The BookFinder is a month old!
With more than 1,980 books already in this new database, we’ve created a fun way for readers to go on a sapphic book finding mission. Four prizes of a $15 Amazon gift card will be awarded in drawings on November 9, 16, 23, and 30. For complete rules, click here.
Now let’s get to today’s history lesson: Selma Lagerlöf
Swedish author, Selma Lagerlöf, was born on November 20, 1858.
She was a serious-minded child who fell in love with reading. Her grandmother would tell Selma fairytales and she decided to be a writer at the age of seven after reading Osceola by Thomas Mayne Reid.
When she was ten, her father was quite ill, and Selma got into her head that if she read all of the Bible, God would heal her father. He ended up living another seventeen years.
During 1882 to 1885, Lagerlöf studied in Stockholm. Afterwards, she became a country schoolteacher at a high school, all the time working on her craft, focusing on the legends she learned when a child. Not fond of the realism in contemporary novels, she started her first book, Gösta Berling’s Saga. She entered some of the chapters to a literary contest, and ended up winning a publishing contract for the complete novel.
Ultimately, she quit teaching to dedicate her time to writing. The National Teacher’s Association asked her to pen a geography book for children. Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils), was the result and it focused on a boy who’d been shrunk and rides a goose across the country. It became her most popular books and it’s been translated into more than thirty languages.
She met Sophie Elkan, another Swedish writer, in 1894. They became friends and companions who would critique each other’s work. In the 1900s, another woman, Valborg Olander, a literary adviser, agent, and secretary, entered Lagerlöf’s life. There might have been jealousy between Elkan and Olander. Lagerlöf had close relationships with both, and some believe they were more than friends. Lagerlöf disposed of letters she deemed too risky since same-sex relations were not only taboo, but illegal in Sweden during her lifetime.
In 1909, Lagerlöf became the first woman to win the won the Nobel Price in Literature “in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination, and spiritual perception that characterize her writings” but not everyone in the Swedish Academy were happy with the decision.
She received the degree of doctor of letters from Uppsala University in 1907. Two decades later, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Greifswald’s Faculty of Arts. When World War II broke out, she gave her Nobel Prize medal and gold medal from the Swedish Academy to help raise money for Finland to fight the Soviet Union.
Selma Lagerlöf died in 1940, at the age of eighty-one. She became the first woman to be depicted on Swedish money in 1991.
To honor Selma Lagerlöf, we’re asking readers to go to the BookFinder and look up books in the following Theme category: Taboo / Forbidden Relationship. (Because, sadly, we do not have a category for shrunken children riding geese.)
Find a book you haven’t read yet, or if you come across an old favorite, share it and tell us why. To enter the giveaway, share your entry in the Facebook group.
Remember, the more days you play, the more entries you’ll receive for the $15 Amazon gift card, so don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another Book Finding Mission.
Authors, if your books aren’t in the database yet, we highly recommend you submit them now. Here’s the form.