Norwegian and Russian Mining and Mining Communities in Monica Kristensen’s Oeuvre




Svalbard, coal mining, Monica Kristensen


Monica Kristensen is a Norwegian glaciologist, meteorologist, polar explorer and author of fiction (crime novels) and nonfiction (about expeditions, Svalbard, The Kings Bay Affair, and Roald Amundsen). In her altogether five crime novels, all of which take place in Svalbard, the plot is inextricably bound to place, i.e. to the Arctic. In two of her five crime novels, Kullunge and Den døde i Barentsburg, crucial parts of the action take place in the coal mines of Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. In her documentary book about the Kings Bay Affair she investigates the terrible mining accident in 1962 at Kings Bay mines that killed 21 miners. In this article I examine the literary construction of these specific places – the Arctic and the coal mines, or, the coal mines in the Arctic – in these three books, as well as the related political, ethical and existential questions of settlement and living conditions.


Bergverksordning for Svalbard. Lovdata.

Casey, E. (1993). Getting back into place. Towards a renewed understanding of the place-world. Indiana University Press, Bloomington

Grierson, J. (1979). Grierson on Documentary. Faber and Faber, London.

Karmly, D. (1975). Kings Bay-saken. Gyldendal, Oslo

Kristensen, M. (2012). Kings Bay-saken. Oslo, Forlaget Press

Kristensen, M. (2011). Den døde i Barentsburg. Oslo, Forlaget Press

Kristensen, M. (2008). Kullunge. Oslo, Forlaget Press

Massey, D. (2005). For space. Sage, London

Murley, J. (2008). The Rise of True Crime. 20th Century murder and American Popular Culture, Westport, Connecticut

Nichols, B. (2010). Introduction to Documentary. 2010 Bloomington Indiana University Press

Svalbardtraktaten. Lovdata.

Todorov, T. (1977). “The Typology of Detective Fiction”, in Todorov The Poetics of Prose Cornell University Press, New York

Wærp, L. (2015). «Heterotopisk Svalbard-krim». Nordlit no. 35, ed. by Sigfrid Kjeldaas and Anka Ryall.




How to Cite

Wærp, Lisbeth Pettersen. 2022. “Norwegian and Russian Mining and Mining Communities in Monica Kristensen’s Oeuvre ”. Poljarnyj vestnik 25 (1):72–85.



Articles (peer reviewed)