Birth - Death
1858 - 1940
Nobel Prize in Literature; Member, Swedish Academy
The first woman, and the first Swedish person, to win a Nobel Prize in Literature was Swedish lesbian Selma Lagerlof (1858 – 1940). Lagerlof began her career as a schoolteacher but by 1895 was earning enough income from book royalties to focus solely on her writing.
In 1894, Lagerlof met writer Sophie Elkan and they quickly became friends and companions for life.
Selma Lagerlof’s notable works include Sweden’s most read novel and children’s book ‘Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige’ (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils). Other notable novels include the ‘Gosta Berlings saga’, ‘The Miracles of Antichrist’, and ‘Jerusalem’. Her works are described as romantic nationalist literature and she is the foremost Swedish novelist of her time.
In addition to receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909, Selma Lagerlof was also the first woman to be admitted as a member of the Swedish Academy, in 1914. During her lifetime, Lagerlof was a prominent supporter of the women’s sufferage movement in Sweden, and she was the guest speaker at the victory party after women suffrage was granted in 1919.
Her home Marbacka is now a museum.