Fredrik SjöbergBiologist, Writer, Literary Critic
There may be only 25 hoverfly enthusiasts in Sweden, but Fredrik Sjöberg’s memoir of his seven-year hunt for hoverflies sold 30.000 copies in Sweden alone. Thousands more were sold in translation in Germany, France, Russia and Norway. Ten years after its first publication in 2004 The Fly Trap also reached the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the USA.
Obviously, The Fly Trap is not about hoverflies only, although it describes the 202 different species Sjöberg managed to catch on his home island of Runmarö. The book is as much about field biology as it is about literature, philosophy, Sjöberg’s own life, his home island and the notion of taking care of the environment. ‘I realised if I'm going to write this book I have to write it for readers who are not interested in flies,’ Sjöberg told The Guardian. The newspaper called the ,i.The Fly Trap ‘charming, witty and original.’
Sjöberg studied biology and geoscience at the University of Lund between 1978 and 1982. He was made an honorary doctor of Agronomy at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala in 2009, and also an honorary doctor of Philosophy at the University of Lund in 2013. At the age of 25, he decided to become a writer and thought himself to be one already through environmental journalism and writing love letters. ‘The best way to learn to write,’ he says, ‘is to write love letters to girls who don't want you. I did a lot of that.’ His successful début is part an autobiographical trilogy that includes The Art of Flight (2006) and The Raisin King (2009).