– The applications we have received this year are of a high academic quality. They also demonstrate an impressive width in terms of the applicants' academic background. That is an incredible force, but it makes the task of selecting the five who get to come to Bergen a demanding one, says Ellen Mortensen, academic director of the Holberg Prize.
The stories that last
The topic of the masterclass the 20 applicants wish to attend is origin stories, which is also the focal point of Greenblatt's latest book project.
– I am fascinated by the story of Adam and Eve, and the incredibly long life of it. It has served as origin story, the truth about human origin, for Jews, Christians and Muslims. It still functions that way for millions of people, although some of us know scientifically that the story cannot be literally true. The stories that last the longest are the stories that elude us the most and yet seem to matter the most. We are a mystery to ourselves as a species, Greenblatt says.
Majority of Finnish
The number of applications shows that this topic sparks interest in all the Nordic countries. Finland tops the list with nine applicants. Sweden and Iceland are also well represented among the applications. This year applications from Norway and Denmark are the fewest in numbers.
Receiving the highest number of applications is yet not the goal in and of itself. The main thing is quality.
– This year we have received strong applications from all the Nordic countries, something we are very happy to see, Mortensen says.
Who will be coming to Bergen to take part in the Masterclass with Stephen Greenblatt will be announced in the following weeks.