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2006:1 Issue

Swedish Book Review 2006:1 issueEditorial by Sarah Death

SBR is delighted to be publishing its third selection of Ingela Strandberg poems translated by distinguished Swedish Academy member Göran Malmqvist. Malmqvist does not only translate into English: he is a highly respected Sinologist and a prolific translator of Chinese literature, both classical and modern. He has written about his work in the article “On the role of the translator” in the recent Chinese literature issue of the American Literary Translators’ Association journal Translation Review (no. 70, 2005, p 2-6).

This diverse issue of SBR seems to offer something for all tastes, from Gunilla Zedigh’s exuberant translator response to Maja Lundgren’s rumbustious historical novel Pompeii, to the two extracts from books for young people about the trauma of starting a new school. These are a postscript to SBR’s 2006 Supplement (guest editor Marlaine Delargy) which is devoted to contemporary Swedish fiction for this age group.

The three reports from the international book fair scene confirm the very individual nature of these events. The recent debacle surrounding the London Book Fair’s unpopular move to the EXCEL centre in Docklands and subsequent messy decision, under pressure from the disgruntled Frankfurt Book Fair faction, to return its customary Kensington Olympia venue in 2007 highlights the importance to participants in these fairs of sense of place, of character and tradition. Think for example of the much-loved Hay-on-Wye festival, often knee-deep in mud, in a tiny, impractical “book town” on the Welsh borders. Literary festivals and book fairs are mushrooming everywhere, from Leipzig to Harrogate, and the appetite for them is certainly heartening. The Swedish Embassy in London, in conjunction with various sponsors, will be mounting its own festival this autumn: “Small Feet Go Far”, celebrating Swedish children’s theatre, film and books, will be held at the Unicorn Theatre and National Film Theatre, 11-29 October 2006.

SBR wishes a very happy retirement to Agneta Markås, tirelessly energetic foreign rights representative at Norstedts förlag for many years, and a staunch supporter of this magazine.

Last but not least, we wish a very happy fortieth birthday to our “sister” publication Books from Finland, whose advertisement can be found in this issue. Their coverage of Finland-Swedish writing from a Finnish perspective complements our own from a Swedish/English one.

Maja Lundgrenfrom Welcome to the Terrible Town of Pompeii
Maja Lundgren
Translated by Gunilla Zedigh
Maja Lundgren's Pompeji is a colourful and engaging book filled with linguistic puns, rhythmic phrases, poetry, vibrant descriptions, and Latin words that at the same time sound like Swedish slang. Gunilla Zedigh presents her translation of some early chapters from the book.
Ingela StrandbergThe Garden Path Full of Cat
Selected Poems by Ingela Strandberg
Translated by Göran Malmqvist
Göran Malmqvist presents his translation of selected poems which will form part of Ingela Strandberg's forthcoming anthology, to be published by Norstedts.
from My Ella
Kajsa Isakson
Translated by Sarah Death
When Ella Josefsson moves to a new school with ove 1600 pupils, life goes rapidly downhill. She doesn't fit in, finds it impossible to make friends, and is soon caught up in a spiral of poor behaviour and increasing isolation. Ella writes regularly to older "buddy" mentor Lina, who can't really be bothered to get involved until the day she finds Ella being bullied by a gang of girls...

Katarina von Bredowfrom Expert at Blushing
Katarina von Bredow
Translated by Marlaine Delargy
Fourteen-year-old Natalie and her widowed mother Lucia have just moved in with Lucia's new partner, Bo, and his 15-year-old son Jerker. Natalie has to make many adjustments, not least starting at a new school. How will she fit in? On her first day she has to make some difficult decisions and choices, and ends up feeling less than proud of herself...

Three Book Fairs, Three Perspectives - Edinburgh, Gothenburg, Helsinki
Ellen Mattson, Tom Geddes & David McDuff
Book fairs are big business these days, generating increasing amounts of international writer traffic, and the autumn of 2005 was no exception. But each fair still has its own character, and the impressions participants and visitors take away with them can vary enormously, as can be seen in our contributions from Ellen Mattson (The Edinburgh Book Festival Through Swedish Eyes), Tom Geddes (Gothenburg 2005: Book Fair and Literary Festival) and David McDuff (The Helsinki Book Fair).

Obituary: Ron Wakefield
Laurie Thompson
Ron Wakefield (1925-2003) was one of the most dedicated enthusiasts of Scandinavian literature in the English-speaking world, and quite possibly the most positive supporter of Swedish Book Review. Laurie Thompson presents his obituary of "a great man, and a great supporter of Scandinavian literature".

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