Publicerat 19 maj, 2012

Stieg Larsson honorary citizen of Umeå

Stieg Larsson, the Swedish journalist and highly successful author, has been posthumously awarded honorary citizenship of Umeå in northern Sweden. The municipality’s executive officers considered that his writings and his work for democracy reflected honour not only on the author but also on the city where he spent his childhood and teenage years.

Stieg Larsson is world famous for his Millennium trilogy. This series of novels has sold a staggering 63 million copies and been translated into 50 languages. The Swedish filming of the books was followed by the American film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. This is based on the first book in the series.

As Stieg Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack in 2004 when he was only 50 years old, he himself did not witness the above success. Nonetheless, his work is immortal and he is now, as an honorary citizen, being given an eternal place in Umeå’s history.

“The youth of beliefs”
The nomination for the award was made in the usual way by the municipal council’s presidium. Its supporting statement ran: “When words form sentences, they can also form sense. Stieg Larsson reached out sense as a journalist and author without equal. A committed family and early beliefs laid the foundations for this during his time in Umeå. Stieg Larsson combined good storytelling with an unshakeable stance on compassion, democracy and women´s rights.”

Marie-Louise Rönnmark, municipal commissioner, commented: “Stieg Larsson burned with a real flame and the values he stood for are in total harmony with the general spirit of Umeå. His work reflects honour both on himself and Umeå.”

A proud father
Stieg Larsson’s father, Erland Larsson, spoke for both himself and his other son, Joakim, when, commenting on the award, he said: “We are proud and grateful.”

Erland Larsson understands why many people may associate Stieg solely with the Millennium books. However, he himself likes to emphasise the work his son did before these: “With Expo, the periodical he helped to start up, Stieg fought for democracy by mapping out the extreme right and working for women’s rights. This was the basis of his work.”

Rare title
The nomination must be seen in the light of this being only the fourth time that an honorary citizenship of Umeå has been awarded. Author Lars Widding (1988), footballer Gunnar Nordahl (1991) and EU commissioner Anita Gradin (1997) are the previous recipients.

“The title is only for those whose extraordinary efforts have benefited many and put Umeå on the map,” stated Marie-Louise Rönnmark.

In the presence of father Erland and brother Joakim, Stieg Larsson’s honorary citizenship of Umeå was officially announced on the 19th of May at “Culture night”, Umeå’s largest regularly held cultural event and popular get-together.

Picture: Joakim Larsson, Marie-Louise Rönnmark and Erland Larsson (photo: Malin Grönborg)

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