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Grand News # 2 in March, 2009


News in short

  • Newcomers to the Agency: Viveca Lärn and Birgitta Stenberg. Very welcome!


Strong women in a tough world

Sigrid’s Secret is something as unusual as a historical novel by Karin Wahlberg, one of Sweden’s most read crime novelists. The story takes place in the 11th century, the border between the Viking Age and the Middle Ages. In the center is Sigrid and her struggle for a decent life in a hard time.


Karin Wahlberg, who is Sigrid?

“When we meet Sigrid the first time, she is a young woman, almost twelve years old, in a phase of breaking up. She has had a loving upbringing which has made her a secure girl and helps her when life gets stormy. It is arranged for her to marry a man, like girls from “better" families did at the time, and still do in many parts of the world, as well as in Sweden. Sigrid has both dreams and self-confidence and therefore won’t become the victim she really is.”


You have previously written crime novels with a strong support in present time. How was it to suddenly have to do extensive historic research?

“In the beginning, it was nervous. I had to strengthen all my senses; how did it smell, what did the food taste like, how dark was it inside, how did they deal with crop failure, disease and deaths, how did they bury their deceased? What if you were to spend day after day in birth labor, without knowing the outcome? Maybe the woman herself got in charge. I describe a time when Christianity more and more conquer the old faith in Aesirs and the Lake Mälaren area with the one God. But what did all that look like? All of this I have tried to learn about. When it finally came clear, it was like a bond developed between me and all the characters at Östergården and Sigtuna. I would have wanted to live back then, I am not a Middle Ages fanatic, but oh, how I like them all.”


A book the world needs more than ever

Meet Nicolas Jacquemot, author and relationship expert, who tells us about his newest book: What Optimists know – and You Can Learn. The book was recently released in Sweden and has in a short time been given a lot of attention in the press.


Nicloas Jacquemot, why should one read What Optimists know – and You Can Learn?

“Far too often, we pay of attention to our weaknesses and failures. Musts, shoulds and bad conscious make the everyday happiness hard to find. In What Optimists know – and You Can Learn, I turn the pessimism and the everyday depressions my back. I take the interesting research within positive psychology as my starting point. The reader is encouraged to identify his or her own strengths and values to find goals in life that seem attractive to reach. The practical mind tasks are altered with concrete advises and hints. I do not promise any ’quick-fix’ – change takes time and action. But my message is definite: Yes, you can!”


What is “positive psychology”?

“Positive psychology is a branch of research within the field of psychology, which devotes itself to examine optimal functioning – how we become our best selves. The term was launched 10 years ago by the American psychology professor Martin Seligman. The positive psychology pays attention to positive feelings, thoughts, flow, motivation and personal strengths. Simply, one wants to examine what goes right in life instead of what goes wrong.”


Words from the agent

In Sweden the Google Books Settlement has been discussed lately. The tone has been low and somewhat pending.


Older titles where the rights have run out will be scanned and made available for everybody via Google. Regarding books not fully as old, that are no longer available in the book store but where there still exists a rights holder, one will be able to start reading for free on Google and then eventually buy the full book. For this service Google will take 37% of the income. The publishers and the authors will settle the rest.


Exciting, is the opinion here at Grand Agency. The fact that books are made available in a kind of world library/world book store which is open for everybody is nothing but fantastic. But, there will probably be a continued lively discussion about how the rights for these giant back lists should be handled between the different parties of interest. It will be a great challenge for the field. And like so often at big changes, we can count on a displacement of power and new middlemen.


Are you a publisher that never have visited the Göteborg (Gothenburg) Book Fair in September? Don’t miss your chance to apply for the travel grant at the Swedish Arts Council by May 4th.


Best regards,

Maria Enberg


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