City as Male Domain: Missing Female Protagonists in Fictional Accounts of Malmö, Sweden

Ms Anna Solding
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In reading novels set in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, you would be forgiven for thinking that men get most of the action. Writer Fredrik Ekelund bases all of his novels in the city but has never really described it from a female protagonist's perspective. He touches on it briefly in 'Nina och sundet', where the hero chases a female serial killer whom the reader gets to know and sympathise with. Björn Ranelid's fictionalised autobiography 'Till alla människor på jorden och i himlen' describes the city from a young boy's/man's perspective. 'Underdog', Torbjörn Flygt's popular August winning account of a boy's coming of age in Malmö, only hints at what life could have been like for the character's sister and mother at the time when he was out roaming the streets with his group of male friends. My paper will look at works set in Malmö where boys and men play the main parts and examine the possible reasons for this. Is there something about Malmö, or even about cities in general, that brings out contemporary male narrative but withholds female stories? With my own novel in progress about five female protagonists in Malmö I hope to fill some of this void by showing that girls and women have stories to tell about what it means to grow up and raise a family in an urban landscape.

Keywords: Contemporary Fiction, The City, Female Stories
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Sexuality, Gender, Families
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: City as Mother

Ms Anna Solding

PhD Candidate, Creative Writing Division, English Department, The University of Adelaide

My Masters thesis was a novel set in four diverse countries: Indonesia, the Palestinian territories, Australia and Sweden. For my second novel I wanted to do something more contained and decided to set a novel of short stories in my home town of Malmö. I'm currently in the process of writing my PhD thesis in creative writing which consists of this 'city novel' and an accompanying exegesis about motherhood in the city.

Ref: H05P0582