Nordic Research

Dr Mia Österlund

Date: Tuesday 29 March 2016 - 5.15pm (doors open 5pm)

What’s Up On The Glitter Scene? Recent Trends In Contemporary Finland-Swedish Literature

Events details

Venue: Room G.04 (Screening Room), 50 George Square

mia osterlund


Mia Österlund is a Docent in Comparative Literature at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. Österlund’s scholarship focuses on girlhood studies and gender in children’s literature. She has written a study on cross-dressing and girlhood (2005) as well as numerous articles on gender in children’s literature, including queer readings of picture books and graphic novels. She serves on the editorial board of Barnboken – Journal of Children’s Literature Research, on the Adjudication Committee for the Nordic Council’s Prize for Children’s Literature, as well as within he Society for Swedish Literature in Finland. Österlund has co-edited Celebrating A Displaced Hedgehog (2012) and an anthology on girlhood in fiction (2013). She is currently co-editing the first anthology on Monika Fagerholm’s authorship entitled Novel Districts. Critical Readings of Monika Fagerholm (forthcoming 2016).

Lecture Abstract

In the 1990s something extraordinary happened in Finland-Swedish Literature: curious, experimental narratives on girls in strange locations emerged. One of them was the Glitter Scene, a compelling girl’s room where girlhood was acted out in provocative – even militant pink – ways. The Glitter Scene came across as a new trope for depicting femininity. In her literary history work From Lexå To The Glitter Scene (2013), Tuva Korsström notes this node of contemporary fiction as ground-breaking.

What has happened is that Nordic Literature has taken a gurlesque turn – a new type of narration on girls, girlhood and femininity has emerged. Writing the gurlesque invites exaggeration, postmodern playfulness, as well as dense intertextual and intermedial traits. Not only are the characters in transition, situated in odd and gloomy districts, and alluding to Nordic Noir, but literary conventions are also constantly challenged and this kind of narration demands alternative ways of reading.

This new trend has its core in the Finland-Swedish author Monika Fagerholm’s experimental way of writing, and she has followers in both young adult fiction and in recent women’s writing. How is tradition and renewal addressed in contemporary Finland- Swedish literature and what trends are emerging?


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