Kristina Sigunsdotter

Portrait Kristina Sigunsdotter
Kristina Sigunsdotter [© Johan Agorelius]

Swedish writer, children’s author, playwright, and artist Kristina Sigunsdotter was born in 1981 in Västerås in the province of Västmanland. She studied journalism and ethnology at Södertörn University and first worked as a project manager for literary projects.

In 2009, Kristina Sigunsdotter made her debut as a playwright with the play »Systrarna Stormhatt och det Stora Fågeläventyret« [tr: The Stormhatt Sisters and the Great Bird Adventure], which was performed in Stockholm at the Royal Dramatic Theatre and Stockholm City Theatre. Her first volume of poetry, »Sjöpojken« [tr: The Boy from the Sea], was published in 2011. This was followed by the diary novel »Rovfåglar osv.« [2014; tr: Birds of Prey, etc.], which received much acclaimed by reviewers. In 2017, her first children’s book »Min krokodil tror att den är en racerbil« [tr: My Crocodile Thinks It’s a Race Car] was published. Critics particularly praised Sigunsdotter’s language and her ability to portray girls and young women with social disadvantages. For »Humlan Hanssons hemligheter« [2020; Eng. »The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson«, 2022], she and illustrator Ester Eriksson were awarded the prestigious August Prize in 2020. The plot, told in diary form, centers on an eleven-year-old girl who is faced with the difficulties of puberty. She likes to draw and dreams of a career as an artist. Her aunt is sent to a psychiatric hospital because of depression, and in addition her friend abandons her, which plunges Cricket into deep sadness.

Sigunsdotter manages to balance existential pain and humor in her narrative. »There is a particular intensity to young female friendships that’s rarely depicted in literature [Elena Ferrante notwithstanding], let alone children’s literature. But Sigunsdotter’s honest voice and Eriksson’s sophisticated and generously distributed art come together to honor the passion of these friendships, and the pain that accompanies their dissolution« [»New York Times«]. Sigunsdotter’s book »Landet som icke är« [2020; tr: The Country That Is Not], a tribute to Edith Södergran with references to classic children’s authors such as Astrid Lindgren, C. S. Lewis, and Lewis Carroll, was nominated for the Finnish Runeberg Junior Prize. The ensemble of characters from »The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson« appears again in the sequel »Hola Humlan Hansson« [2021; tr: Hola Cricket Karlsson«]. This time, it tells of a trip to Spain that Cricket takes with her friend.

Sigunsdotter also created the texts for compositions by Georg Riedel and Nicolai Dunger. Kristina Sigunsdotter has shown her works as a visual artist at various international exhibitions. She also runs the children’s book blog »Little Literarian« and is the founder of Poesifabriken, a poetry workshop for children. She lives in the village of Torna-Hällestad in Sweden’s Skåne province.

Date: 2022