Rose Lagercrantz

Portrait Rose Lagercrantz
© Lennart Woithe

Rose Lagercrantz was born in Stockholm in 1947. Her father came from Berlin. He had participated in the resistance against fascism, spent several years in prison, and fled to Sweden via Prague and Krakow after his release. Her mother, who came from Transylvania, came to Sweden via Auschwitz. Lagercrantz ran a children’s theater, worked for radio and television, and taught at the Swedish Academy for Children’s Books.

Her first children’s book »Tullesommar« was published in 1973. Two books were published in German as adaptations by James Krüss: »Att man kan bli stark« (1984; tr: Little Karl Would Like to be Big and Strong) and »Trolleri vafalls?« (1986; tr: Magic Wizard?). She achieved great fame with »Flickan som inte ville kyssas« (1995; tr: The Girl Who Did Not Want to Kiss) about Orge, who meets the Jewish girl Annie while fleeing from the Nazis in exile in Prague. For the young couple, however, there is no future together: Annie dies in a concentration camp, while Orge later marries a woman in Sweden. In her book, Lagercrantz draws from the life story of her own father, who fell in love as a young man with a Jewish woman who saved his life in 1938 by getting him a fake visa for Sweden. Lagercrantz also deals with the topic of the Holocaust in »Vad mina ögon har sett« (1992; tr: What My Eyes Have Seen), a record of Magda Eggens’ memories of her family’s deportation from Hungary to Auschwitz. For adults, Lagercrantz reflected on her own family history in » Om Man Ännu Finns«. Based on the conviction that »the greatest task of a writer is to fill the black holes of oblivion«, she reconstructed the tragic turn in the lives of bourgeois Jewish families in the 20th century from her mother’s fragmented stories and conversations with relatives scattered all over the world. In 2010, Lagercrantz began publishing a children’s book series illustrated by Eva Eriksson about a girl named Dunne (Eng. Dani). The first volume »Mitt lyckliga liv« (Eng. »My Happy Life«, 2013) was nominated for the German Youth Literature Prize and was awarded the Leipzig Reading Compass. It was followed by »Mitt hjärta hoppar och skrattar« (2012; Eng. »My Heart Is Laughing«, 2014), »Sist jag var som lyckligast« (2014; Eng. »When I Am Happiest«, 2015), »Livet enligt Dunne« (2015; Eng. »Life According To Dani«, 2016), »Vi ses när vi ses« (2016; Eng. »See You When I See You«, 2017), and »Lycklig den som Dunne får« (2018; tr: Happy Is Who Gets Dani).

Rose Lagercrantz’ books have been translated into many languages and awarded numerous prizes (Astrid Lindgren Prize, the Nils Holgersson Plaque and the August Prize, among others). She lives in Stockholm.