04 February 2019

It was intended as an essay but became a biography of author Verner von Heidenstam and his love Kate Bang. Everything changed when Martin Kylhammar, professor at LiU, got hold of a forgotten wooden box filled with material never before shown. Now the material becomes public.

In January, the 600 pages biography "Ett hemligt liv" (A Secret Life) was released by Martin Kylhammar at Bonnier's publishing house. It is about the Swedish national author and Nobel laureate Verner von Heidenstam and his greatest and last love, the Danish Kate Bang. A book that was not included in the original plan.

– I thought I would write a paper but it turned into a whole biography. It became a research project, which is now complete, says Marin Kylhammar.

Both were writers, and when Kate Bang meets 33-year-old Verner von Heidenstam in 1916, they develop a close relationship. They build the farm Övralid north of Motala and live there for ten years together. After a total of twenty years, the relationship ends and Kate Bang returns to Denmark.

The legacy of Kate Bang includes a wooden box. It will prove to contain a hidden Swedish cultural treasure.

– The box was put on the wind in Copenhagen by Kate Bang's children and forgotten. I wrote to Kate's grandchildren about that I was doing this project and they found the wooden box in the attic. So they brought it to Sweden and Övralid. They didn't even know what was in the box, says Kylhammar.

In the box Kate Bang had saved on diaries, love letters, private photos, correspondence from, about and around von Heidenstam. The entire material will now be handed over to the Övralids archive at the city library in Linköping.

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