My Work by Olga Ravn, translated by Jennifer Russell and Sophia Hersi Smith

My Work by Olga Ravn, translated by Jennifer Russell and Sophia Hersi Smith

Winner of the Politiken Literature Prize


Literature in Translation Series
Literary Fiction / Autofiction
Publication Date: September 5, 2023
5.25 x 8 inches
416 pages
Trade Paperback
ISBN 9781771668644

Trade Paperback

From the acclaimed author of the International Booker Prize–shortlisted literary sensation The Employees comes a radical, funny, and mercilessly honest novel about motherhood.

Anna is utterly lost. Still in shock after the birth of her son, she moves to snowbound Stockholm with her newborn and boyfriend, where a chasm soon opens between the couple. Lonely and isolated, Anna reads too many internet articles and shops for clothes she cannot afford. To avoid sinking deeper into her depression, she must read and write herself back into her proper place in the world.

My Work is a fervent, intimate, and compulsive examination of the relationship between motherhood, writing, and everyday life. In a mesmerizing, propulsive blend of prose, poetry, journal entries, and letters, Olga Ravn probes the pain, postpartum depression, housework, shopping, mundanity, and anxiety of motherhood, all the while celebrating the unbounded that comes from the love in a parent and child relationship—and rediscovering oneself through art.

Praise for My Work

“Olga Ravn has not only added a highly personal and literary page-turner to her body of work: she has made a brave and important contribution to literary history and social debate, which since the 1970s has been in dire need of writing that incorporates lived experience.” —Børsen

“Olga Ravn writes dazzlingly about the task of motherhood and the task of writing. Her poems feel as though they were written in the maternity ward. Reading Ravn’s book, you run through the whole gamut of human emotion, as though you too were a new mother: tears, laughter, anger, fear, pain, frustration. This is powerful writing that’s hard to put down… perhaps because you sense that ‘this text is meant to keep me alive’.” —Politiken

“Ravn traces the threads of motherhood back into a more-than-human past… Luminous.” —Jyllands Posten


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About the Author

Olga Ravn is one of Denmark’s most celebrated contemporary authors. Her novel The Employees, translated by Martin Aitken, was nominated for numerous prizes, including the International Booker Prize and the inaugural Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction. Time Magazine named The Employees one of the 100 Must-Read Books of 2022. My Work, originally published in Danish as Mit arbejde, won the Politiken Literature Prize in 2020. In collaboration with Danish publisher Gyldendal, she edited a selection of Tove Ditlevsen’s texts and books that relaunched Ditlevsen’s readership worldwide. She has also worked as a critic, teacher, and translator. Ravn lives in Copenhagen.

Jennifer Russell and Sophia Hersi Smith are translators living in Copenhagen. They received an American-Scandinavian Foundation Award for their co-translation of Rakel Haslund-Gjerrild’s All the Birds in the Sky in 2020. Their translations have appeared in The Paris ReviewGrantaAsymptoteEuropeNow, Poetry International, and on stage.