About the award

The Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award celebrates Andersen’s influence on writers around the world. It honours writers whose genres or storytelling techniques embody the spirit of Andersen’s rich oeuvre.

This international Danish literary award recognises writers who agree with the little boy in Andersen’s tale, “The Elderberry-Tree Mother.” “Mother says that everything you look at can be turned into a story, and that you can make a tale of everything you touch.”

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Our History

While vacationing in Spain, committee member Benny Nybo coincidentally read a book by author Paulo Coelho. The book made a strong impression on Benny, inspiring him to invite Coelho to Odense. The town’s mayor, Jan Boye, sent an official invitation, and in 2007, before a fully packed council hall, Coelho received his “Honorary Award.”

The prize, presented by Mayor Boye, consisted of a bronze sculpture “The Swan,” by sculptor Stine Ring Hansen and a swan diploma. A song, composed especially for Coelho, was entitled “The Beauty of Swan,” inspired by the fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling.” It had lyrics and music by Stig Nordestgaard and was performed at the award ceremony by soprano Susanne Elmark and baritone Jesper Buhl.

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The Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award committee

Members of the Award Committee use their life-long familiarity with the works of H.C. Andersen to identify a short list of authors whose work embodies the qualities of fantasy and myth exemplified by Andersen’s works. The Committee cooperates with the literature faculty of Southern Danish University (SDU). The SDU Advisory Board nominates suitable authors to the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award Committee.

Jens Olesen

Anne-Marie Mai

Claus Houden

Michael Møller Nielsen

Ellen Hillingsø

Mette Wester­gaard


Kalvebod Brygge 39 – 41, 1560 København V, Denmark, Tel: +45 33 300 200

Komitéen samarbejder med SDU, Syddansk Universitet, der qua litteraturfakultetets Advisory Board instiller egnede forfattere til Litteraturprisen.