Helle Helle

Helle Helle

One of Denmark’s most celebrated authors is now translated into English with the unique novel, This Should Be Written in the Present Tense.

Helle Helle published her first book in 1993. Since then, her work has garnered critical and popular acclaim. She has been the recipient of the Danish Critics’ Prize, the Danish Academy’s Beatrice Prize, the P.O. Enquist Award and the prestigious Lifetime Award of the Danish Arts Council. Her novels and short stories have been translated into 13 languages, but This Should Be Written in the Present Tense is her first to be translated in to English.

The novel, which follows aspiring writer Dorte, is packed full of the minutiae of life, focusing on the ordinary existence of an unexceptional young woman. Dorte should be at university in Copenhagen, but instead has moved to Glumsø. Whilst pretending to go to university in Copenhagen, she mostly drifts in and out of casual relationships and visits her aunt’s smørrebrød shop.

Dorte is an unreliable narrator, passing over the most notable events in her life. This Should Be Written in the Present Tense is an intimate, unique novel in which nothing much happens but each sentence is a work of art that captures a whole story in itself.

Read English PEN's interview with Helle.