Harry Martinson (1904-78) was one of the most original Swedish
writers and poets of modern times. He was born at Jämshög
in Blekinge and as a child experienced considerable hardship,
boarded out on farms and working for a living, before going
away to sea and travelling the world. He returned to Sweden
and began a career as a writer of prose and poetry that was
to make him a nationally respected and loved author. His
three main sources of inspiration are the sea, the natural
world of southern Sweden, and the vastness of space.
The three contributions to our Martinson feature bear witness
to the great and continuing interest in translating his unique
oeuvre into other languages.
The Harry Martinson Society (Harry Martinson-Sällskapet)
plans to celebrate the centenary year 2004 with dozens of
events in different parts of Sweden. Their aim is to increase
awareness of Martinson's work in Sweden and beyond. Events
are taking place throughout the year and will include seminars,
lectures, readings, plays and participation in the Gothenburg
Book Fair. There will be a major Martinson exhibition at
the Nobel Museum in Börshuset, Stockholm. For further
information see www.nobel.se/nobel/nobelmuseum/exhibition-sv/martinson.html
In a project to involve the reading public, books about
the author will be distributed to all main public libraries
in Sweden. These will include the Society's new publication
Harry Martinson 100 år – 5 röster om ett författarskap (A
Hundred Years of Harry Martinson – Five Views of His Work;
newly published by the Society in cooperation with ABF Stockholm).
Martinson's publisher Albert Bonniers förlag is marking
the centenary with two publications in May: Poetiska
tornbuskar i mängd. Brev 1929-49 (A Mass of Poetic Thorn Bushes.
Letters 1929-49), ed. Paulina Helgeson; and De
tusen dikternas bok (The Book of a Thousand Poems), ed. Stefan Sandelin.
This brings together in one volume all the poems left unpublished
when Martinson died, including many not previously seen in
We are grateful to the Martinson Society's Göran Bäckstrand
both for providing a calendar of events and for assistance
with picture material. For the updated calendar and links
to related sites, visit the Society's website: www.harrymartinson.org