Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking and Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander — it’s not difficult to see the resemblance between the two strong female characters who have captured so many readers around the world.
Sweden has produced more than its fair share of internationally known writers over the past 100 years. At the turn of the 20th century, Swedish literature was dominated by Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940) and August Strindberg (1849–1912), and their influence is still felt to this day. Strindberg’s The Red Room (Röda Rummet), 1879, and Lagerlöf’s Gösta Berling’s Saga (Gösta Berlings saga), 1891, are considered the first modern Swedish novels.
Pippi Longstocking and a long list of other memorable characters have made Lindgren one of the world’s best loved children’s authors. Over the past decade or so, Sweden’s top literary exports have been in the crime genre, with Henning Mankell’s Wallander series and Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy achieving bestseller status around the world. Both have also been enjoyed by TV and cinema audiences, in the original Swedish and in popular English-language remakes.
The association between Sweden and quality literature is kept fresh by the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded by the Swedish Academy. The prize, presented each year in Stockholm by King Carl XVI Gustaf, is the most prestigious in literature.
Tomas Tranströmer, Selma Lagerlöf, Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell and Marianne Fredriksson have all helped put Sweden on the world map of literature. Below are short introductions to these five Swedish writers and their work.
Every tenth book published in Sweden is a children’s book. Covering a wide variety of themes from dancing cows to single urban fathers, Swedish children’s literature inspires, informs and entertains young readers.
Swedish is one of the ten most translated languages in the world when it comes to works of fiction. Between 2006 and 2010, more than 3,300 titles were translated into other languages. International interest has been aroused primarily by crime writers such as Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell. They have maintained a classic tradition in Swedish literature, based on a critical appraisal of contemporary society.