Iperborea was founded by Emilia Lodigiani in 1987, with the aim of making Northern European literature known in Italy. Being the first publishing house in Italy to explore this geographical area, we were able to choose from a large pool of exceptional writers, ranging from Nobel Prize winners, either unpublished or in new translations, to the most talented contemporary voices.
In addition to Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland), Iperborea publishes literature from the Baltic states, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Iceland (including its medieval sagas), as well as children’s fiction from the same areas of the world (in a series called I Miniborei) and the Moomin comic strips by Tove Jansson.
In 2018, Iperborea launched The Passenger, a book-magazine that collects reportages, long-form journalism and narrative essays with the aim of telling the story of the contemporary life of a place and its inhabitants. Since 2020 The Passenger is also available in English language (in a coedition with Europa Editions).
In 2021 came another book-magazine called Cose Spiegate Bene («Things Well Explained») a series of monographies by various authors on topical cultural and political topics (such as gender, drugs, justice, the book industry, etc) in collaboration with the Italian online newspaper ilPost.it.
Since 2014, Iperborea has also been organising in Milan and several other Italian cities the festival I Boreali, dedicated to Nordic cultures.
Iperborea’s authors have won several prizes in Italy, including among others:
- Kader Abdolah: Premio Grinzane Cavour in 2009, Premio Acerbi 2016 (ex aequo with Jan Brokken);
- Anne Cathrine Bomann: Premio Scrivere per Amore in 2019;
- Morten Brask: Premio Kihlgren 2014, Premio Bottari-Lattes 2015;
- Jan Brokken: Premio Acerbi 2016 (ex aequo with Kader Abdolah); Premio Tribùk 2020;
- Per Olov Enquist: Premio SuperFlaiano in 2002, Premio Mondello in 2002, Premio Scrivere per Amore in 2007, Premio Napoli in 2007;
- Fulvio Ferrari: Premio Gregor Von Rezzori 2016 (best translation of the year with «The Fly Trap» by Fredrik Sjöberg;
- Einar Már Gudmundsson: Premio Acerbi in 1999;
- Lars Gustafsson: Premio Agrigento in 1991, Premio Grinzane Cavour in 1996, Premio Boccaccio in 2012; Premio Nonino in 2016;
- Levi Henriksen: Premio Acerbi 2018;
- Siri Ranva Hjelm Jacobsen: Premio MARetica 2019;
- Björn Larsson: Premio Boccaccio Europa in 2000, Premio Elsa Morante in 2000, Premio Grinzane Biamonte in 2008, Premio Sanremo “Libro del mare” in 2008 and Premio Corsaro Nero in 2008, Premio Selezione Bancarella 2012, Premio «Globo per la letteratura» 2016, Premio Acerbi 2020;
- Andri Snaer Magnason: Premio Terzani 2021;
- Cees Nooteboom: Premio Grinzane Cavour in 1994, European Poems Prize in 2008, Premio Bruce Chatwin in 2010; Mondello Prize in 2017; Lerici Pea Award in 2016; Premio Sandro Onofri in 2014;
- Arto Paasilinna: Premio Acerbi in 1994, Premio Speciale from the Panel of Premio Città di Gaeta “Letteratura di Viaggio e Avventura” in 2008, Premio letteratura umoristica “Giovannino Guareschi” 2016;
- Leonardo Piccione: Premio POP 2019, Premio “L’Albatros – Palestrina” 2019, Premio Malvasi 2020;
- Ulf Stark: Premio Andersen 2018; Premio LiBeR 2020;
- Jón Kalman Stefánsson: Premio Von Rezzori 2012.
- Katarina Taikon: Premio Scelte di classe 2019;
- Jakob Wegelius: Premio Mare di libri 2021, Premio Andersen 2021, Premio Orbil 2021.
Iperborea itself has won many prizes:
- the Academy of Sweden Prize in 1993, for its role in the promotion of Swedish culture abroad;
- the Italian Prize for Translation in 1994, awarded by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage to the publisher who produced the highest-quality translations;
- the Cultural Prize of the Presidency’s Cabinet in 2000;
- the European Publisher Prize, awarded by the Municipality of Rome in 2004;
- the Premio Axel Munthe in 2008, for the “unremitting commitment” to the circulation of Northern European Literature;
- the Swedish Promoter of the Year Prize in 2008;
- also in 2008, Iperborea was selected as one of the “one hundred cases of excellence in Italy” by the Eurispes Institute;
- the Premio Lo Straniero in 2009, with the following motivation: “Since the 1980s, the Milanese publishing house Iperborea, founded and run by Emilia Lodigiani, advances and popularises northern European culture in Italy, translating its literature’s most relevant works, including the early sagas alongside Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries classics, and following new authors with selective care and expertise. There is much talk of Europe, but only a handful of Italian enterprises can claim to promote awareness of other cultures from the continent: Iperborea is among the friendliest and most rigorous ones, and gave us the chance to approach the work of very important authors whom perhaps we wouldn’t have known otherwise”;
- Also in 2009, Iperborea was awarded the Manuzio Prize because its books, in the Italian market, represent “one of the most significant and qualified efforts, in terms of relevance and clarity of vision”;
- the Premio Andersen in 2019 for its children’s fiction series I Miniborei;
- the Premio Enrico Filippini at the 2020 Monte Verità Festival, for its “courage and creativity”.