2016:2 Issue

Editorial2016:2 Issue

When  the  Man  Booker  International  prize  was  awarded  this  year,  shared equally between the author and translator, the Financial Times (26 May 2016) reported that sales of translated fiction in the UK have more than doubled in the last fifteen years and pointed to the growth in the number of independent publishers  championing  translated  literature. Earlier  this  year  the  organisers of  the  2016  Oxford-Weidenfeld  Prize  announced  ‘impressive’  submissions, predominantly from independent publishers. Dedalus Books’ Reading Europe initiative (Guardian, 24 March 2016) made its own case for Britain remaining in the EU with a selection of European novels translated into English, all from independent publishers in the UK. Our own publisher, Norvik Press, appeared in this list more than once. It is 30 years since Norvik Press was founded as an independent, not-for-profit publisher specialising in Nordic literature and as it celebrates its anniversary we talk to managing editor and co-founder, Janet Garton, about its continuing success.

The  late  Helena  Forsås-Scott  was  an  active  contributor  to  SBR  and  had a  particular  interest  in  19th-  and  20th-century  Swedish  women’s  writing, researching and publishing extensively on writers such as Elin Wägner, Selma Lagerlöf, Kerstin Ekman, Moa Martinson and Sara Lidman. In this issue we present an article on Elin Wägner she completed for SBR shortly before her death in a collaborative project with translator Sarah Death. Kerstin Ekman features in this issue too, in an extract translated by Linda Schenck from Ekman’s latest biographical work, in which she has drawn a fascinating and sensitive portrait of Clas Bjerkander, the 18th-century entomologist and botanist who considered himself more than fortunate to live when he did.

In our wide-ranging mixture of journalism, biography and fiction, we travel from the 18th to the 21st century and in the course of our journey celebrate two centenaries. It is one hundred years since the birth of Karin Lannby, the notorious Swedish actress, writer and spy; translator Ian Hinchliffe introduces AndersThunberg’s true story of her fascinating life with two translated extracts. It is also one hundred years since the publication of the novella Regnbågen by Finland-Swedish author Runar Schildt, represented here in extracts introduced and  translated  by Anna-Lisa  and  Martin  Murrell. We  move  to  the  late  20th century with a translation by Chris Hall from a short story by one of Sweden’s most  esteemed  authors, Torgny  Lindgren, and  leap  forward  to  a  frightening view of Europe’s future in an extract from Alexander Koistinen’s debut novel, translated by Ian Giles.

And as usual, to give a flavour of the many exciting books currently being published in Swedish, we end with a selection of reviews of fiction and non- fiction.

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Helena Forsås-Scott 1945-2015

Sarah Death and Linda Schenck present their obituary to Helena Forsås-Scott, retired Professor of Swedish and Gender Studies at University College London, who died in July 2015.


'Yes, Of Course It Hurts'

Translated by David McDuff

Karin Boye’s much-loved poem was first written as a fiftieth birthday present for her fellow author Elin Wägner, in 1932. The poem, it could be said, is about the pain of daring to let go – even when that letting go will lead to a beautiful end. At Helena’s request, the poem was read at her funeral in Edinburgh in July 2015.


Easy and Fun: Elin Wägner's Light-Hearted Articles in the Helsingborg Post

Introduced and with translated extracts by Sarah Death

Today the Swedish writer Elin Wägner (1882-1949) is known as a radical pacifist and pioneering ecofeminist. But she began her career as a journalist on a conservative newspaper, the Helsingborg Post. Sarah Death introduces, with a mixture of pleasure and heavy heart, the last of Helena Forsås-Scott's many collaborative projects for Swedish Book Review, looking at Wägner's light-hearted articles in the newspaper and illustrated with two enlightening extracts from these articles.


from In Those Days Everything was Lively and Lovely

Translated and introduced by Linda Schenck

Kerstin Ekman's latest book is a biographical work, beautifully illustrated, in which she has drawn a fascinating and sensitive portrait of Clas Bjerkander, the eighteenth-century entomologist and botanist who considered himself more than fortunate to live when he did. Linda Schenck introduces the new biography and presents her translation of Ekman's brief introductory essay to the work.


from Karin Lannby: Ingmar Bergman's Mata Hari

Introduced and translated by Ian Hinchliffe

Karin Lannby – Ingmar Bergman’s Mata Hari, written by the Swedish journalist Anders Thunberg, tells the true story of a Swedish socialite who became a radical left-winger in her teens, volunteered as an interpreter in the Spanish Civil War and was recruited as a spy by the Spanish film director, Luis Buñuel, at the tender age of just 21. Ian Hinchliffe introduces this account of her fascinating life and presents two translated extracts.


Norvik Press Celebrates 30 Years

SBR interviews Janet Garton, Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies at the University of East Anglia and a founder of Norvik Press, an independent publishing house specialising in Nordic literature, based at University College London. This year Norvik Press, which has brought many shining examples of both contemporary and classical Scandinavian literature to British readers, celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.


from Twilight over Europe

Introduced and translated by Ian Giles

Alexander Koistinen is a Swede with an extensive background in the defence sector who is now based in Brussels. Koistinen's debut novel is set in the not-too-distant future in a world where Sweden has become a republic, the state of Belgium has collapsed, and the EU runs a protectorate in central Brussels while other parts of the city succumb to sharia law. Ian Giles introduces Koistinen's work and presents his translation of an extract from the beginning of the novel.


from The Rainbow

Introduced and translated by Anna-Lisa Murrell and Martin Murrell

The Finland-Swedish author Runar Schildt (1888-1925) set his novella Regnbågen (The Rainbow) in a village south of Lovisa in the middle of the Crimean War, in 1855, with menacing British warships on the horizon in the Gulf of Finland. It broke new ground when it was published in October 1916. Anna-Lisa Murrell and Martin Murrell mark the centenary of its publication with an introduction and their translation of extracts from the novella.


from In Streaky Leaf's Water

Introduced and translated by Chris Hall

Torgny Lindgren, from Raggsjö in northern Sweden, is one of his country's best known writers. Chris Hall presents an introduction to Lindgren and a translation of an excerpt from a collection of short stories published in 1999, a series of apparently disparate tales which nevertheless all display the author's exploration of the relationship between art (or indeed artists) and life, a hefty theme which greatly benefits from the humour and lightness of touch which have become his hallmark.

BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Fiona Graham

SommarlekenEllen Mattson, Sommarleken (The Summer Game)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review

Mannen mellan väggarnaEmma Ångström, Mannen mellan väggarna (The Man in the Wall)

Piratförlaget, 2016.

Reviewed by Deborah Bragan-Turner ▸Read Review

Vattnet DrarMadeleine Bäck, Vattnet Drar (The Lure of Water)

Natur och Kultur, 2016.

Reviewed by Annie Prime ▸Read Review

Våran hud, värat blod, våra benJohn Ajvide Lindqvist, Våran hud, värat blod, våra ben (Our Skin, Our Blood, Our Bones)

Ordfront, 2016.

Reviewed by Ian Giles ▸Read Review

Det begravda bergetUlf Eriksson, Det begravda berget (The Buried Mountain)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Eric Dickens ▸Read Review

Swede HollowOla Larsmo, Swede Hollow

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Kate Lambert ▸Read Review

Drömmar i vaket tillståndNasser Naje Lazem, Drömmar i vaket tillstånd (Dreaming While Awake)

Hoi Förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Marie Andersson ▸Read Review

Allt jag inte minnsJonas Hassen Khemiri, Allt jag inte minns (Everything I Don't Remember)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2015.

Reviewed by Nichola Smalley ▸Read Review

I tvillingarnas teckenEva-Stina Byggmästar, I tvillingarnas tecken (Under the Sign of Gemini)

Schildts & Söderströms (Finland), 2015.

Reviewed by Martin Murrell and Anna-Lisa Murrell ▸Read Review

IshavspiraterFrida Nilsson, Ishavspirater (Pirates of the Ice Sea)

Natur & Kultur, 2015.

Reviewed by Fiona Graham ▸Read Review

Billie: Avgång 9:42 till nya livetSara Kadefors, Billie: Avgång 9:42 till nya livet (Billie: 9.42 Departure for a New Life)

Bonnier Carlsen, 2016.

Reviewed by Margaret Dahlström ▸Read Review

The PAX seriesÅsa Larsson and Ingela Korsell, The PAX series

Bonnier Carlsen förlag, 2014.

Reviewed by B. J. Epstein ▸Read Review

Sagan om Turid. KungadotternElisabeth Östnäs, Sagan om Turid. Kungadottern (The Saga of Turid: Daughter of the King)

Berghs förlag, 2015.

Reviewed by Darcy Hurford ▸Read Review

Innan mörkret faller: Ska 30-talet hinna ikapp oss?Björn Elmbrant, Innan mörkret faller: Ska 30-talet hinna ikapp oss? (Before Darkness Falls: Will the 1930s Catch Up With Us?)

Förlaget Atlas, 2015.

Reviewed by John Gilmour ▸Read Review

Älskade terrorist. 16 år med militanta islamisterAnna Sundberg and Jesper Huor, Älskade terrorist. 16 år med militanta islamister (The Terrorist's Wife: My Sixteen Years with Militant Islamists)

Norstedts, 2016.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review

Sovjets barnbarn. Ryssarna i Baltikum. ReportageKalle Kniivilä, Sovjets barnbarn. Ryssarna i Baltikum. Reportage (Grandchildren of the Soviet Union: Russians in the Baltic States. Reportage)

Bokförlaget Atlas, 2016.

Reviewed by Darcy Hurford ▸Read Review

GratislunchenTherese Uddenfeldt, Gratislunchen (The Free Lunch)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2016.

Reviewed by Dominic Hinde ▸Read Review

Sagan om Prinsessan BulleribångLena Frölander-Ulf and Hannele Mikaela Taivassalo, Sagan om Prinsessan Bulleribång (The Tale of Princess Hullabaloo)

Schildts & Söderströms (Finland), 2006.

Reviewed by Martin Murrell ▸Read Review

Mannen under trappanMarie Hermanson, Mannen under trappan (The Man Under the Stairs)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2005.

Reviewed by Fiona Graham ▸Read Review

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