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INTRODUCING

Introducing…Björn Ranelid

Introducing... is The Local's guide to the Swedish celebrity. In this installment contributor Malin Nyberg profiles Björn Ranelid, a fleet-footed author who’s not afraid to battle the Nobel literary establishment.

Introducing...Björn Ranelid

Who is he and why is he famous?

Björn Ranelid is an award-winning Swedish author and current Let’s Dance contestant who is in love with the media, himself but also the world around him. There is simply no one like him, which he happily agrees with. Ranelid walks different but more than anything; he talks differently – something he happens to do a lot. The Swedes have even given his language a name; Ranelidish. Yes it’s true, the man has got his own language.

What? Different from Swedish?

I shall explain. Imagine standing looking at a view with this guy. He wouldn’t say “Oh, what a beautiful sight.” No. Instead he would say – in a thick Skåne accent – “Oh, can you see how the night sky falls in, wrapping the trees in a velvet duvet.” Ranelid could go on like that for hours. He is very poetic and adores metaphors.

He talks like that ALL the time?

Yeah. Pretty much.

Man.

He is cool.

He just sounds like one of those red wine and cigarette types. A total cliché.

God no, Ranelid wouldn’t touch a cigarette. Just like he worships himself and everything around him, he worships his athletic body. The man looks great for his age (61). He is very tanned, too.

Right.

I can tell you’re not impressed. People either love him or hate him. He has many fans among the Swedish celebrities – they think he’s a genius. However, there are those who don’t hesitate to criticise him…

Do tell me more.

Well, a few years ago there was a massive thing in the press when Swedish writer Linda Skugge criticised of one his books. She combined it with criticism against him as a person, saying that he wore lip gloss, among other things. Ranelid got furious and many writers got involved in a debate about just how mean you’re actually allowed to be in a review.

Hang on, lip gloss?

He got really upset actually. Apparently it’s an illness. His lips are quite white you see.

Whatever you say.

Anyway, old Björn has been splashed all over the tabloids again recently after Peter Englund, the secretary of the Swedish Academy (you know, the Nobel Prize folks), backhandedly praised Ranelid’s participation on the current season of Let’s Dance when he wrote on his blog that ”everything that keeps Ranelid away from writing is a good thing.”

Ouch.

Very harsh, I know. Englund is probably after some media attention himself.

No, I mean the fact that Ranelid is in Let’s Dance. What a sell-out!

Don’t be like that. I have told you he loves the media! And the relationship is very equal.

I wouldn’t care reading about him. Never mind watching him dance.

Now stop it. Ranelid is adorable.

You are obviously on his team, Ranelid-lover!

How couldn’t you be? You’re just jealous because you don’t have your own language!

Maybe.

Totally.

Check out Ranelid’s appearance on Filip & Fredrik’s Boston Tea Party (in Swedish) from 2008:

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LITERATURE

Novelist Stridsberg becomes first Swede to be nominated for Man Booker Prize

The nominees for the Man Booker International Prize were announced on Wednesday and for the first time ever the list included a Swedish author.

Novelist Stridsberg becomes first Swede to be nominated for Man Booker Prize
Novelist Sara Stridsberg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
Sara Stridsberg is one of 13 authors on this year’s longlist for the literary award. 
 
The Swedish author is nominated for ‘The Faculty of Dreams’, the English translation of her 2006 novel 'Drömfakulteten'. The translation was done by Deborah Bragan-Turner and is scheduled for widespread release on March 21st
 
The novel is a fictionalized account of the life of American feminist Valerie Solanas, who is best known for shooting Andy Warhol. The book was awarded the 2007 Nordic Council Literature Prize.  
 
In announcing this year’s competitors for “the finest works of translated fiction from around the world,” Bettany Hughes, the chair of the judging panel, said that the 13 books on the longlist “enrich our idea of what fiction can do”. 
 
 
 
“This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh,” she said. 
 
The Man Booker International Prize is the global complement to the Man Booker Prize, which is awarded each year to the best English-language novel as deemed by a jury commissioned by the Booker Prize Foundation. The international edition of the prize has been around since 2005 and was originally awarded every second year to an author whose work is published in English. In 2016, the awarding of the prize was changed to an annual event and since then it has focused solely on works of fiction that have been translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. 
 
The 13 books will be cut down to a shortlist of six books on April 9th and the eventual winner will receive £50,000. 
 
Stridsberg was one of several members to quit the Swedish Academy over a sexual harassment scandal that rocked the Swedish cultural world. 
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