New in Denmark

Novelists Fighting Across Denmark

(Copenhagen, Denmark) October 31, 2014 – While the veil is thin between the physical and spiritual realms, there will be many children out trick-or-treating tonight. Much candy will be given, apples eaten adn a very few tricks played, but there is something else afoot in the darkness of the ngiht……clickety-clack-tippity-tap-tap-tap-tap. They are the sounds of fighting….

International Noveling in Denmark

That is the sound of the many fingers on keyboards across Denmark that will begin at midnight when people living in Denmark begin writing their novel. They are fighting a 30 days deadline to write 50,000 words of the world’s next great novel.

November 1 at midnight is the start of NaNoWriMo 2014 — the time of year when people gather hunched over their typewriters and keyboards to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Do you think you have what it takes to write The Great Danish Novel? Or The Great Polish Novel? Or The Great French Novel? Maybe you simply enjoy creative writing? Maybe you live in Copenhagen and are an open-minded person who would like to expand your network of friends to include some people from another nationality and country? Maybe you simply want an excuse to eat too much chocolate and drink too much coffee?

If any of those thing apply, go to the NaNoWriMo website, sign up under the Denmark Region and start writing! Join us at write-ins in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Fredericia, Odense, Aarhus and Aalborg. There is a calendar there of the various write-ins and plenty of people to meet, Danish and international, who live n Denmark and are writing.

It is one AWESOME and “novel” way of creating positive intercultural relations between Danes and internationals who live in Denmark. Because you write in any langiage you like and because participants have a common interest, it works!

In Denmark, NaNoWriMo has been operating as Kbh Skriver since 2014 and Aarhus Skriver since 2012 through the efforts of Humanity Institute and Copenhagen Cultural Network under the leadership of Denmark Municipal Liasion (ML) Barrett Clemmensen Powell — that’s me!

Plans have been implemented through Humanity Institute and Copenhagen Cultural Network to integrate NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) into the library systems in Denmark. The Aarhus and Fredericia library systems have embraced it in a big way!

NaNoWriMo Denmark gives you great noveling opportruities:

  • you have an opportunity to begin to make some international friendships over a common interest
  • you will get great tips will learn about plot bunnies, plot ninjas, write-ins and how to pimp your plot
  • you will get guidance for thriving and surviving the 30 days,

Burn That Midnight Oil

Tonight, at exactly midnight on November 1, 2014, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 250,000 people around the world — including nearly 2,000 people in Denmark (that we know of) will set out to become novelists.


How It Works

NaNo What? Why? November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants worldwide pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.

So what’s the point? “The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity,” says NaNoWriMo Founder and former Executive Director (and 12-time NaNoWriMo winner) Chris Baty.

“Who are we? We are Danes and expatriates living and working in Denmark who are creative writers. We write all genres, speak English and Danish at minimum, and gather enthusiastically in the land of Hans Christian Andersen for write-ins (with a lot of tea, coffee and cakes) in November of each year” says Barrett Clemmensen Powell, NaNoWriMo’s Denmark Municipal Liaison.

More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience for Danes and internationals living in Denmark. That sense of community even extends beyond the page—so much so that several dozen marriages and at least six babies have resulted from NaNoWriMo over the years.

Aarhus Public Libraries Joins NaNoWriMo

In 2012,  Aarhus Public Libraries  signed up as an official NaNoWriMo Library. The Risskov Library is one of Aarhus’ most used libraries. The Aarhus Hovedbibliotek will host write-ins this year on Thursdays from 12-14.

Risskov Bibliotek/Risskov LibraryMany from the Aarhus area participate and we have even had two Aarhus high school students who traveled to Copenhagen for the Kickoff Party before and the TGIO Party (Thank God It’s Over) afterwards, to be with other WriMoes. This year, for the first time, Aarhusians will have a Kickoff Party, courtesy of Risskov Library. NaNoWriMo’s Denmark ML, Barrett Clemmensen Powell (that’s me!), travels to Aarhus to host the Kickoff event party to talk about the contest and answer questions and teach you how to pimp your plot!

This year, 2014, Aarhus kicked off with a celebration at Godsbanen and Copenhagen did the same at Paludan Bog Café.

Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (which is also a film), and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, both #1 New York Times Best Sellers.

For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit or contact Barrett Clemmensen Powell, the Denmark Municipal Liasion at barrett(at)

The Office of Letters and Light is a California (USA)-based international non-profit organization. Its programs are the largest literary events in the world. Learn more at

To all the novelists in Denmark….

Write on!!!!!


Halloween! And the Marsh Woman is brewing…

Woop, woop!  It’s Friday and – for the kids and the young at heart – also Halloween!  The weather in Copenhagen is perfect for a spooky night: our clocks went back on Sunday so it’s twilight by 5pm, there’s a real chill in the air and it’s not really raining but just damp. Yesterday morning we had hard frost but the most beautiful sunshine.  I went running in the park with a friend at 8am and – boom – we both exlaimed, “Mosekonen brygger!” :-)

“Mosekonen” means “the Woman of the Marsh”.  And when there’s a ground mist like this, the Danes say that the Woman of the Marsh is brewing!  Poetic, non?

When I first moved to Copenhagen 16 years ago, Halloween wasn’t really a big deal. Very few people had lit, carved pumpkins outside their doors.  There were just two or three costumes you could choose from at Fætter BR (the Danish toyshop chain).  I always had a huge bowl of sweets ready…but no-one ever rang the bell! :-?

Nowadays it’s common for kids to go door to door asking “Gys eller Guf?” (Trick or Treat?).  And many will bake cakes or treats to take into school.  Here’s the batch my DD12 (dear daughter, aged 12) made for her Manga drawing class.

And it’s not just the kids who are getting into Halloween here.  Even the makeup ladies in our local MATAS (Danish chemist shop/drugstore chain) had ‘scary’ black and white Halloween painted faces this morning…  Hee hee, made a nice change from the ubiquitous ‘orange’ faces!  I’m being kept busy too…  My DS14 (dear son, aged 14) has his entire class (28 – count’ em – boys and girls!) coming here for a party tonight.  Yikes!  Or should that be Eeeeeek?

Let’s just hope we have enough crisps, cakes and sweets to stop them from turning into…right little monsters! :twisted:

Have a fabulous and frightful Friday!

Diane :)

Play Danish Music (To)Day!

Eek!  Where does the time go?  This is the fifth year here on this blog that I’m writing about “Spil Dansk” (Play Danish Music) Day! :)

Which keen readers will remember is celebrated on the last Thursday of October…  Want to trawl through my old posts on the subject?  Here they are:





Today – Thursday – the only music you’ll hear on Danish radio is by Danish groups (some of which also sing in English), Danish songwriters, Danish producers etc.  But if you’re interested in Hit Lists and what you’d normally expect to hear around these parts – and what people actually buy and add to their collections – then take a look at where you’ll find every official Danish list.

And what I’m I currently listening to?  Well – selvfølgelig – the latest album from Magtens Korridorer!  Where my sweetie friend R is a guitarist…  It’s called “Før alting bliver nat” (Before everything turns to night).   Magtens K. are nominated again (again, again, again) for this years Danish Music Awards.  This time in the category “Best Live Act”.  Yep, no doubt about that – they’ve been called Folkets Rockband (“The Danish People’s Rockband”)!  Two thumbs up!  Or should that be – as in their logo – one thumb up and two fingers forward? :P

Here’s one of their quieter offerings from the new album, complete with beautiful images of Copenhagen by night and, hey, even the lyrics – so you can practise your Danish and sing along!

Happy ‘Spil Dansk‘ Day!  Remember to turn it up to 11!

Diane :)

Granny, your Mum’s Mum and your uncle Bob!

Hello, hello  - yes, I’m still here!  I haven’t been away on holiday, honest.  I’ve actually been unable to post since the end of last week (the Denmark website was moved to a new server and some gremlins apparently went along for the ride).  But, hey ho, the editors here tell me that we’re all good, so finally I can write, write, write!

Tivoli is open for Halloween at the moment, so I took the kids in there on Sunday afternoon…

Pumpkins, spiders and limbs galore and lots of other spooky stuff.  Yes, yes, we even braved Hotel Scary.  And, yes, yes, I was the one who screamed loudest!

Anyway, after the shows and rollercoasters, we wandered around the gardens looking at the stalls.  DD12 (Dear Daughter, aged 12) spotted some personalised mugs – you know the type…

Maybe we should buy some as a Christmas present for Granny and Grandad in Scotland? Now, dear Reader, in Denmark you have a choice of three mugs for Granny. Listen up, I shall say this only once!

“Mormor” which is literally “Mum’s Mum”.  “Farmor” which is literally “Dad’s Mum”.  And “Bedstemor” which is Grandmother or Granny.

And another three for Grandad.  “Farfar” which is literally “Dad’s Dad”.   “Morfar” which is literally “Mum’s Dad”.  [On a sidenote: the Danish expression to "tage en morfar" means to take a nap! ;) ]  And finally we have “Bedstefar” which is Grandfather or Grandad.  

So you just need to decide if the gift is for your Granny on your maternal or paternal side and…Bob’s your uncle! :P

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane :)


Boo! Or ho, ho, ho?

We’re just back from efterårsferie - a.k.a. week 42 - a.k.a. the Danish schools’ half-term autumn week and we’re gearing up for Halloween.  Pumpkins galore at the greengrocers and – see – there was even a nice witch down at our local library!  Gys eller guf?  (Trick or treat?)

But – ho, ho, ho? – its also beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Denmark.  Now, to be honest, the Danes aren’t too bemused by the idea of Christmas in October.  So the shops are  v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y  adding sparkly items to their displays and waiting for Halloween to be over so that they can finally go full throttle.  Though I was at IKEA this morning and there the aisles were heavily decked with boughs of holly plastic fir.

Danish supermarkets are already pushing classic Christmas biscuits and clementines. Guilty as charged, I bought some! :P

But, like it or not, there’s no turning back ‘cos these babies are now on sale – lying in wait in the freezer section of your supermarket, ready to make an appearance at nursery, school or your coffee table.  Æbleskiver!  Has it really been a year?!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Diane :)