And the Alumni Reading Challenge continues! Ready for challenge #2? We just launched this autumn’s Author Talks in the popular Alumni Book Club and what can be a better way to prepare for the book club than to read this year’s books?
Min skolfröken skall vara ett frimärke by Björn Ranelid
Björn Ranelid is a Lund University alumnus. He was born in Malmö in 1949, but now splits his time between Stockholm and Österlen. His first job was as a Swedish and philosophy teacher, while playing football for Malmö FF. In 1983, he published his first novel Den överlevande trädgårdsmästaren and has written more than 30 books since, of which over one million copies have been sold in total.
In Min skolfröken skall vara ett frimärke Björn Ranelid recalls how his first teacher taught him how to hold a pen and form beautiful letters – and how she raised her pupils with love and patience. His story is a retelling of one hundred years of the school system, Malmö and Sweden through the lens of Anna Jensen’s life.
Not a Swedish-reader? You find Ranelid’s book I gift you my finest words translated into English.
Ixelles by Johannes Anyuru
Johannes Anyuru was born in 1979 and grew up in Borås and Växjö. He made his debut with his prize-winning poetry collection Det är bara gudarna som är nya in 2003. In 2017, his novel De kommer att drunkna i sina mödrars tårar (translated into English as They Will Drown in their Mothers’ Tears) won the August Prize for best literary novel. It went on to be a critical and commercial success and was translated into several languages. Johannes Anyuru’s new novel, Ixelles was also nominated for the August Prize in 2022 and is his first novel since his win in 2017.
Anyuru was awarded an honorary doctorate at the Faculty of Theology in Lund on 26 May 2023 for “his sharp and sensitive writing, which does not shy away from addressing the burning ethical and political questions of our time such as exclusion, racism and religion.”
In Ixelles we meet Rut who has lost Mio, the father of her son. One day, Rut learns that a boy lying unconscious in hospital has a recording of Mio’s voice. Her hands shaking, she removes the old CD player from his rucksack. The disc shimmers like gold. Mio is speaking to her. Mio who should be dead. He says: “There are roofs from which you can see all the way to the sea. Here in the library, nothing.”
Would you like to read a book by Johannes Anyuru in another language than Swedish? The book They will drown in their mothers’ tears is translated into several languages.
Den lodande människan by Patrik Svensson
Alumnus Patrik Svensson studied literary studied at Lund University and lives in Malmö. His debut book, Ålevangeliet (The Gospel of Eels), has been published in over thirty countries to critical acclaim in the Swedish and international press. He won the August Prize for non-fiction in 2019.
Patrik Svensson’s new book, Den lodande människan, is about the sea’s appeal, and the ancient desire across history that has made humans head out into the watery unknown. This is a book about human curiosity.
Want to read a book by Patrik Svensson in English? The Gospel of Eels has been translated into several languages and was selected by Publishers Weekly in the USA as one of 2020’s best books. It was also nominated for a Good Reads Choice Award the same year and won a Carnegie Media of Excellence in 2021.