Hanna Nordenhök’s Caesaria (2020) has been declared winner of Swedish Radio’s Literature Prize after being shortlisted along with three other novels. The reader jury describes the book as “a dark story that turns into a beautiful reading experience thanks to its poetic language.” The novel tells the tale of a young girl who grows up on a remote country estate where she lives cut off from the outside world and where she receives occasional visits from her “benefactor”, Doctor Eldh – the man who brought her into the world.
Hanna Nordenhök found the true story of the girl in a footnote when she was researching 19th Century Sweden, the development of obstetrics and the so called “rescue houses for uncivilized children”, which she wrote about in her previous novel The Aspens.
– I have often been interested in historical materials, but I don’t regard it as something distant but as something that is very much present today, Nordenhök says. The book details female conditions, but also male fraternisation – a theme she claims is highly relevant.