Who Dreams of Us? Reading, Inclusivity, and Contemporary Swedish-Language Literature

Lecture | April 15 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Saskia Vogel

 Institute of European Studies, Nordic Studies Program

In autumn 2017, a Neo-Nazi organization was given permit for a protest outside the annual Göteborg Book Fair. Leading up to this moment was the Book Fair’s controversial decision to yet again allow "Nya Tider" (New Times), a far-right extremist publication, to exhibit in the convention center. Debates raged for months and months in Sweden, as well as in Finland, the 2017 guest of honor at the fair. Among the questions raised, the most prominent became: Whose story gets to be told?

This moment caused novelist and Swedish literary translator Saskia Vogel to question her reading and translation practices. What stories had she been overlooking? What did the landscape of Swedish literature look like beyond the feminist authors she primarily worked with (such as Karolina Ramqvist, Lena Andersson, and Lina Wolff)? How did her understanding of Sweden and Swedish-language literature change by opening up her reading?

Building on the March 2019 portfolio on contemporary Swedish-language literature that she guest-edited for Words Without Borders, Saskia Vogel will take a look at the contemporary Swedish-language literary landscape beyond Tranströmer and crime fiction; the art, politics, and industry of translation; and how translation can contribute to sustaining newer notions of Swedish identity, as well as expanding the dream of "us".

Saskia Vogel is from Los Angeles and lives in Berlin, where she works as a writer and Swedish-to-English literary translator. She has written on the themes of gender, power and sexuality for publications such as "Granta", "The White Review", "The Offing", and "The Quietus". Her translations include work by leading female authors, such as Katrine Marcal, Karolina Ramqvist and the modernist eroticist Rut Hillarp. Previously, she worked in London as Granta magazine’s publicist and in Los Angeles as an editor at the AVN Media Network, where she reported on the business of pornography and adult pleasure products. Her "quietly subversive" (The Guardian) debut novel "Permission" was first published in March 2019 by Dialogue Books in the UK and is available from Coach House Books in North America. It will also be available in Swedish, Italian, Spanish and French.