Utøya Thereafter: Poems in Memory of the 2011 Norway Attacks (2021)
Winner Stephen Spender Prize for Translation 2021
Winner Northern Writers Award 2021
Over the space of four and a half years, and through the pandemic, Norwegian poet Endre Ruset has been working with UK poet Harry Man to write poems in memory of those who were killed during the tragic events of the Oslo bombing and the mass shooting on Utøya Island on 22 July 2011. Rather than write a conventional book of elegies, they were interested in preserving some of the values held by these young and politically active teenagers and young adults. They finally arrived at the idea of concrete elegies.
These poems, written in the shape of faces, draw upon a long history of traditional elegy that travels as far back as Virgil’s Georgics. Additionally, Man and Ruset blend found poetry from eyewitness testimony, court documents and material used in the 22nd July Centre in Oslo, so it is the victims and survivors who are brought to the foreground.
The book is introduced by Ingvild Folkvord, Professor in the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and also includes a conversation between Harry Man and Endre Ruset about the challenges of writing from grief, collaboration and translation.