Barents writer wins prestigious Russian prize

Thor Robertsen is awarded for his book "Stories from Vardø" - published in Russia last year.

Thor Robertsen, a veteran in Norwegian, Russian cooperation, is awarded the literary prize “Polar Star” by the Union of Writers of Russia for his book “Stories from Vardø.”


Thor Robertsen’s book with stories from the Arctic Norwegian town of Vardø was published in Arkhangelsk last year. Arkhangelsk and Vardø developed close relations during the time of the Pomor barter trade, lasting from 1740 till 1917. Today the two are sister cities. 

After the book was published, Arkhangelsk regional library sent it to the competition of the Union of Writers of Russia. It was nominated and awarded in the class “Memoirs and social journalism.” The award ceremony takes place in St. Petersburg next week. 

“Stories from Vardø” presents scenes from Thor Robertsen’s childhood and adult life in Vardø and Finnmark. The book introduces readers to the daily life and humor of Norwegains living close to the Barents Sea.

Thor Robertsen has been active in Norwegian, Russian cooperation in the north since before the establishment of the official Barents cooperation in 1993. He has since had several positions in the Barents regional committee and in the board of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. 

In addition to his book “Stories from Vardø,” Thor Robertsen has published a fairytale book from the Pomor trade period. His latest book was published earlier in November; a comprehensive history book in connection with Finnmark Labor Party’s 100 years anniversary.

“The prize was unexpected,” says Thor Robertsen to BarentsObserver. He says his next book will be devoted to the Barents cooperation and his 25 years of cooperation with Russia in the north.