Introducing Faroese Sensation, Bárður Oskarsson
Posted by Darf Publishers, May 3rd 2018
A couple of hundred miles north off the coast of Scotland sits a Nordic archipelago with a population of 50,000. The Faroe Islands has an old literary tradition, one which remained oral until the second half of the nineteenth century. For centuries before, the Danish language was the written word and Faroese was only spoken, until Lutheran minister Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb established the native language’s orthography in 1846. Since then a rich written literary tradition has evolved, producing an array of writers, who have been translated into many languages.
One the country’s most translated writers is author/illustrator Bárður Oskarsson. Since publishing his first book Ein hundur, ein ketta og ein mús/Dog, Cat and Mouse in 2004, he has written and illustrated a further six children’s books. The English rights to all seven have been acquired by Darf Children’s Books, and will be hitting shelves over the next twelve months.
Three will be released in October:
Dog, Cat and Mouse live peacefully alongside one another. But there is the problem – they are all bored! No more playing, chasing or tricking each other. That is until boredom gets the better of Dog. He decides to sneak up on Cat and scare her, just like he used to. Then suddenly, things turn a little chaotic…
Bob is intrigued by what might be on the other side of the tree. Only once has he been by the tree to have a look, but he didn’t dare go further. Bob’s friend Hilbert claims that he’s been on the other side of the tree several times. He even says that he’s flown around the world using his own wings, despite him being a dog. Bob isn’t quite sure what to believe…
A tiny rat and her friend Wilbert are playing hide and seek. Despite being humongous, the rat cannot find Wilbert anywhere. A passing crocodile, with a mouth full of shiny teeth, offers the rat a helping hand. Together they search high and low, until eventually the rat spots Wilbert. But there’s a problem – the crocodile can’t see Wilbert, even when he’s standing right in front of him! Why ever not?
Oskarsson’s approach to both illustration and storytelling is rather freewheeling. His ability to convey the complexities of human perspective and emotions through captivating, witty illustrations is why his work is being so widely translated. Some of his work can be read in English, Swedish, Danish, Slovenian, French, German, Polish, English, Norwegian and Icelandic. However, Darf are the first to publish all seven of his titles.
Oskarsson’s literature promises to bring a hilarious, thought-provoking collection to children’s bookshelves, and will undoubtedly leave parents pondering the deep, existential themes at play in his work.
Darf will release the next four of Oskarsson’s titles (Bone; Paul, the Giraffe; The Battle for the Good Grass, and The Flat Rabbit) in March/April 2019.
Bárður Oskarsson (born 18 July 1972 in Torshavn) is an award-winning Faroese artist, author and illustrator. Early in his career, Oskarsson was an illustrator for the Faroese children’s magazine, Barnablaðið (now known as Strok). At the age of twenty, he illustrated his grandfather Oskar Hermannsson’s children’s novel, Undir tussafjøllum/Under the Troll Mountains (1992). Since then he has illustrated books by several Faroese authors including Marianna Debes Dahl and Guðrun Gaard. He is the author of seven children’s books.
Awards & Nominations
- 2006 – White Raven of The International Children`s Digital Library, Special Mention, for Ein hundur, ein ketta og ein mús/A Dog, a Cat, and a Mouse
- Grunnur Torvald Poulsens, 2005 (scholarship)
- 2006 – West Nordic Council’s Children and Youth Literature Prize
- 2007 – Barnabókaheiðursløn Tórshavnar býráðs
- 2013 – White Raven of The International Children’s Digital Library for Stríðið um tað góða grasið/The Battle for the Good Grass
- 2013 – Der LUCHS-Preis für Kinder- und Jugendliteratur nr. 322 for Das platte Kaninchen/The Flat Rabbit
- 2014 – Nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize for Flata kaninin/The Flat Rabbit
- 2015 – Received a one-year working grant from Mentanargrunnur Landsins (from the Faroese Ministry of Culture)
- 2016 – Nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize for the book Stríðið um tað góða grasið/The Battle for the Good Grass