Petersen, Mariane

Poet, translator, museum director and politician born in Sukkertoppen (now Maniitsoq, Greenland) in the municipality of Qeqqata in 1937.

Mariane Petersen is a trained translator: she has translated many novels by Nordic authors such as Vinterbørn by Dea Trier Mørch in 1988 (in Kalaallisut as Íssip nalâne inúngortut) and Århundradets kärlekssaga by Märta Tikkanen in 1989 (in Kalaallisut as Asanninneq naliitsoq).

First working as the curator of the Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu Museum (The National Museum of Greenland) in Nuuk, she was then appointed its Director, a position she held between 1982 and 2004, while also serving on the Nuuk City Council. Mariane Petersen stepped down from political life in 2004, but continues translation work in her post-retirement years.

In Greenland’s literary circles, Mariane Petersen is best known for her four collections of poetry. The first to be published was Taallat: niviugak aalakoortoq allallu in 1988. The title translates as "The drunken fly and others" and asserts the desire of the author to take revenge on this insect. In 1993, Inuiaat nunaallu was published. Widely acclaimed by critics, the work was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Her third collection of poems, entitled Asuliivik asuli was published in 1997. Her latest book, Piniartorsuit kinguaavi, Storfangernes efterkommere was nominated in 2013 for a second Nordic Council Literature Prize. The publishing house Milik, describes Mariane Petersen's writing as “sarcastic and humorous poems about today’s Greenland."       

Mariane Petersen also wrote two articles on Greenlandic cultural life. “Kalaallit arnat Nipaat: de grønlandske kvinders stemme” appeared in the journal Grønland in 1987, and “Festive Clothing and National Costumes in 20th century East Greenland” was a text co-authored with curator Cunera Buijs and published in the journal Études Inuit Studies in 2004.

Today, Mariane Petersen continues her work as a translator, contributing to the cultural promotion of Greenland.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.


(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.