Literature, Writers and
Swedish people read a lot. Each
year, about 65 million books ars borrowed at public libraries. About 40 percent
are children´s books. Adult fiction and adult non-fiction account for
about 30 percent each.
The 2 000 public libraries and 130 bookmobiles
in Sweden belong under local authorities. Books, talking books, records and CDs
are borrowed free of charge. If a book cannot be found in a local library, it
may always be ordered from the county library. In addition to providing books
to the public, libraries often organize exhibitions, lectures and other
The Royal Library in
Stockholm is the
national copyright deposit library, and a large library as well. It also
collects and keeps the national bibliography.
The Swedish publishing
business is dominated by a few publishing houses. A large part of their
book-selling, mainly bestsellers, is translated from English. Among the Swedish
authors that are still read are;Selma Lagerlöf,
Harry Martinson, Ivar Lo-Johansson, August
Strindberg, Vilhelm Moberg, Pär Lagerkvist and Astrid
The Nobel Prizes have been
presented to the Laureates at ceremonies on December 10 each year. This day was
chosen since it is the birthday of Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the inventor of
dynamite and the man who pays the piper (through the Nobel Foundation).
There are five prizes from the Nobel Foundation: Chemistry, Physics,
Medicine, Physiology, Literature and the Peace Prize.
1968, Sveriges Riksbank (The Swedish National Treasury) established a prize for
ecomomic science, dedicating it to the memory of Alfred Nobel. The prize is as
prestigious as the Nobel Prize and is presented at the ceremony together with
the others. The first Nobel Prizes were presented in 1901.
Despite the male
dominance among the winners, the prize for literature has frequently been given
to women and in the field of science Marie Curie has received the the Nobel
Prize twice (the first time together with her husband)
29 times the prize
has gone to Swedes.
Nobel Prize Link
Lagerlöf was born at the Mårbacka manor in the province of
Värmland. She made her breakthrough in 1891 with the novel Gösta
Berlings saga. At that time, she was still working as a teacher but after some
years she was able to live from her writing. When she went on journeys to Italy
and the Mideast, she met in Palestine some Swedish emigrants from the village
Nås in the province of
inspired her to write the epos of Jerusalem (1-2; 1901-1902), which added to
her fame. Her best known book is Nils Holgersson´s Travel through Sweden
(1906-1907), which has been translated into many foreign languages. She
received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1909. Some years later she became a
member of the committee distributing this prize, the Swedish Academy.
Pär Lagerqvist (1891-1974) from
Växjö in Småland is known as "the religious poet whitout
faith". His doubt and ambivalence to the Church can be perceived in all of his
works, for example Barabbas (1950).
Moberg (1898-1973) is most well- known for his books about Swedish
emigrants settling in America. In the four-part series; The emigrants (1949),
Unto a good land (1952), The settlers (1956), and The last letter home (1959) ,
he depicts a group of Swedes who emigrate to North America. He was also one of
the founders of the Emigrant Institute in Växjö, which has an
extensive archive about the emigration of Swedes during the 18th and 19th
centuries.Many of Moberg's works depict the lives of farmers, crofters and
soldiers in his home province,
Moberg was a socialist and a diligent debator.
Strindberg (1849-1912) grew up in a middle-class family in
having studied for one semester at the University of Uppsala he started working
at the Royal Library in Stockholm. His first work was the historical drama
Maestro Olof (1878). All in all he wrote more than 75 books. Recurrent themes
in his works are power, the (problematic) relation between men and women,
religious doubt and social problems. However, he could also be amusing in his
writing, as in The People from Hemsö. Apart from being a writer,
Strindberg was also a talented painter.
Strindberg´s last home has
been turned into a museum, called Blå Tornet. The visitors can also enjoy
theater performances, concerts and lectures.
Phone 08-411 53 54
(1907-2002) made a name for herself as an author in 1945 with a book about
Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump). It was an enormous success. She
has written a great number of books, many of them set at the place where she
was born, Vimmerby, in the province of Småland. Quite a few of her works
have been filmed and have been translated into 76 languages.
She has received a lot of literary
prizes over the years, for example "Friedenspreis des deutscen Buchhandels" in
Germany, the Albert Schweizer medal in USA, the Russian Leo Tolstoy medal and
the Danish Karen Blixen prize. In Sweden she has been awarded Illis Quorum and
the Swedish Academy's Gold Medal.
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