Iwas at the Gothenburg book fair this autumn and spent a good deal of time and money buying books. When I was done, I drank wine and chatted with fellow writers and my wonderful publishers and editors. In the morning, I would go to interesting seminars, chat with interesting people and learn interesting things.

I am reading quite a lot at the moment. While the kids are doing their swimming lessons, while I am waiting for the pasta to be ready, and while I should be doing exercise. It is a wonderful feeling to be in a reading phase, but it is hard to be a writer who generally works with the Swedish language but is surrounded by books in English. That is why I had to spend so much money at the book fair. I had to bring back some Swedish books, or else my language might deteriorate and my writing becomes “Swenglish” – and nobody wants that. I love the English language, it is rich and nuanced and beautiful, but it doesn’t matter that I have lived here for twenty years. Swedish will always move me in a way English can’t. I believe we have a deep connection to our mother tongue, a sense of belonging and the ability to shape it, form it, and twist it, in a way we are not always able to do with a second language. I find that moving and a little heartbreaking. That my belonging somewhere will never be complete, simply because the language that can play along my spine, move me to tears and make me laugh, is not the language that I spend my days with.

That is why I keep returning to Swedish books, and why I write a lot in Swedish. It brings me a sense of belonging.

Gabi Froden

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