If Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf was alive today, she would be celebrating her 161st birthday.
Born 20 November 1858, Selma Lagerlöf was a Swedish author, publishing her first novel, ‘Gösta Berling’s Saga’, at the age of 33. She is considered to be one of Sweden’s most significant writers throughout history.
She was a woman of firsts. She was the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she was awarded in 1909.
Additionally, she was the first female to be granted a membership in The Swedish Academy in 1914 – the famous literary committee that selects the Nobel prize laureate amongst other things.
She wrote prolifically – mostly novels, religious texts and short stories. Other than ‘Gösta Björlings Saga’, her most famous works are probably ‘Jerusalem’, ‘The Treasure’ and ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson’. The latter has been translated into over 30 languages.
Selma was a politically active woman – involved as a speaker for the Swedish Suffragette movement, and herself living in a controversial same sex relationship. She was also a vocal anti-nazi.
The house where Selma Lagerlöf was born on 20 Nov 1958, grew up and later lived is today open to the public as a museum. If you’d like to visit, it’s in the county of Värmland and can be checked out at Mårbacka