Gerda Helena Lindskog
The author Gerda Helena Lindskog gives her presentation. Photo: Melina Granberg. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

A voice for the forgotten

Published: 11 November 2016

The author Gerda Helena Lindskog is appointed Honorary Doctor of Philosophy at Luleå University of Technology. Her stories about the controversial work cabins for children in Torne Valley and Lapland in the 1900s is an important part of the northern literature.

– It's really an honor to be awarded an honorary doctorate. I am of course happy that my work is highlighted in this way, says Gerda Helena Lindskog.

Writes about children in Norrbotten

– I am and will remain southerner and takes me the right to write and speak as one about the image of norrbotten's children in poetry and reality. By doing research in the archives and conduct interviews with former labor cabin children, I have conveyed my image of the northern children's living conditions. I like to give a voice to those that others may not have seen as important, says Gerda Helena Lindskog.

In her lecture Gerda Helena Lindskog explains the skewed view by southerners of the Norrbotten children in the early 1900s and how it led to the introduction of working cabins. These she described in the books "Snölandets fattiga ungdom till hjälp" from 2010 and "Först och främst misshagade namnet" published in 2014. The working cabins were set up to help poor children in the North in connection with the year of famine 1902-1903. Eventually, one of the main objectives of the working cabins became to be "make the Torne Valley Finnish youth more Swedish".

Gerda Helena Lindskog author's debut was in 1987 with the youth book "Benjamin dansar inte". After some time in Northern Norway her interest in the Northern children's literature awakened, and in 1991 she published the book "Resa med Nordnorsk barnlitteratur" which was the beginning of the book "Norrbarn," which is about how Norrland was depicted in the Swedish children's literature during the 1900s . She has also written about the image of Sami in Swedish children's books in the work "Vid svenskhetens nordliga utposter", published in 2005. Her books are both fiction and non fiction.

Based in Luleå

She was born in Vänersborg but had an early attraction to northern Sweden. She came to Luleå in 1973 and began working as a librarian at the public library. Luleå has since been her base where she lived on and off for nearly 40 years. She has been chairman of Norrländska författarskapet and Författarcentrum Norr, literature consultant in Norrbotten and worked with literature projects in the Barents Region.

– I do not want to be in the limelight, but I want to move around. I have traveled back and forth to meet people and interview them. I have moved around and lived in various places; in northern Norway, Umeå, Lund and Visby. But I have always returned to Luleå.

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