Olga Ravn explores what it really means to be human, while questioning the logic of productivity and a life governed by work. Translated by Martin Aitken.

The near-distant future. Millions of miles from Earth. The crew of the Six-Thousand Ship consists of those who were born, and those who were made. Those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on board a number of objects from a strange new planet, the crew find themselves becoming deeply attached to them. Human and humanoid employees both start aching for the same things. Warmth and intimacy. Loved ones who have passed. The far-away Earth, which now only persists in memory.

Shortlisted
The 2021 International Booker Prize
Published by
Lolli Editions
Publication date
Olga Ravn

Olga Ravn

About the Author

Olga Ravn is one of Denmark’s most celebrated contemporary authors.
More about Olga Ravn
Martin Aitken

Martin Aitken

About the Translator

Martin Aitken has translated numerous novels from Danish and Norwegian, including works by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Peter Høeg, Ida Jessen, and Kim Leine.
More about Martin Aitken

Actor Lucy Phelps reads an extract from The Employees

Actor Lucy Phelps reads an extract from The Employees, written by by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitken and shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize.

This video was created for Edinburgh International Book Festival in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and directed by Blanche McIntyre.

The Employees

I wanted a space that was completely confined, with no exit, and I also wanted to see what would happen if human beings were taken out of their ecology, away from Earth