Birgitta and her husband live north of San Francisco, in a house on a hill, overlooking the ocean. When not writing, she walks along the bluff and up into the forest, alone or with friends. Tutoring local children keeps her grounded.
She studied Swedish, English and German Literature, earning Master’s Degrees from the University of Lund, Sweden, and the University of California at Davis. While covering the San Francisco art beat as a contributing editor for Art & Auction in New York, she also wrote Artful Players, a book on early California art, published by Balcony Press.
“One must know the world so well before one can know the parish.”
Turning to fiction, she drew on memories of her native Sweden, where she spent her childhood summers in a village much like the one we encounter in Fylgia. Sarah Orne Jewett’s words to Willa Cather still hold true: “Of course, one day you will write about your own country. In the meantime, get all you can. One must know the world so well before one can know the parish.”
by Birgitta Hjalmarson
This essay was first published by Women Writers, Women's Books in July 2019. Garbo portrayed you in Queen Christina, beautiful, when you, in fact, were not. These days you’re celebrated as an early feminist, although you, of course, would have sneered. And to be...
When I was young, I went crayfishing with my father in Sweden. Although I can’t remember the exact year, it must have been on August 7, for that was the day the season began. My father and his brothers were fortunate enough to have their own fishing waters. They had...
Before Fylgia, there was another story, told by the villagers themselves. Many of my readers have asked about it, and so I decided to post it here. This is the sixth installment. Not yet fiction, it occupies a realm of its own. Carl Fredrik Lundgren was a man...