Agents & Producers

Helena Thorfinn

Helena Thorfinn is a Swedish writer and development professional currently living in Yangon, Myanmar. Helena moves between writing, journalism and development issues with a passion for people and how people strategize to live their lives, personally, politically and practically.

For many years Helena was one of Sweden’s leading news reporters, working as staff reporter for daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, and producing documentaries and television. For a few years she was based in London as correspondent for Swedish Television, SVT.

 

Photo: Martin Magntorn

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Bibliography

 

Tiger Trails

Sofia and Janne return to Dhaka to find their beloved city in ruins. A recent terrorist attack has shaken the community and their neighbourhood is no longer the expat safe-haven of clubs, pools and embassy parties that it once was.

Sofia is determined to continue to pursue her work in human rights but seems to find trouble at every turn, whilst her husband, Janne, is left at home and becomes increasingly frustrated with his life as a house-husband and a teacher, surrounded by Asian tiger mums.

Meanwhile, in the servants’ quarters on the top floor of Sofia and Janne’s mansion, two local girls, Pinky and Dipita, are moving in. The two dancers spend their nights working at the cantonment where they soon build up a network of unsavoury characters that will later prove vital to their landlords.

Preoccupied by her work and the continued threat of terror; it is only once Sofia finds herself stranded in the mangroves of the Sunderbans, with an American colleague, that she realises that it is not just her professional but also her private life that is at stake.


Author:
Helena Thorfinn

Original title:
Den som går på tigerstigar

Published:
April 2017

Genre:
General Fiction

Original publisher:
Norstedts

Reading material:
Swedish manuscript (final)
English sample

435 pp.

 

“Helena Thorfinn is a true storyteller, with a unique feeling for tension, presence and believable characters. Her commitment and political expertise runs like a thread throughout the text, but is well integrated and never overshadows the story.“ 

Susanna Romanus, Publisher

“Through both their professional and personal lives, Thorfinn examines the Swedes brutal encounter with an intractable reality, far from what they could imagine in their familiar home environment.”

Norrköpings Tidningar

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Tigertrails is a novel that draws you in, the kind of book that you cannot put down while you do not want it to end.”

SUSANNA ROMANUS, PUBLISHER

 

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Sisters by the River

Sofia has high expectations of her new job as head of development co-operation at the Swedish embassy in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and Janne grudgingly accepts that going with her means he will have to assume the role of stay-at-home dad for their two young children.

At the same time a young woman, Mukta, is murdered by her husband in a small village deep in the countryside. Her little sisters Mina and Nazrin decide to take their destiny into their own hands and flee to Dhaka. 

Confronting the reality of Dhaka is equally as overwhelming for Swedish Sofia and Janne as it is for the young sisters from the village, and despite the different circumstances their lives soon become linked. The story reveals a world of grand embassy receptions, exploited textile workers and Swedish family life. Careerists and idealists gather around the same swimming pool, and tennis matches and terrorism impact everyday life.

Sisters by the River is a novel vibrant with colour and teeming with life and it takes us to places and events at whirlwind speed. With immediacy and humour Thorfinn describes the Swedes’ attempts to do good while being politically correct, and she movingly narrates the dreams and misfortunes of the Bangla girls. A sweeping, powerful and exciting portrayal touching on the urgent, difficult issues as well as the everyday ones. 


Author:
Helena Thorfinn

Original title:
Innan floden tar oss

Published:
Mars 2012

Genre:
General Fiction

Original publisher:
Norstedts

Reading material:
Swedish manuscript (final)
English sample

435 pp.

Sweden/Norstedts
Poland/Prószynski
Norway/Silke
Iceland/Urdur 

 

“Sisters by the River is an unusually mature and well-written debut, as sharp in its depic­tion of contemporary customs as in the ana­lysis of a failure of development policies. It will surely get many readers.”  

SYDSVENSKAN

 

“Exciting and enlightening novel of the Swedish development aid industry.” 

AFTONBLADET

 

“The novel is a page-turner that describes life in Bangladesh so rich that you can feel the smells and the heat. It is with regret and ang­er one puts down the book. Helena Thorfinn is making her debut as a writer and she does it with honor. A must-read.” 

FEMINA

“A 440-page long shocking, incredibly edu­cational and necessary eye-opener in terms of the state of planet Earth. Thorfinn asks the necessary question: who benefits from all that is happening?”

HALLANDS NYHETER

 

Sisters by the River is an important novel. And Thorfinn’s depiction owns a credibility that clearly reveals her own experience. She has a background as a development ana­lyst at the Swedish Embassy in Bangladesh […] a convincing novel debut.”  

HELSINGBORGS DAGBLAD

 

“In addition to the reading experience, the book offers a good contribution to the deba­te on development aid.” 

NORRBOTTENS-KURIREN

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