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Release: Jan. 13, 2000

Once forgotten Danish best-seller translated by UI law professor

IOWA CITY, Iowa – In Denmark, "The Fisherman" is the best-selling novel of all time. But the tale about the lives of a small group of pietistic Danish fisherman and their families who sojourn from peril and destitution near the North Sea coast for better lives on an inland fjord is totally unknown to English reading audiences. Until now.

Marc Linder, University of Iowa law professor, has spent much of the last year translating to English Hans Kirk's 1928 Danish book, which has been printed in 12 languages but not English. Linder's English translation resurrects for a new readership, the lives of the men and women who resettled in eastern Jutland (west of Copenhagen) where sexual, economic, religious, legal and other conflicts emerge between them and the established, less dogmatic Lutheran population.

Linder will read from his translation of the novel and tell about his passion in making it readable for a new public at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 at the Northside Book Market, 201 N. Linn Street, Iowa City.

Linder was given the Danish version of the book 25 years ago as a gift while he was teaching in Denmark. He has wanted to translate it since he returned. Recently after rediscovering it on his bookshelf, he set out to do just that. Along the way he received help from some local Danes who helped him understand Jutland's particular Danish dialect.

Penguin Books once owned the English language rights, but never published a translation. When Linder approached other publishers, they all declined to become involved with an old book that was unknown in the United States. The translation was published by Fanpihua Press in Iowa City and is now available in local bookstores, some of which are donating the proceeds to the UI Libraries.

Linder specializes in labor law and is the author of "Of Cabbages and Kings County," (1999) UI Press and "Void Where Prohibited," a 1998 book about workers' rights.