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Selma Lagerlöf

black and white photograph of Selma Lagerlöf
  • Swedish storyteller and novelist
  • Suffragette
  • Nobel Prize in Literature, 1909
The first woman writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Selma Ottiliana Lovisa Lagerlöf was born in Östra Emterwik, Sweden, in 1858. After studying at the Royal Women’s Superior Training Academy in Stockholm, she taught at a girls’ school for ten years. During this time her first novel, The Story of Gösta Berling, was published and was very successful. Lagerlöf wrote many short stories, novels, and children’s books, including Christ Legends and other Stories (1904) and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (1906). She often used fantasy and distorted reality to critique social issues. A leader in the women’s suffrage movement, Lagerlöf also used some of her books condemn war and protest Nazism. She died at her home on March 16, 1940, at the age of 81. 

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