Bodil Malmsten was born in Jämtland and grew up in a foster family in Vällingby. She was a television producer in the 1970s and in the early 1980s translated libretti for musicals, worked in the theatre, and had her texts published in newspapers and periodicals. She attended the Stockholm art academy for one year. Extracts of her texts can be found in the press-cuttings books B-ställingar, 1987, and Det är ingen ordning på mina papper, 1991. Her debut work of poetry was Dvärgen Gustaf, 1977.
In her own very individual style, she mixes the high with the low: allusions to modern pop culture are coupled with high-brow literature, rhythms and rhymes turn literary conventions upside down. In Damen, det brinner!, 1984, we meet typical Stockholm communities, while Paddan & Branden, 1987, among other things, contains a distressing ballad about a widower in Jämtland whose wife has died of cancer. Her works also incorporate autobiographical material, such as in the history collection Svartvita bilder, 1988. Her poetry collection Nåd & onåd. Idioternas bok, 1989, about goodness, is inspired by Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, of 1868, as is her first major novel, Den dagen kastanjerna slår ut är jag långt härifrån, 1994, which depicts the mid-life crisis of a male actor. In Nerfertiti i Berlin (P), 1990, and Landet utan lov (P), 1991, she achieves a confidence in her compositions which is developed further in Inte med den eld jag har nu. Dikt för annan dam, 1993, a poetic suite with mirror effects and clear leitmotives. In 1996 she published the novel Nästa som rör mig.
Additions by the editorial team 2011:
The above biography was first published in 1998. Since then, Bodil Malmsten has written: Undergångarens sånger (short stories, 1998), Det finns inga lyckopiller. Information för resultat (2000), Priset på vatten i Finistère (novel, 2001), Det är fortfarande ingen ordning på mina papper (2003), Mitt första liv (autobiographical novel, 2004), För att lämna röstmeddelande, TRYCK STJÄRNA (2005), Hör bara hur ditt hjärta bultar i mig (2006), Kom och hälsa på mig om tusen år (2007), Sista boken från Finistère (novel, 2008), and De från norr kommande leoparderna (2009).
She has received several prizes and honours.