According to Swedish daily DN, seven young Swedish prose authors have launched an ambitious literary manifesto called, in Swedish, Manifest för ett nytt litterärt decennium. Whether they will stick to what they promise is another matter, but their hearts are, in my opinion, in the right place. The culprits are: Susanne Axmacher, Jesper Högström, Sven Olov Karlsson, Jens Liljestrand, Anne Swärd, Jerker Virdborg and Pauline Wolff. The points of the manifesto can be summarised thus:
1) Bring back storytelling to prose. No more novels about shopping ladies or crime novels set in various Swedish places for couleur locale.
2) Serious novels are called for, more epic than lyrical, following a list of Swedish greats including Lagerlöf, Söderberg, Delblanc, Dagerman, etc.
3) No exploitation of the biographies of those unable to defend themselves masquerading as literature.
4) "Vi vill låta stilen och formen underordna sig berättandet, miljöskildringen och karaktärsgestaltningen – inte tvärtom." That is to say: we want to let style and form remain subordinate to the narration, the description of setting, and of character - not vice-versa.
5) Literature is not autobiography or diaries.
6) No overload of slapstick or word play.
7) Literature is not journalism. No books fostering social debate masquerading as novels.
8) No sensationalist novels written by journos at leading Swedish dailies.
9) Literature as an art form. No more cliques centred on publications or groupings.
10) No selling out of prose fiction. Novels are to be read.
Well, I hope they practise what they preach. I shall be looking out for works by these revolutionaries.