Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Meet our graduates: Rosie Hedger

Winner of an English PEN Translates Award, Rosie is a Scandinavian Studies graduate who specialises in translating Norwegian literature into English.

Rosie Hedger is not alone among graduates of Scandinavian Studies in coming to university to do something completely different, falling in love with the subject, and changing degrees.

Photograph of Rosie Hedger in front of a waterfall
Rosie Hedger, Scandinavian Studies graduate

Having attended a LEAPS Summer School for widening participation in higher education, she originally enrolled at the University of Edinburgh in 2006 to study English Literature and French.

The benefits of a four-year language programme at Edinburgh often include the option to take ‘outside subjects’ in the first two years, and for Rosie this meant the chance to take Norwegian, something she enjoyed so much that she changed her degree to Scandinavian Studies, graduating in 2010.

In Year 3 (the Year Abroad), she spent a year at the University of Oslo, taking courses in Norwegian language and literature and researching for her Year 4 dissertation on contemporary Norwegian fiction.

Focus on female writers

Since graduating with an MA (Hons) degree in Scandinavian Studies in 2010, Rosie has lived in Sweden and Denmark, and is now based in the UK.

She is a self-employed, freelance literary translator, working on her dissertation specialism - contemporary Norwegian fiction - as well as books for children and young adults, and non-fiction.

Rosie has worked almost exclusively with female writers, with award-winning results. Her translation of Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s ‘Zero’ was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize 2019, and her translation of Agnes Ravatn’s ‘The Bird Tribunal’ won an English PEN Translates Award in 2016.

Her recent translations include ‘One Last Time’ by Helga Flatland (Orenda Books, 2021), and ‘Grown Ups’ by Marie Aubert (Pushkin Press, 2022). 

Gaining linguistic knowledge and confidence

Asked in what way her Scandinavian Studies degree has helped her in her career, Rosie says “without [it], I wouldn't have the linguistic knowledge or the confidence to do the work I do.”

“As well as studying one language to fluency and the other two to a functional degree, students are taught a great deal of wider context about the region, and are given the chance to specialise in their areas of interest.”

“I loved the small class sizes and close-knit nature of the Scandinavian Studies department, not to mention the range of topics available for students to choose to study.”

“The teaching staff are approachable, passionate and extremely knowledgeable - I couldn't have asked for more and have no doubts that my degree set me up for any success that I've had in subsequent years. If I could do it all again, I wouldn't hesitate!”

The opportunity to choose to study almost any language I could think of at university was amazing, and to reach the point that I could actually read books written in that language was such a breath of fresh air.

Rosie Hedger, Scandinavian Studies MA (Hons), 2010Rosie speaking to NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad in 2021 as Translator of the Month

Related links

Visit Rosie Hedger's website [external website]

Read Rosie's interview with NORLA in full [external website]

Read our interview with German and Scandinavian Studies graduate Becky Waterton