Swedish Radio honours US murderer

Swedish Radio honours US murderer
Annika Östberg, the Swede who spent 28 years in a US prison after being convicted of murder, was named as one of the hosts of the quintessentially Swedish talk radio show "Summer" by Sveriges Radio (SR) on Tuesday.

Östberg was emotional as she lined up alongside artists, politicians, business leaders, journalists and other establishment figures for the traditional group picture which features the hosts adorned with a summer wreath.

“It is such an honour to be asked. This programme is so Swedish and to take part is to form a connection to Sweden again. Here sat my grandfather and grandmother and listened and it is important for me to get in touch with my roots,” Annika Östberg said.

The Sveriges Radio show is so popular that in 2008 it fought off a challenge from the retail giant Ica over its patented right to the Swedish word for summer, “Sommar”.

The show is this year celebrating its 50 year anniversary and once again features personalities from all spheres of Swedish society talking for 90 minutes about a subject of their choice and accompanied by their favourite music.

Östberg, who was convicted of two murders in a 1981 California trial and was repatriated to Sweden in the spring of 2009, plans to talk about “survival” in a US prison.

“I am going to talk about moments which change your life, both good and bad. What home means – that it is something that it both inside and around you – and about being home again,” she said.

Another notable “Summer” host is Eva Gabrielsson, the common-law widow of Swedish crime writer Stieg Larsson, author of the Millennium trilogy of books that she says have made her partner of over 30 years into a figure she doesn’t recognise.

“(He has become) a trademark. I do not recognise the person who is presented publicly all over the place at the moment. It has nothing to do with the person I lived with for 30 years,” she said.

Other “Summer” hosts include the golfer Annika Sörenstam, former ABB head Percy Barnevik and singer Jill Johnson.

Sörenstam, the most successful female golfer in history, will open the season of programmes on midsummer’s eve on June 25th.

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