Anna Bondestam

1907 - 1995


Anna Bondestam was regarded as one of the most important writers who depict the Finland-Swedish working class. She grew up in Jakobstad and, following in her parents’ footsteps, joined the workers’ movement. She graduated in history, writing about the Finland-Swedish workers’ movement, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1977, primarily on the merits of her fiction writing. She was married to the journalist Henning Bondestam.

Anna Bondestam made her debut in 1936 with the publication of her humorous novel Panik i Rölleby describing eighteenth century Jakobstad. Her novels Vägen till staden, 1957, Stadens bröd, 1960, Klyftan, 1946, and Lågt i tak, 1943, when read in that order, paint a picture of the period from 1890 to 1930. Revolving around women and young people, they provide a social and psychological analysis. The material for the portrayal of the women’s commune in the tobacco factory in the book Stadens bröd came from Anna Bondestam’s mother, while the experiences of the civil war in 1918, as described in Klyftan, are her own childhood memories.

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