22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Helena Hedlund

Portrait Helena Hedlund
© Kicki Nilsson

Helena Hedlund was born in Borås, southern Sweden, in 1978. She studied acting at the Malmö Theatre Academy and was first a member of Månteatern, an independent theatre company in Lund, before joining Teater Martin Mutter in Örebro in 2003, also an independent company, where she works as an actress and dramatist. She has also appeared in film and television productions and worked as a columnist for the magazine »ETC Örebro« from 2008 to 2017.

Helena Hedlund made her debut as an author with »Det fina med Kerstin« (2018; tr: Kerstin is Spot On). Seven-year-old Kerstin has a special favourite colour: gold. She collects everything that shines, even if it is candy wrappers. When Kerstin sees a gold ring lying on the floor at school, she adds it to her collection. She remains silent when the teacher, who is missing her wedding ring, later asks about it. A story about secrets and friendship, told with a fine sense of Kerstin’s emotional state between joy, insecurity, and fear, are also reflected in Katarina Strömgård’s illustrations. »A debut that shines like gold, both in the details and as a whole«, read the quote upon the book’s reception of the Slangbellan, a Swedish award for the best first novel in children’s and young adult literature. The book was also honoured with the Nils Holgersson plaque. Helena Hedlund has remained faithful to her heroine, and four more volumes are now available: In »Att vara Kerstin« (2019; tr: Being Kerstin), Kerstin’s mother goes through a midlife crisis, gets a mohawk and a tattoo of the letter »K«. Who this K might stand for is a mystery to Kerstin. Meanwhile, Kerstin’s best friend Gunnar’s mother threatens to move away if the wild boars continue to roam her yard. How can the beasts be chased away? In »Kerstin, livet och döden« (2020; tr: Kerstin, Life and Death), the protagonist turns eight. An intense time begins for her, with separations, jealousy, and sadness, but also with joy and hope. In »Precis som Kerstin« (2020; tr: Just Like Kerstin), she wishes for two things: a white Christmas and that the baby in her mother’s womb not be born on Christmas Eve of all days. But to whom should one address such wishes if one believes neither in Santa Claus nor in God? In the latest volume, »Kerstin, solen och kärleken« (2021; tr: Kerstin, The Sun and Love), Kerstin’s little sister Miranda has come into the world, and Gunnar is still Kerstin’s best friend. But sometimes he takes credit for her share of their joint projects. Kerstin must learn to stand up for herself.

The author lives with her family in the countryside near Örebro.