Ester Blenda Nordström was born in 1891 in Stockholm, Sweden. The little girl was quick, smart, and mischievous. Her family despaired of ever taming her. Efforts to do so backfired, sometimes with tragic-comical results. Ester’s school grades were not the best, but she secured a place as a newspaper journalist. She became a pioneer when women journalists were few and far between in the conservative society of early twentieth century Sweden.
This engaging new work … brings Ester out of obscurity into her justly earned place among the pioneers of modern women writers.
Ester endured immense hardships to bring investigative stories to the world. She posed as a farm maid to experience first hand the back breaking rigors of the job. Living among the native Sami people as a teacher gave her a unique perspective on their culture. During the Finnish civil war Ester saved thousands of famine-stricken Finns. She adventured in South America, riding a mule across the bandit-infested Cordillera mountains. She went undercover to experience the often traumatic life of a Swedish emigrant to the United States. Her last big adventure was as part of an expedition studying volcanoes in remotest Siberia. In between times she wrote the semi-autobiographical Ann Mari books which inspired a generation of Swedish girls, and were the clear inspiration for Pippi Longstocking.
Ester Blenda lived life to the full, drank, smoked, and partied hard, yet her entire adult life had a dark thread of sorrow running through it. Because she was a lesbian Ester risked exposure, imprisonment, psychiatric treatment and ruin. Her one true love was socialite Carin Wærn Frisell, who was with Ester when she died aged fifty-seven following years of disability caused by a stroke.
Ester Blenda Nordström’s life was like a supernova, blazing brightly before fading. This engaging new work by Fatima Bremmer, translated by Gloria Nneoma Onwuneme, brings Ester out of obscurity into her justly earned place among the pioneers of modern women writers.
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