

 Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape…

TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough…

Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

About the author & translator

Agnes Ravatn  is an author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works Ravatn shows her unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), 2013, is a strange and captivating story about shame, guilt and atonement. Ravatn received The cultural radio P2’s listener’s prize for this novel, a popular and important prize in Norway, in addition to The Youth’s Critic’s Prize. The Bird Tribunal was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015.

Rosie Hedger was born in Scotland and completed her MA (Hons) in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She has lived and worked in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and now lives in York where she works as a freelance translator. Rosie was a candidate in the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentoring scheme for Norwegian in 2012, mentored by Don Bartlett.

Librarian’s comments

After an embarrassing scandal, TV host, Allis Hagtorn, resigns and runs away to a new life as housekeeper to the mysterious Sigurd Bagge. The whole book is characterised by an uncomfortable and ominous tone and an exquisite writing style. It is dark, thrilling and captivating, as we slowly learn more and more about these two lonely people.

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