2018:1 Issue

The Tree Sparrow: Reflections and Facts About a Familiar Bird

Introduced and translated by Fiona Graham

Göran Bergengren, nature writer par excellence, combines the expertise of a naturalist with the sensibility of a poet. Pilfink (The Tree Sparrow) shows a deep affinity with the natural world, particularly the countryside of Bergengren’s native Östergötland. This affectionate portrait of a little bird which, though often seen, is rarely the focus of attention, reflects half a century of meticulous observation and shared life. The book is enriched by Gebbe Björkman’s beautifully detailed monochrome drawings.


from The Road to Fire Mountain

Introduced and translated by Alex Fleming

Therése Söderlind’s second novel, Vägen mot Bålberget (The Road to Fire Mountain) is an ambitious, expansive and evocative novel imbued with a strong sense of place. Set in a small village on the Ångerman River in northern Sweden, in a narrative that extends over four centuries, the novel draws on the Torsåker witch trials of 1674 and 1675 – the largest witch trials in Swedish history – to interrogate ideas of memory and history, rootedness and rootlessness. Alex Fleming presents an extract taken from the final section of the book, which picks up on many of the novel’s key themes and hints at the sorts of beliefs and suspicions that fuelled the hysteria of the trials.



from The Land Survey

Introduced and translated by Ian Giles

Jonas Gren, born in Stockholm in 1981, is a writer who engages with many different forms. Here Ian Giles introduces a selection of Gren's poems chosen to showcase the breadth of his work and highlights Gren's use of typography as an important part of the experience. Presented here is a poem that is car-shaped, while another looks like a nuclear power station. Gren's exciting approach to layout is the result of working with pen and paper, rather than on screen. Spanning a range of themes and eras, 'The Land Survey' is remarkably accessible to all.


from Entangled

Introduced and translated by Claire Dickenson

Released in Sweden in September 2017, Krokas is Elin Olofsson's fourth novel. Rural Swedish landscapes and the women who call and have called them home are a recurring theme in her writing. Krokas is set primarily in post-war Sweden, alternating between Swedish shop assistant Elsa Petersson and young German woman Uli Hartmann, following the unexpected friendship that develops between them. Claire Dickenson presents her translation of an extract from the novel in which Elsa is battling with her conscience over an as yet unrevealed secret.


from Ten Past One

Introduced and translated by Annie Prime

Maja is a typical teenage girl with typical teenage problems - plus the constant fear that the earth is going to collapse beneath her feet. She lives in Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost mining town. Excavations have made the ground unstable, and now the town is being moved and rebuilt. While others accept this as inevitable, Maja cannot let go of the home she grew up in. Terrified at the prospect of losing everything she has ever known, she becomes unable to maintain her friendships and schoolwork, and slides into panic and despair. Teenage mental health issues are treated intelligently and sensitively in this bittersweet young adult novel.


Elisabeth Åsbrink on 1947: When Now Begins

On tour in the UK in October 1947 following the publication of her book 1947: When Now Begins, author and journalist Elisabeth Åsbrink met her translator Fiona Graham. She generously agreed to make time in her busy schedule for an interview in which we learn more about the writing and translation of this fascinating work, which weaves together the disparate lives, public and private, of Åsbrink's chosen protagonists, creating a portrait of the year 1947 that combines the broad sweep of history with the highly personal.


More Than Three Per Cent: A New Look at the Statistics

In September 2017, the Literature Across Frontiers project released Publishing Translated Literature in the United Kingdom and Ireland 1990-2015, an update to its 2015 report, previously discussed from a Swedish and Scandinavian perspective in SBR 2015:2. This updated report analyses publication data for translated literary publications in the period 2013 – 2015, drawing on data provided by the British National Biography and subsequently filtered by Dewey category. Ian Giles summarises the findings of the new report for us.

BOOKSHELF: REVIEWS, edited by Fiona Graham

Naturbarn. Dikter i urval 1986 - 2016Eva-Stina Byggmästar, Naturbarn. Dikter i urval 1986 - 2016 (Nature Child: Selected Poems, 1986 - 2016)

Schildts & Söderströms (Finland), 2017.

Reviewed by Martin Murrell ▸Read Review

Rassel Prassel PromenadHanna Lundström and Maija Hurme, Rassel Prassel Promenad (Rattle Rustle Walk)

Schildts & Söderströms (Finland), 2017.

Reviewed by B J Epstein ▸Read Review

VildsvinHannah Lutz, Vildsvin (Wild Boar)

Förlaget, Finland, 2017.

Reviewed by Janet Cole ▸Read Review

Koka björnMikael Niemi, Koka björn (To Cook a Bear)

Piratförlaget, 2017.

Reviewed by Andy Turner ▸Read Review

ÖlandssångenTove Folkesson, Ölandssången (Song of Öland)

Weyler förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Hannah Charlton ▸Read Review

Själarnas öJohanna Holmström, Själarnas ö (Island of Souls)

Förlaget, Finland, 2017.

Reviewed by Emma Naismith ▸Read Review

Välkommen till AmerikaLinda Boström Knausgård, Välkommen till Amerika (Welcome to America)

Modernista, 2016.

Reviewed by Joanna Flower ▸Read Review

Jorden vaknarMadeleine Bäck, Jorden vaknar (Awakening Earth)

Natur & Kultur, 2017.

Reviewed by Annie Prime ▸Read Review

Tornet och fåglarnaEllen Mattson, Tornet och fåglarna (The Tower and the Birds)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Sarah Death ▸Read Review

Resan till ThuleKjell Espmark, Resan till Thule (Journey to Thule)

Norstedts, 2017.

Reviewed by Fiona Graham ▸Read Review

VeraAnne Swärd, Vera (Vera)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Deborah Bragan-Turner ▸Read Review

Antropocen. En essä om människans tidsålderSverker Sörlin, Antropocen. En essä om människans tidsålder (Anthropocene: An Essay Concerning the Human Epoch)

Weyler förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Anna Paterson ▸Read Review

Andrum. Om stölden av en flyktingkris och om de bestulnaViktor Banke, Andrum. Om stölden av en flyktingkris och om de bestulna (Breathing Space: About a Refugee Crisis that was Stolen and the People it was Stolen From)

Norstedts, 2017.

Reviewed by Darcy Hurford ▸Read Review

Mannerheim - Marsken, Masken, MytenHerman Lindqvist, Mannerheim - Marsken, Masken, Myten (Mannerheim - The Marshal, The Mask, The Myth)

Albert Bonniers förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Kate Lambert ▸Read Review

Fåglar i stadenRoger Gyllin and Ingvar Svanberg, Fåglar i staden (Birds in the City)

Dialogos förlag, 2017.

Reviewed by Henning Koch ▸Read Review

I starens tidTomas Bannerhed, I starens tid (The Time of the Starling)

Weyler bokförlag, 2015.

Reviewed by Henning Koch ▸Read Review

Current Issue: 2018:2

Issue 2018-2

  • Johanna Nilsson, from The Greener Abyss
  • Karin Boye, from Astarte
  • C Claire Thomson, Love Without Lovers, Words Without Images: On Ingmar Bergman's Unrealised Screenplays
  • Robin Fulton Macpherson, Remembering Östen Sjöstrand
  • Charlotte Berry, Nordic Literary Translators Joan Tate and Patricia Crampton
  • Jan Holmberg, from The Writer Ingmar Bergman
  • Ingmar Bergman, from Work Diaries 1955-1974
  • Jenny Jägerfeld, from Comedy Queen
  • Ingmar Bergman, Writing Through a Glass Darkly
  • Bookshelf, edited by Fiona Graham
  • Just Out and Coming Up

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