Maria Gripe (1923–2007) was born Maja Stina Walter in Sweden’s Stockholm archipelago, the daughter of an army captain. She attended Stockholm University, where she studied philosophy and the history of religion, and in 1946 married the artist Harald Gripe. Though she wrote stories from the time she was a child, Gripe did not publish her first book until she was thirty-one. Her first notable success came in the 1960s with a trilogy of books about Hugo and Josephine, and in 1964 she published Glasblåsarns barn, translated into English as The Glassblower’s Children in 1973. In 1974 she received Hans Christian Andersen Award, the most prestigious prize given to a writer of children’s literature. She adapted many of her books for radio, television, and film; in 1998 a movie adaptation of The Glassblower’s Children, starring Stellan Skarsgård, was released. Among Gripe’s books translated into English are The Night Daddy, Elvis and His Secret, and Agnes Cecilia.
Maria Gripe’s books are treasures of international children’s literature. In The Glassblower’s Children she draws on old traditions of fairy tale and Norse myth to tell an exciting story with a very modern sensibility. “Maria Gripe combines simplicity with poetic intensity, and she has the ability to capture the poignancy of emotional experience familiar from memories of childhood.”—TLS