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Selma Lagerlof
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Author
    (November 20, 1858-March 16, 1940)
    Born in Varmland, Sweden
    Best known works were the novel ‘Gosta Berling’s Saga’ (1891) and the children’s book ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’ (1907)
    Won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1909)
    After she joined the Swedish Academy (the organization that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature), fellow Academy member (and former Swedish Prime Minister) Hjalmar Hammarskjold commented, ‘She writes idiotically, but votes quite intelligently.’
    She was a supporter of the State Institute for Racial Biology, which promoted eugenics and the superiority of the Nordic race.
    In her will, she ordered that her correspondence remain sealed until 50 years after her death.
    With the release of her love letters, she came out of the closet as a lesbian posthumously in 1990.
    She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature and the first to be admitted to the Swedish Academy.
    She was a suffragette and was guest speaker at the victory party when Swedish women were given the vote in 1919.
    Greta Garbo made her feature film debut in an adaptation of ‘Gosta Berling’s Saga.’ (1924)
    Shortly before her death, she successfully lobbied the Swedish Royal Family to intervene and secure the release from Nazi Germany of Jewish poet Nelly Sachs and Sach’s mother.
    She was featured on Sweden’s 20 kronor banknote.

Credit: C. Fishel


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