2003 Eva Ström, Sweden: Revbensstäderna

2003 Eva Ström, Sverige: Revbensstäderna

About the author

Eva Ström was born in Lidingö outside Stockholm. She trained as a physician, but left the profession in 1988 to become a full-time writer. In early 2010, she was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the class for humanities and for outstanding services to science. She made her literary debut in 1977 with the collection of poems Den brinnande Zeppelinaren. So far, she has published nine collections of poems and four novels.

About the winning piece

With emotional clear-sightedness, Revbensstäderna describes the existence of some people living on the edge of society. She takes the reader to the towns and cities on the English coast where she portrays people with sympathetic insight and tenderness. We meet the refugee boy who takes his own life, the alcoholic who vomits blood and the paedophile who tries to explore his tendency. However, the character drawings do not end with the personalities, but continue into the human body strictly physiologically. The poetic imagery is often expressed in medical-anatomical terms: muscles, blood, ribs. Here we also find the biblical references – in the gym with the fit bodies runs the blood of Christ.


Published by: Albert Bonnier's publishing company 

Publication year: 2002

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

Eva Ström is a singular voice in the landscape of Swedish poetry. She is at the forefront of a younger generation of poets and her work never stagnates. She tests the limits of language and challenges the potential of the word. "Revbensstäderna" stands out because of her extraordinary bravery, her intensity and physicality, as well as the clarity with which she depicts the human condition today.