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Swedish literary prizes 2020-2021

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Issue number: LBF 2021

A (Brief) Guide to Sweden's Literary Prizes 2020-2021

Join us on a whistle-stop tour of some of Sweden's most prestigious literary prizes, as we present some of the latest shortlists and winners in Swedish-language fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children's fiction.


(Image credit: Rikard Lagerberg/


(The August Prize)

Founded by the Swedish Publishers’ Association in 1989, Augustpriset (named after Swedish author August Strindberg) is one of Sweden's most prestigious literary prizes. It is awarded in three categories: Best Swedish Fiction Book of the Year, Best Swedish Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and Best Swedish Children’s Book of the Year. Nominees are selected by a jury for each category, after which reader groups consisting of booksellers, librarians and critics elect the winners. All results are announced at a gala in November.

Augustpriset 2020

Best Swedish Fiction Book


Samlade verk ('Collected Works') by Lydia Sandgren


Minnestrådar ('Threads of Memory') by Carola Hansson
Splendor by Stefan Lindberg
Jag ser allt du gör ('I see everything you do') by Annika Norlin
Jordlöparens bok. Om natur, konst och människor ('
The Earth Runner’s Book. On Nature, Art and People') by Thomas Tidholm
Renegater ('Renegades') by Klas Östergren

Augustpriset 2020

Best Swedish Non-Fiction Book

Herrarna satte oss hit. Om tvångsförflyttningarna i Sverige ('Sirdolaččat. The Deportation of the Northern Sámi') by Elin Anna Labba

Livets tunna väggar ('Notes from a Summer Cottage') by Nina Burton
Längta hem, längta bort. En essä om litteratur på flykt ('
Longing for Home, Longing Away. An Essay on Literature on the Run') by Kristoffer Leandoer
Familjen ('The Family) by Johanna Bäckström Lerneby
Trubbel. Berättelsen om Olle Adolphson ('
Trouble. The Olle Adolphson Story') by Jan Malmborg
Sverigevänner. Historien om hur pappa och jag försökte bli svenskast på Tjörn (
'Friends. The Story of How Dad and I Tried to be the Most Swedish People on Tjörn') by Arash Sanari

Book cover of Humlan Hanssons Hemligheter
Augustpriset 2020

Best Swedish Children’s Book

Humlan Hanssons hemligheter (Humlan Hansson's Secrets') by Kristina Sigunsdotter & Ester Eriksson

Mitt bottenliv. Av en ensam axolotl (My Life at the Bottom') by Linda Bondestam
Kråkorna ('The Crows') by Anders Fager & Peter Bergting
Billie, Korven och havet ('Billie, Frank and the Sea') by Julia Hansson
Kom dagen, kom natten ('Come Day, Come Night
') by Åsa Lind & Emma Virke
Alltid hejdå ('Always Goodbye') by Alma Thörn

Sveriges Författarförbund: Katapultpriset & Slangbellan

(The Swedish Writers’ Union: The Catapult Prize & The Slingshot Prize)

Every year, Sveriges Författarförbund awards four literary prizes: Katapultpriset, for the year’s best Swedish fiction debut; Slangbellan, for the year’s best debut in literature for children and young adults; Translation of the Year, and the Elsa Thulin Prize for outstanding achievement in translation. All of the winners and nominees are selected by a jury for each of the union's divisions. Katapultpriset and Slangbellan both aim to bring new works into the spotlight, and to support emerging voices in literature.

Katapultpriset 2021

Best Swedish Fiction Debut


Antiken ('Antiquity') by Hanna Johansson


Pur ('Pure') by Erik Lindman Mata


Jag ser allt du gör ('I See Everything You Do') by Annika Norlin
Ya Leila by Donia Saleh
Himlen ('Heaven') by Karl Daniel Törnkvist

Book cover of Inte Din Baby by Seluah Alsaati
Slangbellan 2021

Best Swedish Debut in Literature for Children and Young Adults


Inte din baby ('Not Your Baby') by Seluah Alsaati


Fail by Mitch Fredriksson
Dömda kvinnor ('Convicted Women') by Elin Hägg

Borås Tidnings Debutantpris

(Borås Newspaper's Debutant Prize)

Borås Tidnings Debutantpris is one of Sweden's most important prizes for literary debutants, created by newspaper Borås Tidning to promote and nurture exciting new voices in literature. The winner is selected by a jury.

Borås Tidnings debutantpris 2021

Best Swedish Literary Debut


Pur ('Pure') by Erik Lindman Mata


Antiken ('Antiquity') by Hanna Johansson
Ya Leila by Donia Saleh
Jag ser allt du gör ('I see Everything You Do') by Annika Norlin
mörkret inuti och fukten ('the darkness within and the damp') by Arazo Arif


Svenska Deckarakademin

(The Swedish Academy of Crime Fiction)

Svenska Deckarakademin is a Swedish organization set up in 1971 to promote the writing of detective fiction and crime fiction. As part of its activities, the 24 elected academy members award annual prizes for best Swedish crime novel and best crime novel in translation, among other special prizes.

Book cover of Rotvälta by Tove Alsterdal
svenska Deckarakademins Pris 2020

Best Swedish Crime Novel


Rotvälta ('We Know You Remember') by Tove Alsterdal


Mig skall intet fattas ('I shall not want') by E L Dezmin
Ödesmark ('The Last Snow') by Stina Jackson
Stormvakt ('Storm Watch') by Kristina Ohlsson
Nämn inte de döda ('Don't Mention the Dead') by Christina Wahldén

The Nordic Council's literature prizes

The Nordic Council awards a number of annual culture prizes in celebration of the Nordic cultural community. This includes two literary prizes, The Nordic Council Literature Prize, and The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize. The prizes are nominated by national members of the adjudicating committee, and are awarded to works of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages.

We have highlighted the Swedish-language nominees here, but the Nordic Council's website offers plenty of information on current and past nominees and winners in every language.

Nordic Council prizes 2021

The Nordic Council Literature Prize

(Winner to be announced in November 2021)

Swedish-language nominees:

Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm (Sweden)
Broarna ('The Bridges') by Sebastian Johans (Åland)
Renheten ('Purity') by Andrzej Tichý (Sweden)
Autofiktiv dikt av Heidi von Wright
(‘Autofictional poetry by Heidi von Wright’) by Heidi von Wright (Finland)

Find the full list of nominees here:


Book Cover of Nattexpressen by Karin Erlandsson & Peter Bergting
Nordic Council Prizes 2021

The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize

(Winner to be announced in November 2021)

Swedish-language nominees:

Mitt bottenliv. Av en ensam axolotl (My Life at the Bottom') by Linda Bondestam (Finland)
Jag och alla ('I and Everyone') by Ylva Karlsson & Sara Lundberg (Sweden)
De afghanska sönerna ('The Afghan Sons') by Elin Persson (Sweden)
Nattexpressen (‘Night express’) by Karin Erlandsson & Peter Bergting (Åland)

Find the full list of nominees here:

Sveriges Radio

(Swedish Radio)

Sveriges Radio awards annual literary prizes for best novel, poetry, best short story and best children's book. The novel and children's book prizes are somewhat unique in Sweden, as they are selected by juries consisting of readers and book groups, rather than critics or booksellers.

book cover of Caesaria by Hanna Nordenhök
Sveriges radios romanpris 2021

Prize for Best Swedish novel


Caesaria by Hanna Nordenhök


Splendor by Stefan Lindberg
Dagarna, dagarna, dagarna ('Days and Days and Days') by Tone Schunnesson
Tritonus by Kjell Westö

Book cover of Kälda by Birgitta Lillipers
Sveriges radios lyrikpris 2021

Prize for Swedish Poetry

Kälda by Birgitta Lillpers

Konsten at med hvissa metodiska rörelser hemkalla en hädangången til lifvet ('The art of, with certain methodical movements, recalling the dead to life') by Helena Boberg
Toposatopicus by Krister Gustavsson
Under tiden ('Meanwhile') by Anna Hallberg
På kyrkogården i södra Lappland ('At the Cemetery in the South of Lapland') by Börje Lindström

Barnradions Bokpris 2021

Best Swedish Book of the Year for 9-12-Year-Olds

(Winner to be announced in November)

Nåt trassligt inuti ('Something Broken Deep Inside') by Cina Friedner
Donny by Thomas Hallin
Min storslagna död ('My Royal Grand Golden Death') by Jenny Jägerfeld
Fula tjejer ('Ugly Girls') by Johanna Lindbäck, Lisa Bjärbo and Sara Ohlsson
Den riktiga solen ('The Real Sun') by Peimaneh Mollazehi