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Issue number: 2022:2

This autumn issue of Swedish Book Review comes just one week after the Swedish Academy announced its decision to award Nobel Prize in Literature 2022 to Annie Ernaux, ‘for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory’.

Fittingly, personal memory is at the heart of the translations presented in this issue, as we delve into some recent outstanding works of memoir and essay. Interweaving the deeply personal with the universal, and through a broad spectrum of approaches and styles, the writers excerpted shine an honest and uncompromising gaze on themselves and the world around them.

In the luminous Bread and Milk, Karolina Ramqvist depicts the ways in which we are shaped by what we cook, share and consume, and how food is linked to how we love, while in Children of the Holocaust, Margit Silberstein poignantly recounts her upbringing as part of two worlds, as a child of refugees in post-war Sweden. 

Jonas Brun’s searching memoir She Doesn’t Remember inverts the chronology of his mother’s experience with dementia to create a vibrant account of a life well-lived, while Olivia Bergdahl’s Health & Care traces a mother’s pregnancy – and subsequent cancer diagnosis – through a dialogue with her unborn child. We are also delighted to present a translation of Bergdahl’s spoken-word poem Europe, a searing interrogation of the concept and legacy of 'Europeanness'.

In Features, Bradley Harmon reflects upon Jila Mossaed’s Swedish poetry – an insightful and wide-ranging essay exploring freedom, survival and the breath of poetry, and the possibilities and limitations of writing in a new language – and Sara Stridsberg shares her correspondence with her Ukrainian publisher, discussing the place of literature in the ongoing war.

Our reviews section features an array of new Swedish-language books, including unforgettable works of fiction, visually arresting graphic novels, topical non-fiction and urban fantasy for young readers. 

For readers who enjoy this theme, our archives offer a wealth of writing on similar themes, including autobiographical works by Mats Strandberg, Anna-Karin Palm and Jenny Wrangborg, or our hand-picked selection of narrative non-fiction reviews from our recent Reviews Highlights Series.

We would like to extend our thanks to Swedish Literature Exchange for their support in producing this issue. We hope that you enjoy reading it.



Red child sits on suitcase near queue of evacuees in Lviv.


‘My Ukrainian publisher’s son said he wasn’t frightened – but the war changed him’

Before the war the Swedish writer Sara Stridsberg had never had any contact with her Ukrainian publisher. When Russia invaded Ukraine she sent an email. Here she writes about the exchange that followed, the family that was forced to flee, and the place of literature in the ongoing war.
Translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner.


curated and edited by Darcy Hurford

Literary fiction

book cover of Hanna Johansson



Saturated with the sights, sounds and tastes of Ermoupoli and loaded with simmering tensions, Hanna Johansson’s Antiquity is a suggestive exploration of desire, power, and the endless shifts of memory.

Book cover of Nina Wähä



Set in the South of France and inspired by cinema, Nina Wähä’s novel Babetta is a mysterious story of friendship in which nothing is as it seems.


Book cover of Dick Harrison


Herrens år 1400

A heinous criminal - or criminals - stalk the alleys, passages, churches and walls of medieval Visby. No one is safe until Thierry of Liège doggedly gets to the truth in Dick Harrison’s latest crime fiction.

Graphic Novels/Comics

Book cover of Moa Romanova


På glid

A loosely autobiographical tale of touring musicians, anxiety, suicide and drug use, narrated in nail polish colours, Moa Romanova’s Off the Rails is an image-driven, witty and moving account of friendship.

Book cover of Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom


Den uppgrävda jorden

Graphic novelist Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom’s first work, Palimpsest, was an exploration of her own adoption from Korea to Sweden. In Excavated Earth, a moving, painful work, she continues her artistry and advocacy by analysing adoptions – or, more accurately, baby thefts – from Chile to Sweden.

Fiction for children and teenagers

Book cover of Kitoko by Kayo Mpoyi and Linn Grebäck



Kayo Mpoyi's Kitoko (meaning ‘beautiful’) is the touching story of how a little girl helps her father find hope again.

Book cover of Ellen Strömberg


Vi ska ju bara cykla förbi

Manda and her best friend Malin are inseparable. In We'll just ride past, it's them against their small-town world... or not so much ‘against’ but outside it, cycling round the periphery of anything thrilling, as the end of the school year looms and with it the end of their compulsory education.

Book cover of Oskar Kroon


Vänta på vind

Have you ever dreamt of spending your summers on a remote Swedish island? Well, that’s exactly what the main character in Oskar Kroon’s children’s novel Waiting for the Wind gets to do in this heart-warming tale about freedom, sadness, loneliness, love, death, friendship and the sea.