11-20-1858

Selma Lagerlöf

SELMA LAGERLÖF, Swedish author, Nobel Laureate (d. 1940); Swedish author and the first woman writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Known internationally for a story for children, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, in 1909 Selma Lagerlöf won the Nobel Prize in Literature “in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings.” In 1914 she also became a member of the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the Nobel Prize in literature. At the start of WWII, she sent her Nobel Prize medal and her gold medal from the Swedish academy to the government of Finland to help them raise money to fight the Soviet Union. The Finnish government was so touched that it raised the necessary money by other means and returned her medal to her.

Her first novel, The Story of Gösta Berling, was adapted into an internationally acclaimed motion picture starring Greta Garbo. She lived in Sunne, where two hotels are named after her. Her home, Mårbacka, is now preserved as a museum. She wrote a copious amount of letters to her two partners, Sophie Elkan and Valborg Olander.