Alf Henrikson

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Alf Henrikson sculpture

Alf Ragnar Sten Henrikson (9 July 1905 in Huskvarna – 9 May 1995 in Södra Ängby) was a Swedish author, poet and translator, known for his interest in language and for his broad general knowledge.[1] He wrote a number of books about popular science and history, and for many years he was part of the staff of Dagens Nyheter, where he published short poems about current events or other topics.


All in all, over 20,000 of Henrikson's daily poems were published in Dagens Nyheter, some of which have subsequently been published in anthologies.[2] Henrikson also wrote and published a number of other volumes of poetry, and a popular introduction to various metric forms and styles. His style was often humorous but could also be very serious; there were often several layers of meanings in Henrikson's texts.

Henrikson's published production includes over 100 books[3] including collections of poetry, history books retelling the history of, among others, Sweden, Denmark, China, Iceland and ancient Greece and Rome, and a general encyclopedia, which Henrikson started writing at the age of 80. He also translated poetry, opera librettos and other texts from languages including French, English, and Chinese. His translation of the libretto of Mozart's The Magic Flute from German into Swedish in 1968 became a classic, which was also used in Ingmar Bergman's movie version of the opera from 1975.[4]

Awards and prizes[edit]

Henrikson received a number of literary and other awards for his writing and his work to further knowledge. Among the most important awards he received are

In 1967, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (Vitterhetsakademien). In 1968, he was made an honorary doctor by Stockholm university. In 1980, the publishing house Bra Böcker AB created an award in Henrikson's name as a gift for his 75th birthday. Until his death, Henrikson himself chose the recipient of the annual award; after his death, there was a hiatus of a few years before the prize was again awarded, now by the Alf Henrikson Society. As of 2013, the prize sum is SEK 25,000.[7]

He is buried in Huskvarna[8]


  1. ^ Alf Henrikson biographical entry in Nationalencyklopedin (Swedish)
  2. ^ The Alf Henrikson society (Swedish)
  3. ^ Bibliographical database from the Alf Henrikson Society
  4. ^ Die Zauberflöte: information about the opera from the Gothenburg Opera
  5. ^ Recipients of Litteris et Artibus 1977, information from the Royal Court of Sweden
  6. ^ Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana List of recipients of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, accessed 20 February 2010
  7. ^ Om Alf Henrikson-priset, information from the Alf Henrikson Society, retrieved 7 January 2013 (Swedish)
  8. ^ Find a Grave entry for Henrikson

External links[edit]