Eva Hemmer Hansen

1913 - 1983

Denmark

Eva Hemmer Hansen was the daughter of an editor and grew up in Aarhus. She graduated from university, worked as a cultural journalist, lecturer, publisher, and chairwoman of Dansk Kvindesamfund (Danish Women’s Society) from 1968 to 1971; she was a left-leaning Social Democrat and local politician until she left the party in 1970 in protest at the low number of women candidates put up for election. Together with her second husband, the author and publisher Alf Grostøl, she founded the Grevas publishing house in the 1970s, which, among other things, published new, experimental Danish literature. From 1974, she worked as a lecturer at Danmarks Journalisthøjskole (Danish School of Media and Journalism). She had two children.

After publishing a sociological history of literature, Digter og samfund, 1938, she made her debut as a fiction author with the novel Helene in 1944, about a female academic’s crisis on becoming pregnant and a mother. Her widely read popular success En lille tøs og hendes mor (N), 1952, is about a single, working-class mother. She examines the issue of abortion in Salomons dom (N), 1960. In her works Skandale i Troja (1954; Eng. tr. Scandal in Troy), and Jomfru Rasmussen, 1956, about Countess Danner, and her wonderfully crafted Camelot, 1966, she unfolds the problems faced by women in historical novels from periods of cultural upheaval.

Blåstrømper, rødstrømper, uldstrømper, 1970, is her personally told story of the fight for women’s rights over one hundred years. Her prolific writing also includes children’s books, works for radio, translations, and essays. She was a particularly popular public speaker and debater.