Johanna Holmström

Johanna Holmström is one of the most successful Finnish-Swedish writers of her generation. At 21, she debuted with the short story collection Inlåst och andra noveller in 2003. The title short story Inlåst was the first Finnish-Swedish short story to be nominated for Sveriges Radio’s short story award.

She had her literary breakthrough in 2009 with her fourth book, the short story collection Camera Obscura. It received both Svenska Dagbladet’s literature prize in Sweden and Svenska YLE’s literature prize in Finland.

Once her novel Asfaltsänglar (2013) was picked up by Norstedt’s Swedish publisher, Holmström was able to attend the 2014 Frankfurt book fair where Finland was the theme country. The title attracted great interest in both Finland and Sweden, and was also published in a number of other countries.

Holmström achieved her first public success with Själarnas ö, her beloved and widely read novel centering around women in a mental hospital in the Finnish archipelago from the late 1800s-1962. It later debuted as a successful play on the Finnish-Swedish national stage at the Swedish Theatre, and was nominated for the prestigious Runeberg Prize in 2018.

In her writing, Johanna Holmström explores the darker sides of human nature in a psychologically credible way. She often writes about family relationships and especially about power structures within the family and society. Holmström is one of Finland’s most skilled environmental portrayers, and for her the environment is at least as central as the characters when it comes to creating drama. She has a narrative technical drive that few can match, without forgetting to maintain a high-class and wayward language.

Her latest book is the short story collection Handbok i klardrömmar, which garnered extraordinary praise. It received the Aktiastiftelsen i Östra Nyland scholarship, and was also the first Finnish-Swedish title to receive the Karin Boye prize in Sweden.

Johanna Holmström’s works have been published in Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia and Sweden.

Johanna Holmström’s latest novel Vargens unge is a breathtaking adventure in the beautiful Finnish wildnerness, where the photographer Gloria arrives in the eco-village Toivola with her son Luukas, in the fall of 2019. She planned to just do her work and go home, but during her visit she falls in love with collective member Aaron. In the winter of the following year, she returns to Toivola, this time to stay. The story follows the years through the pandemic and the outbreak of the Ukrainian war in a closed environment near the Russian border, which is increasingly radicalized. Three years later in 2023, a dirty little boy is found in the tulip garden of retired couple Seija and Tarmo. The boy refuses to say a single word, but they find a camera’s memory card in his mouth. Detective Constable Minna Salminen and her work partner Timo Kyrö from the Kuhmo police are tasked with finding out who the boy is and where he comes from. All traces point to Toivola, where dark forces have been set in motion.

LIST OF WORKS:

Inlåst och andra noveller, novellsamling (Söderströms) 2003

Tvåsamhet, novellsamling (Söderströms) 2005

Ur din längtan, roman (Söderströms) 2007

Camera Obscura, novellsamling (Söderströms) 2009

Asfaltsänglar, roman (Schildts&Söderströms) 2013

Hush Baby, roman (Schildts&Söderström) 2015

Själarnas ö, roman (Förlaget M) 2017

Borde hålla käft – en bok om Märta Tikkanen, biografi (Förlaget M) 2020

Handbok i klardrömmar, noveller (Förlaget M) 2022