About the author
Sven Delblanc was born in Canada but grew up in Sörmland, an area to which he constantly returned in his writing. Sven Delblanc was an important historian of literature, lecturer in Uppsala and editor of Den Svenska Litteraturen, a normative work on Swedish literature. As a novelist, he sometimes wrote in allegories and pastiche, other times in streaming narrative realism. Seriousness, if not to say pessimism, is an all-pervading motif in his work, but in exceptional cases an unexpected light feeling breaks through: a clearing with a blooming cherry tree in the middle of a dark spruce forest.
About the winning piece
Samuels bok is the first part of a series of novels and partly based on a diary left behind by the author’s grandfather. Samuel is a minister whose American education is not recognised, so he can only find work as a temporary substitute in a village in Gotland. There, a range of events lead to his further degradation, he is dismissed and ends up in hospital. His regret of the farce in which humans always join – the fight for elevated positions in social hierarchies – is a main theme of the story. But sometimes, and in a humorous light, the perspective turns so that the fool and the loser appear as the real winners.
Published by: Albert Bonnier's publishing company
Publication year: 1981
This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say
After presentation of the nominated works and after a vote, the committee decided to award the Literature Prize 1982 to the Swedish writer Sven Delblanc for this novel “Samuels bok” in which he cautiously draws a rejected man and his family out of the past, and with love and anger gives a voice to people struggling for human dignity.