Listen to Writers & Company's special series on the Nordic imagination

Over four episodes, Eleanor Wachtel explores the popularity of Nordic fiction through interviews with Hans Rosenfeldt, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorthe Nors and Hallgrimur Helgason.
The four artists who will be interviewed for Darkness and Light: The Nordic Imagination are (from left) Hans Rosenfeldt, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Dorthe Nors and Hallgrimur Helgason. (Eleanor Wachtel/CBC, Jemal Countess/Getty Images, Submitted by Dorthe Nors)

In the midst of an exciting "cold wave" of Nordic literature, television and film, it's time to turn the focus on our fellow northerners. Writers & Companyhosted by Eleanor Wachtel, will be broadcasting a special four-episode series, Darkness and Light: The Nordic Imagination, on CBC Radio One.

Over the next four weeks, Wachtel will be interviewing writers from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland whose stories live on the page, the screen and the canvas. These in-depth conversations will explore the deep roots and connections between the countries that make up the Nordic region.

Keep reading to learn more about each guest.

Episode 1: Hans Rosenfeldt

Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of the award-winning Scandinavian series The Bridge, was interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel in Stockholm. (Eleanor Wachtel/CBC)

First up is Swedish screenwriter and novelist Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of the award-winning Scandinavian TV series The Bridge, which has aired in more than 170 countries and inspired several successful remakes. He also co-authors the bestselling Sebastian Bergman crime fiction series. Wachtel spoke with Rosenfeldt in Stockholm about the Nordic noir phenomenon, his early passion for Nancy Drew novels and the Swedish coffee habit, known as "fika." 

Eleanor talks to the Swedish screenwriter, novelist and creator of the hit show The Bridge, in part one of a new series, Darkness and Light: The Nordic Imagination. 56:58

Podcast: As of April 22, you can download it from CBC, Google Play or iTunes

Episode 2: Karl Ove Knausgaard

Karl Ove Knausgaard, pictured above at the Library Lions Benefit in New York on Nov. 2, 2015, is a Norwegian novelist. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard is the author of the phenomenally successful six-volume series My Struggle. His new, very different series is called The Seasons Quartet, and it takes the form of a letter to his daughter. From meditation on everyday objects and experiences, to revelations on how to live, Knausgaard's perspective on family — and the world — is unique.

The Norwegian author of the epic memoir My Struggle talks to Eleanor Wachtel about a new series, The Seasons Quartet, which takes the form of a letter to his daughter. 55:13

Podcast: As of April 29, you can download the episode from CBCGoogle Play or iTunes.

Episode 3: Dorthe Nors

Dorthe Nors is a writer from Denmark. CBC host Eleanor Wachtel interviewed her in Copenhagen. (Submitted by Dorthe Nors)

From Denmark, Dorthe Nors's latest novel Mirror, Shoulder, Signal was published to rave reviews in 2016. She's the first Danish writer to have a story published in The New Yorker, and her work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, Guernica, Boston Review, A Public Space and Tin House. In an intimate conversation recorded in Copenhagen, Nors shares with Wachtel her thoughts on The Little Mermaid, the Danish Songbook tradition, and the lifestyle concept of "hygge" that is gaining popularity around the world. 

Eleanor Wachtel travels to Copenhagen to talk to prominent Danish writer Dorthe Nors. The author's latest novel, Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, is about a woman dealing with family, loneliness and learning how to drive. 52:03

Podcast: As of May 6, you can download the episode from CBCGoogle Play or iTunes.

Episode 4: Hallgrimur Helgason

Eleanor Wachtel spoke to Hallgrimur Helgason in Reykjavik, Iceland.

From Iceland, Hallgrimur Helgason is a prize-winning novelist, painter, translator and essayist. His work, in all its dimensions, is witty, profound, and deeply engaged with the history and culture of his island nation. Wachtel spoke with Helgason in Reykjavik about everything from the ancient sagas to Bjork, volcanic eruptions to the economic crash of 2008, and why beer was banned in Iceland until 1989. 

Eleanor Wachtel talks to the prize-winning painter and novelist about Iceland's transformation from a forgotten nation to a booming cultural hub. Helgason's latest book, Woman at 1,000 Degrees, is an international bestseller. 53:59

Podcast: As of May 13, you can download the episode from CBC, Google Play or iTunes.

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