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Dreaming of Us: New Swedish Writing

March 2019

The silhouette of a woman can be seen behind a window curtain
Image: Catherine Anyango Grünewald, Film still from Vanity + Shame, 2011. By arrangement with the artist.

This month we bring you Swedish-language literature from Sweden and Finland. The writers here engage with inclusivity, poverty, identity, and representation, confronting cultural stereotypes to present new perspectives on their countries. Linnea Axelsson’s August Prize-winning epic poem offers a multigenerational portrait of the indigenous Sami culture. Poet Mara Lee finds a teenage confrontation with neo-Nazis affecting her later relationships. Balsam Karam conjures a hellish prison in a futuristic setting, and Andrzej Tichý considers the people contemporary Swedish society has disavowed. In work from two Finland-Swedish writers, Mathias Rosenlund upends the stereotype of Scandinavian affluence, while Adrian Perera exposes the unthinking racism behind publishing “categories.” Poet Nino Mick interrogates identity and the limitations of bureaucracy. And Johannes Anyuru travels to Alhambra and meditates on history and Islam. We thank our guest editor, Saskia Vogel, who introduces the issue and provides several of the translations. The costs of the translations were defrayed by a subsidy from the Swedish Arts Council, gratefully acknowledged.

Two people walk through the snow with the sun rising behind mountains in the distance
Tadeáš Gregor, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons