Tua Forsström was born in 1947 in Borgå and currently lives in Helsinki. A much acclaimed Finland-Swedish poet, she has won major literary honours in Sweden as well as Finland. In 2019 she was elected a member of the Swedish Academy.
She published her first book in 1972, En dikt om kärleck och annat (A Poem About Love and Other Things), followed by Där anteckningarna slutar (Where the Notes End, 1974), Egentligen är vi mycket lyckliga (Actually We Are Very Happy, 1976), Tallört (Yellow Bird’s-nest, 1979), and September (September, 1983).
Tua Forsström achieved wider recognition with her sixth collection, Snöleopard (Snow Leopard, 1987), notably in Sweden and in Britain, where David McDuff’s translation (Bloodaxe Books, 1990) received a Poetry Book Society Translation Award. Marianergraven (The Marianer Trench, 1990) was followed by Parkerna (The Parks, 1992), which won the Swedish Academy’s Finland Prize and was nominated for both the major Swedish literary award, the August Prize (rare for a Finland-Swedish writer) and for Finland’s major literary award, the Finland Prize (now given only for prose). Efter att ha tillbringat en natt bland hästar (After Spending a Night Among Horses) appeared in 1997, for which she was awarded the Nordic Council Literature Prize (1998). She won the Swedish Academy’s Bellman Prize in 2003 and 2018.
In 2003 she published her trilogy, Jag studerade en gång vid en underbar fakultat (I studied once at a wonderful faculty), whose English translation by David McDuff and Stina Katchadourian was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2006. This combines her three collections Snow Leopard, The Parks and After Spending a Night Among Horses with a new sequence, Minerals. She has since published three further collections, Sånger (Songs, 2006); En kväll i oktober rodde jag ut på sjön (2012), published in a dual language edition with David McDuff’s translation as One Evening in October I Rowed Out on the Lake (Bloodaxe Books, 2015); and Anteckningar (2018), published in a dual language edition with David McDuff's translation as I walked on into the forest: poems for a little girl (Bloodaxe Books, 2021). Three decades after her first Bloodaxe title Snow Leopard received a Poetry Book Society Translation Award, her latest book I walked on into the forest is a Poetry Book Society Translation Choice, which is the same award since renamed.
Other awards given to Tua Forsström include the Edith Södergran Prize (1991), Pro Finlandia Medal (1991), Göteborgs-Postens poetry prize (1992), Gerald Bonnier poetry prize (1993), Tollanderska Prize (1998) and Naim Frashëri Award (2012). She has also been nominated for the European Aristeion Prize. Her poetry has been translated into several languages, including Albanian, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Norwegian, Serbian and Spanish.
Author photo: Niklas Sandström / Förlaget
Books by Tua Forsström