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Issue number: 2024:1

Welcome to this latest issue of Swedish Book Review, and a new crop of works that all deal with topics central to our humanity. Through settings that range from ancient forests to ships’ decks, city streets to magic mountains, these texts explore love, nostalgia and loss, how we interrogate philosophy and faith, and how we interact with nature, with culture, and with each other.

In translations, we present two works that evoke very different stages of childhood: Mikael Yvesand’s Hang City distils the dreaminess of long, languorous summers and the boredom of the pre-Internet age, while Aya Kanbar’s volcanic second collection of poetry Evening Street offers a heady and romantic ode to the teenage years.

Elsewhere in fiction, Magnus Florin reimagines philosopher René Descartes’ last voyage in the masterful Descartes’ Daughter, and celebrated journalist, author and activist Elin Wägner explores faith, superstition and evolving social mores in her previously untranslated 1931 short story ‘Old Wives' Meeting’.

In non-fiction, Lisa Röstlund’s incisive and wide-ranging Forestland shines a light on the at times devastating environmental impact of modern forestry practices, while in My Book World Kerstin Ekman enters into a dialogue with her own literary heroes, sharing insights gleaned from a lifetime of reading.

In features, Anna Maria Hellberg Moberg delves into the changing landscape of folk tales and the resurgence of storytelling traditions across Sweden, and in an illuminating interview Saskia Vogel shares some of her experiences of translating Johanne Lykke Holm’s Bernard-Shaw-Prize-winning Strega.

As ever, our reviews section highlights the breadth and depth of publishing in Sweden today, full of popular and prize-winning new releases in everything from fiction to biographies by established favourites and emerging voices alike. We also present the ever-important data on Swedish and Finland-Swedish books to be published in English translation in 2024.

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

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Kerstin Ekman with dog in forest landscape.


from My Book World by Kerstin Ekman

One of the most prominent voices in twentieth and twenty-first century Swedish literature, Kerstin Ekman enters into dialogue with her own literary heroes, detailing the works that have influenced her own reading and writing life.
Translated by Linda Schenck.

Elin Wägner in 2017, wearing a black dress and beads.


Old Wives' Meeting by Elin Wägner

In this short story, a disagreement between a clergyman and his wife in a rural parish serves as a prelude an incisive exploration of the clashes that inevitably occur between tradition and innovation, faith, superstition and reason.
Translated by Sarah Death.

Mikael Yvesand sitting on concrete barrier on open road


from Hang City by Mikael Yvesand

In his debut novel, which won the 2023 Borås Tidning's Debut Prize, Yvesand has perfectly captured the dreaminess not only of bright, long summers but also the voice and energy of a thirteen-year-old.
Translated by Sophie Ruthven.



curated and edited by Darcy Hurford


Book COver of Lyra Ekström Lindbäck



If you partake in something you know is wrong and later write about it, can any value be extracted from the prose? Or is it simply wrong? August Prize-nominated Morality by Lyra Ekström Lindbäck unfolds like a thesis centred on this and other philosophical questions.

Book cover of Jonas Gardell


Fjollornas fest

In Sissy, Jonas Gardell writes another collective literary testimony from Stockholm’s gay community. This time, the sissies – said to be the most despised even by the gay community – take centre stage.

Book cover of Jonas Hassen Khemiri



Acclaimed author Jonas Hassen Khemiri returns with The Sisters, a novel that balances expertly on the line between past and present, Sweden and America, reality and fiction.

Book cover of Annika Norlin



In Annika Norlin’s debut novel The Ant Hill, An alternative lifestyle brings rewards and challenges for a group of people who reject mainstream society.

Book cover of Caroline Ringskog Ferrada-Noli


D e kroniskt

Under the piercing, watchful eye of the main character Anne in Carolina Ringskog Ferrada-Noli’s wildly entertaining and, at the same time, crushing novel It Is Chronic, the ways of today’s (western) world are picked apart and observed through the lens of pain.

Book cover of Sami Said



What is evil, and how does it relate to who we are? Is the desert the setting of Sami Said's thematically heavy, yet lyrically light novel, or is it the emotional world itself? There is life in every corner, but is the desert chiefly pregnant with miracles, or evil?

Book cover of Marcus Berggren


En bra plats i skallen

The phrase: ‘sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll’, can be used to describe many works of fiction and non-fiction written on the subject of popular music in the last 60 or so years. Marcus Berggren’s book, A Good Place in the Brain, is certainly one of these, and to which can be added the phrase, ‘with a wry sense of humour.’

Graphic novels

Book cover of Cecilia Vårhed


Fattigt Skryt

With its appealingly coloured tales of a group of twenty-something friends that shun strict realism for a more psychological take, Cecilia Vårhed’s graphic novel Empty Boasting has fun with the genre.

Fiction for children and teenagers


Book cover of Ida Börjel



A curator’s eye tour of an art museum, The Maintenance Labyrinth, Ida Börjel’s dialogue in poem form is narrated with an eye for the details of objects and their conservation, as well as subtle humour.

Book cover of Victor von Hellens



In his award-winning poetry collection, Onkalo, Victor von Hellens depicts the solitary existence of an isolated individual in a post-apocalyptic Finland.


Book cover of Anders Teglund



Enforcers of unfree labour are victims and perpetrators: in The Slavedriver, Anders Teglund combines reportage and historical essays to examine that grim paradox.

Generously supported by Swedish Literature Exchange, part of the Swedish Arts Council.

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