Culture Round-Up: The Englishman who changed his name to Petersen to conquer Nordic Noir - The Post

Culture Round-Up: The Englishman who changed his name to Petersen to conquer Nordic Noir

New Order know all about name changes, but won’t want to change a note on their latest performance

June 20th, 2019 2:10 pm| by Ben Hamilton

Chris Paton, an English expat based in southern Denmark, has seen sales of his crime books soar since he changed his nom de plume to Christoffer Petersen – a surname he acquired through his Danish wife.

All it took was a trip to Blighty
The former teacher, who has also lived in Greenland, was inspired to start writing on a trip to his home country when he realised how popular Nordic Noir is thanks to the success of the Millennium trilogy, the Department Q series and TV series like ‘Broen’, ‘Borgen’ and ‘Forbrydelsen’.

“I realised that Englishmen are crazy about Danish crime writers,” he told DR. “I also discovered a whole section of Danish and Scandinavian books in a local bookstore.”

Name alteration the game-changer
Paton … sorry … Petersen released his first novel, ‘The Ice Star’, in January 2017. It tells the story of a female police officer on an expedition with the Sirius Patrol in Greenland, and with 138 pre-launch sales, he felt confident.

But sales dried up until he changed his name. Now he averages 1,000 sales a month and has sold in excess of 25,000 books, generating an annual income that is the equivalent of working as a part-time teacher.

A writer’s life isn’t easy
His goal is simply to earn as much money as he used to make as a teacher. He is, after all, “living the dream”, even if that does often involve waking up at 6 am, working until midnight, and sometimes writing an entire book in a month.

Petersen publishes his novels as e-books on Amazon – one of a number of cost-cutting choices he has made to maximise his returns.

Danglish to throw them off the scent
Because readers generally prefer short books, he tends to limit them to 300 pages, and he is also prone to sneaking a little ‘Danglish’ into his text (polar bears are white bears) to make it seem more authentic – like it has been badly translated!

But now the secret is out. As well as the Danish media taking note, crime fiction fairs from all over the world are inviting him to attend.

Sticking to what he knows
Meanwhile, yet another book, ‘Blackout Ingénue’, hit the screens on June 9, for which he sold several hundred copies in advance.

Set in a theatre in nearby Sønderborg, Petersen is strictly writing about locales that he knows – the name might not be authentic, but his experiences certainly are.


Mads Mikkelsen to play drunk teacher in rare Danish-language outing
Mads Mikkelsen has confirmed he will shortly be starting work on a Danish-language film – a welcome injection of star clout for the country’s movie industry. He has been cast in Thomas Vinterberg’s upcoming film ‘Druk’, a Zentropa and Nordisk Film co-production, as an alcoholic teacher at a gymnasium, one of the country’s upper-secondary schools. Thomas Bo Larsen, the racist brother in ‘Festen’, is also in the cast. Filming was delayed by a number of weeks following the tragic death of Vinterberg’s 19-year-old daughter in a traffic accident in early May.

Audiences in Aarhus get ‘another day in … hell’ at Ceres Park & ​​Arena
The crowd were singing anything but “One more night” at the end of Phil Collins’ concert at Ceres Park & ​​Arena in Aarhus on June 8. However, their disquiet was not caused by the poor performance of the former Genesis drummer and all-round 1980s all-star, but the staging. The 40,000 concert-goers generally agreed there were far too many in attendance at a venue not equipped to deal with their needs for access to bars and toilets, and many ended up having to wait over two hours to leave the carpark. Event organiser Live Nation has defended the staging, but many via social media were quick to point out that its 2016 AC/DC concert at the same venue drew similar criticism. The next concert at the venue is Toto on June 23.

Manchester legends remember the disorder of 1987 amid the joy of 2019
Following the triumph of their appearance at Northside on June 7, which most critics concurred was the best of the festival, the British group New Order have confessed to Jyllands-Posten that their last appearance in Aarhus was probably one of their worst. In 1987, revealed frontman Bernard Sumner to Jyllands-Posten, the Manchester band indulged in one too many Carlsberg Elephant beers whilst waiting to play at Aarhus Stadium. “By the time we made it on stage, everyone was drunk – even those responsible for setting up the instruments,” recalled Sumner. “One of the stage techs hit the wrong settings on one of the keyboards, so everything was out of tune.” Even Ekstra Bladet’s arch critic Thomas Treo gave their 2019 effort a top rating – a rarity by his standards.

DR new streaming service on trial ahead of autumn launch
DR is currently trialing the new version of its streaming service DRTV ahead of an official launch in the autumn. Viewers have until July 17 to select the new app, or otherwise they will have to wait. The current app has been criticised for not being as well-functioning at it could be, along with not having nearly enough titles. The latest version is accordingly reaching back into DR’s enormous back catalogue to serve up much heavier numbers, and experts generally concur it has a more attractive interface, along with more tailor-made features – for example, making it much easier to continue watching programs you have started but not finished.

Danish actress on the verge of stardom thanks to starring role
Danish actress Clara Rugaard is on the verge of becoming a household name across the world after co-starring with Hilary Swank in a new Netflix film ‘I Am Mother’, which has been released today. “I’m still trying to understand what happened. The whole thing is very surreal,” the 21-year-old from Hellerup told DR. ‘I Am Mother’ tells the post-apocalyptic story of a girl (Rugaard) raised in a room by a robot who meets her first fellow human as a young woman.