Congratulations on the remarkable achievement of this the 25th year of the Göteborg Book Fair and thank you for inviting me to celebrate with you through this memory of 2002, when I was a guest at Göteborg for the launch of the Swedish translation of my novel Skyline.
During the Fair, I met the Mayor and Mayoress of Göteborg, was introduced to members of the Swedish Institute, met Swedish poets and authors, librarians, and my translator. I was 'in conversation' with Gunilla Kindstrand and had the opportunity to read some of my poetry aloud.
After the Fair, in Stockholm, where I stayed at the wonderful Art Hotel, my publisher, Mr Styrbjörn Gustafsson, took me to an exhibition of Impressionists.
He pointed out the royal palace, across the road from the gallery. I said that I would like to meet the King. So we stood at the big, wooden door of the palace and Mr Gustafsson smote upon it three times with his umbrella. A courtier, dressed in velvet livery, opened.
'I have come from Africa,' I said, 'to see the King, to sip tea from golden cups and to discuss fine literature with him.'
'Alas. The King is away, Ma'am, 'Sailing upon the Hoppetossa, battling storms and high waves, heading for spice islands, gathering up stories and good tales from far away lands, to bring back for Scandinavian children. He will be gone for quite awhile, I'm afraid. Can you come again, another time, perhaps?'
'Yes, another time,' I said. 'But tell the King that I called. And give him my best wishes. I love that in his Kingdom books are cherished and authors revered.'
'I will do so, Ma'am.' said the courtier, bowing, as Mr Gustafsson and I set off into the mild Scandinavian sunshine. I noticed a girl, so like Pippi Långstrump. She was striding across a cobbled courtyard, clutching her library books, with the anticipation of opening those books and releasing all their wonders, captured in her sparkling, blue eyes.
by Patricia Schonstein Pinnock
Novelist, poet and author of children's books
Bulimi. Jag skulle ju inte, men vips har man svept i sig hela asken. En gång framträdde jag i Författarcentrums monter. Inte ens arrangörerna lyssnade, ingen stannade upp, alla bara gick förbi och ja…