Swedish Literature: More Than The Millennium Series

One may conceive Swedish literature as unimportant, however, it has given us many joys in the art for centuries. For more modern times, it has been Stieg Larsson who has put Sweden’s name up high with his Millennium Series, adapted to both Swedish and North American cinema. In fact, the first part of the trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was awarded in the United Kingdom with the Glass Key Award for the best Nordic crime novel. The second part, The Girl that Played with Fire, was awarded with the Best Swedish Crime Novel Award.

However, Swedish literature has been in the eye of the United Kingdom for a long time. The British Library possesses a large Swedish collection. Since its inception in 1875, the Library of the British Museum has held books from Sweden, largely from Sir Hans Sloane’s collection. Most notably, the Latin-written Swedish literature surrounded more academic subjects such as medicine, natural sciences, philosophy and law. Fast-forward to the late 20th century, and the Library - which aims “to build the best collection of books in every European language outside the countries of origin” - has enlarged their Swedish collection significantly continually accepting donations.

There is also an Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation (ASLF) in the United Kingdom, which is backed by the Embassy of Sweden in London. Its purpose is to encourage cultural exchange between Sweden and the British Islands. In 1925, after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, Irish author George Bernard Shaw donated the money from the award to the Foundation, and since 1991, to commemorate his input, the ASLF holds a £2000 award for the best translation into English of a Swedish work. The Translation Prize is held every three years.