SWEDEN.One of the greatest literary voices of the north is gone, as author Torgny Lindgren passed away yesterday, March 16th, at the age of 78. He was born in 1938 at Raggsjö, Norsjö, in the northern part of county Västerbotten and a member of the Swedish Academy of Literature since 1991.
Although living down south, northern Sweden was very much his literary landscape and he wrote mostly novels but also short-stories, poems and plays for the radio.
While working as a school-teacher he made his literary debut as a poet in 1965, but his big breakthrough, home and abroad, came with The Way of the Serpent (Ormens väg på hälleberget) in 1982. A novel about poverty and hardships in rural Västerbotten during the 19th century. Three years later a feature film was based on the book.
Other masterpieces are Hash (Pölsan), Light (Ljuset), Sweetness (Hummelhonung), Doré´s Bible, Bathsheba and Norrlands Akvavit. His two last books were Minnen (”Memories”) from 2010 and Klinspor from 2014. Lindgren´s work has been translated to many different languages, and the writer received several awards for his literary brilliance.
Besides the writings, he was a magnificent storyteller. Lindgren´s knowledge of different characters of the north was endless.
Västerbotten has produced many great authors and Torgny Lindgren ranks among the cream together with Sara Lidman and P O Enqvist.
Lindgren converted to catholicism in the early 80s but always remained a democratic socialist, according to the Swedish Academy´s website . He was a down-to-earth man and he didn´t seem to fancy modern things like computers.
– I don´t even have one, I don´t know how to send an e-mail, I remember him saying in a television programme a few years ago.
Torgny Lindgren used a pen when writing, and the remaining image will be him sitting down, working away on a new novel or short-story while smoking his pipe.
Now, lovers of literature are in mourning for the loss of one of the greatest Swedish novelists of our time.