‘Coast of Slaves’ (1967), ‘Ships of Slaves’ (1968), and ‘Islands of Slaves’ (1970) are a trilogy of novels centred on Denmark’s slave trade, written by Danish writer Thorkild Hansen (9 January 1927 – 4 February 1989), that was awarded the ‘Nordic Council Literature Prize’ in 1971. The main character is Peter von Scholten, one of the many tragic heroes in Thorkild Hansen’s work, who finds himself in conflict with the standards of his time, so much so that he ends impeached for abolishing slavery on the Virgin Islands. Although Thorkild Hansen represents the ‘Nordic vanguard’ of documentary novels, and despite the documentary theme in itself, his style shows an ‘extremely free approach’ to facts. Hansen grew up in Copenhagen, became a critic, and later participated in several archaeological expeditions (Kuwait, Hudson Bay, Nubia); he also often visited France, in many respects his spiritual home. According to the Adjudicating Committee, "with historical expertise and artistic power, Thorkild Hansen has brought to life an example of rich countries’ exploitation of poor countries."
Books, Culture, Denmark, Literature