Literary Scandinavia - Susannah's Top Ten Places to Visit

A video talk

When I first started taking tour groups to explore literary Scandinavia, I was amazed at how many people looked blank when I mentioned my tour, and asked me if there were actually any Scandinavian writers.

The lands of fairy tales and fjords, Norse Gods and Vikings have produced wonderful novels, plays and legends. Scandinavian writers have been shaped by their unique landscapes, whether isolated Norwegian valleys or the many islands just off the coasts.

See Scandinavia through the eyes of its great authors and their works. I give you my Top Ten Literary Locations in Scandinavia.

Rich in literary connections

Once I start reeling off some famous Scandi names – Hans Christian Andersen, Ibsen, Blixen, Astrid Lindgren, Kierkegaard, Strindberg, Knut Hamsun, Stieg Larsson, Thor Heyerdahl, to name just a few (and that’s before you even begin on the Scandi crime writers) – then a look of dawning excitement appears. And then there are places connected with plays (Elsinore Castle) and with film (The Bridge), with Viking sagas and with song (Bjornsterne Bjornson, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature, also wrote the Norwegian National Anthem). Denmark, Sweden and Norway (sadly, my tour had to leave out Finland) are rich with literary treasures and wonderful places to visit. The Nobel Prize for Literature has had many Scandinavian recipients.

“Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination.”
― Astrid Lindgren

Shaped by dramatic landscapes

Extraordinary landscapes often inspire extraordinary books. Long cold winters seem to be the perfect background (and perhaps cause?) for murders. It’s a memorable experience following in the footsteps of gifted crime writers and their characters. Henning Mankell’s Ystad, Gunnar Staalesen’s Bergen, Camilla Lackberg’s Fjällbacka, Jo Nesbo’s Oslo – these are just a few of the cities associated with murder and detection. Lonely Planet ranks the ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ guided walk in Stockholm as the ‘No 1 Literary Walk in the World’. However, I have done one that is even better – discover which crime writer’s walk got me super excited!

An international influence

You all know the story of The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff, but did you know it was Norwegian, or that it was Pippi Longstocking whom we have to thank for the creation of Lisbeth Salander? Did you know that tiny Mrs Pepperpot is Norwegian, and that Nils who undergoes wonderful adventures on the back of a goose is Swedish? The moving fairy stories of Hans Christian Andersen are familiar internationally, but that’s only the beginning of the superb range of Scandinavian literature for children.

It is said that when Nora slammed the door behind her as she walked out on her husband in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, its shock waves were felt around the world. The literature of Scandinavia has often had an international influence, especially in the theatre.

With so many riches from which to choose, I found selecting just ten favourite places extremely difficult. And then I had to rank them in order of preference – I think there are about twenty different versions of my list! This talk might introduce you to a few relatively unfamiliar authors, it will take you into tiny cottages, grand castles, stunning cities and charming towns. You’ll see statues with unusual features, gardens, graves and bookshops, and you’ll be able to join in experiences that are unique to my tours.

Discuss it with me

How familiar are you with Scandinavian literature? Do you read Scandi-Noir? If not, why not? How many of the more than 40 official Book Towns in the world have you visited? Did this virtual talk make you eager to visit this part of the world? Let’s discuss it here.

Come with me to the land of fjords, mountains, mist and snows, and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Scandinavian literature.

Purchase the complete Virtual Talk (just $6)

At just $6 this Virtual Talk is a real video treat! In it, I count down through my 10 most favourite literary locations in Scandinavia. You’ll have almost 90 minutes of gorgeous armchair travel through these scenic, cultural countries. This talk is illustrated with photographs, paintings, scenes from different film versions and book covers – you’ll have plenty to look at while you listen.

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Discuss it with me

Did this virtual talk make you eager to visit this part of the world? Let’s discuss it here.

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Featured image credit- Literary Scandinavia – Top Ten Places to Visit, Hans Christian Andersen monument, St. Canute’s Cathedral, Odense, Denmark, photo by

Comments (2)

  1. Anne Harbers

    Hi Susannah

    I absolutely loved your Literary Scandinavia !!

    Having worked for a Swedish global biotechnology company for 25 years and made numerous visits and now researching and publishing on 18th century Swedish collectors – your Top 10 Literary visits gave me a totally new and wonderful perspective. You so successfully captured so many aspects of the Scandi feel whilst also showing the warmth and beauty of the cityscapes and landscapes that form a backdrop to the writing.

    Thank you – your talk was insightful and also so encouraging to explore some new writers – both of the past and present.

    I look forward to more of your Top Ten series from your Literary travels.

    All best

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I am delighted you enjoyed it so much, Anne. Many thanks for the feedback. It’s a really lovely part of the world, isn’t it.
      Hope all is going well for you?

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