Mårten Sandén

Portrait Mårten Sandén
© Lennart Woithe

Mårten Sandén was born in Stockholm in 1962 and spent most of his childhood and youth in Lund in southern Sweden. After studying psychology, he began writing in his early twenties. Initially he was a professional songwriter for music publishers in Europe and the USA. In the mid-nineties he turned to writing children’s books. Since then he has written about forty titles in Swedish, ranging from picture books to young adult novels.

He became famous for his »Petrinideckarna« children’s thrillers (as of 1999). The protagonists are the 12-year-old twins Peter and Petra Petrini, who move from New York to Lund with their large Swedish-American family. Together with their friend Lucy, the twins solve all kinds of mysteries and even crimes. In Sandén’s young adult novel »En plats de kallar lyckan« (2006; tr: A Place They Call Happiness), Mia, who has dropped out of school and works in a pizzeria, falls in love with John, a boy from a rich family who attends a private school and is supposed to become a doctor. But when John learns of his father’s attempted suicide, he gives up his relationship with Mia and returns to his old life. One day, however, he meets Mia again and realizes that he has to find his own way – preferably together with Mia. In a completely unsentimental way, Sandén tells the story of two young people who are looking for happiness and love on their way to adulthood. The Christmas book »Skorstensjul« (2015; tr: A Chimney Top Christmas) is about three children who have run away from the orphanage, stand at the station in wintry and cold Stockholm and meet the chimney top kids who live on the roofs of the city. Through them, they experience an exciting Christmas adventure and learn what real friendship and solidarity are. The setting for the exciting and spooky story of »Ett hus utan speglar« (2012; A House without Mirrors) is a large manor house with niches and corners that invite you to hide and seek. During a raid, Thomasine, who recently lost her brother and now lives here with her relatives, discovers a mysterious octagonal room into which all the mirrors of the house have been banished. Thomasine gets tangled up in strange adventures, but they also give her answers to questions she has long considered and which help her to overcome her grief.

Sandén’s books have been translated into eleven languages and received many awards, including the Spårhunden in 2012 and the Astrid Lindgren Prize in 2015. He lives in Södermalm in Stockholm.