Harry Martinson (1904-1978)

Death: 11th February 1978
Cause of death: Suicide - Seppuku with a pair of scissors
Location: Silverdals griftegård, Sollentuna, Stockholms Lan, Sweeden
Photo taken by: Kotoviski
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Swedish author and poet. Joint winner (along with Eyvind Johnson) of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Literature. The selection of both Martinson and Johnson was controversial as they were themselves both on the Nobel panel. 
Martinson was orphaned at an early age and spent his childhood in the Swedish countryside where he was fostered. Aged sixteen he became a sailor and he spent several years sailing round the world, unfortunately he developed tuberculosis and had to spend time in sanatoriums. 
In 1927 he met fellow writer Moa Johansson and they married in 1929. His first novel was published in 1935. Flowering nettle is a partly autobiographical account of the problems and hardships encountered by a young boy in the country. In 1939 he separated from Moa. He met Ingrid Lindcrantz with whom he had two daughters with and spent the rest of his life with. 
The criticism over the 1974 Nobel Prize was not directed at the ability of the two authors, but directly at the Academy for awarding the prize to members of the panel. However the criticism affected both writers and caused Martinson to become ill. He was admitted to hospital in 1978 where he tried to take his own life by committing seppuku (ritual disembowelment) with a pair of scissors. He inflicted horrific injuries upon himself and died several days later.

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