Welcome to Swedish Book Review on the web! SBR was launched in 1983. It publishes two main issues every year. The main aim of SBR is to present Swedish literature to the English-speaking world. It carries translated extracts from the works of Swedish writers, often together with an introductory article.
This bumper double issue of Swedish Book Review holds a wealth of contemporary Swedish prose writing, ranging from a novel by a debut writer to a book by one of Sweden’s most established and esteemed authors.
Our first two extracts offer very different perspectives on the way people are often defined in today’s world – by moving or staying put. Kerstin Ekman’s latest book is a series of short essays on diverse subjects, expressing her deep concerns for our planet and inspired by the almost unnoticed changes that occur when we spend many years in the same place. In contrast, Hannele Mikaele Taivassalo’s poetic novel focuses on constant movement, travelling, always being on the way to somewhere else.
The journey from adolescence to adulthood features in Marie Hermanson’s delightful novel about a young man living in his father’s shadow and in Emma Holm’s beautifully written debut novel about growing from girlhood to adulthood.We also have a tale of rural horror by writer Magnus Dahlström and one of psychological suspense by Jonas Brun.
In a story set in the first half of the twentieth century, Johanna Holmström creates a rich and immensely moving novel about the fate of women in psychiatric hospitals and the definition of their madness. And in his latest book for children and young adults, award-winning writer Per Nilsson approaches difficult life issues with his usual warmth and clarity.
Our review of Julie at the National Theatre in London in 2018 examines Polly Stenham’s contemporary interpretation of Strindberg’s Fröken Julie and the modern question of an individual’s alienation from society.
Translator Marlaine Delargy is interviewed for SBR after her exciting win at the Dagger Awards at the end of 2018. And we also publish an interview with Susanne Bergström Larsson, Head of Swedish Literature Exchange at the Swedish Arts Council, who gives us an insight into her work promoting Swedish literature abroad.
Finally, our reviewers provide another fascinating glimpse into the huge variety of excellent books recently published in Swedish.
In the centenary of Ingmar Bergman's birth, our 2018:2 issue focuses on the literary aspect of Bergman's output, with an article on his unrealised screenplays and translated extracts from Jan Holmberg's The Writer Ingmar Bergman and Bergman's Work Diaries. The issue also includes translated extracts from Karin Boye's Astarte and from Johanna Nilsson's The Greener Abyss, a literary fantasy inspired by Boye's classic dystopian novel Kallocain. We also feature Jenny Jägerfeld's new novel for younger readers, Comedy Queen, and remember poet and translator Östen Sjöstrand and the work of Nordic Literary Translators Joan Tate and Patricia Crampton.
In spring 2017 SELTA organised a programme of literary and translation events around the theme of nature in Swedish writing. Sweden is renowned for its natural landscapes, and in a land of long coastlines and dense forests, the countryside is filled with thousands of lakes and rivers, mountains and wide open spaces. Sweden is also a world leader in sustainability and environmental protection, and with a long history in conservation it was one of the first countries to address the loss of natural resources. In many diverse ways Swedish literature reflects the beauty and raw magnitude of nature as well as the damage caused to the natural environment by industrial progress. Our spring issue is brimming with prose and poetry on these themes.
Our 2017:2 issue includes novelist and playright Sara Stridsberg's inaugural address on becoming a member of the Swedish Academy; we feature two very different books set on Baltic islands, by Anni Blomqvist and Martin Kellerman respectively; Sara Razai's second novel, which tackles themes of ethnicity, class and exclusion; a recent prose poem by Sara Sum Jensson/Jonas Rasmussen, inspired by a novella by Victoria Benedictsson; an extract from Magnus Florin's latest novel, which gives an interesting perspective on truth and falsehood in a timeless universe; and a glimpse into the daily life of an independent publisher from Nichola Smalley; and we remember the lives and work of Anna-Lisa Murrell and Eric Dickens.