Birgit Sunesson was a writer and journalist in many genres. Her interest in societal issues was central to most of her published work.
Birgit Sunesson was born in 1916 in Gothenburg. Her parents were Anna and Ernst Adamsson, the latter a steam engine repairer. After taking her school certificate in Gothenburg, she attended a folk high school and later qualified as a social worker. During one period in her professional life, she was a journalist on a daily newspaper. She started at Morgon-Tidningen in 1948 and for the first half of the 1950s she wrote about consumer issues for the major evening tabloid Expressen.
For many years after that, Birgit Sunesson worked as a freelance writer on weekly magazines, first of all Allt i Hemmet. She continued at Husmodern for several years in the 1960s. Her book Diskbänken tur och retur in 1963 is based on a reportage series in Husmodern. In both series and book, she interviews women of all ages about their views on women’s living conditions and opportunities. The book ends with a discussion about the relationship between housewives and professional women and she also deals with the issue of whether or not it would be damaging to children to be at day care while their mothers were at work.
She often worked as freelance on Swedish Radio in Stockholm as early as the 1950s and more and more often from 1966. As a member of the editorial group of Familjespegeln, she presented a large number of reportage articles that drew attention. Birgit Sunesson was one of the first to direct-send ring-in programmes on the radio’s P1. In 1969–1979, she was permanently employed at Sveriges Radio as a producer in the community editorial section. She was chosen as Årets Radiotopp in 1975 for her reportage articles from Chicago and from Volvo. Birgit Sunesson was described then as a radio reporter who was not afraid of “difficult subjects”.
With the novel Nedre botten över gården, Birgit Sunesson made her literary debut in 1978, at the age of 62, and a few years later the novel Glasburarnas rike appeared, in 1980. The two novels can be described as parts of an autobiographical project, though fictional. The novels depict the childhood of the girl Vanja, a concierge’s daughter in central Gothenburg. They follow her through her youth and schoolgirl years, her secondary school certificate leading to low-paid office jobs and breaking up from that life to continue studying, this time at a folk high school.
After her retirement from the radio, she appeared anyway as a programme hostess in Förmiddag med P1 and she also made other radio appearances, as is shown by newspaper tableaux over radio programmes. In August 1981, she published the short story “Tala igenom det” in the major daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, with a brief presentation in which she is said to have also written radio theatre since having left journalism after more than 30 years. Early in the 1990s, she was still getting published with reviews and culture articles, in for example the trade union magazine LO-tidningen in 1995, a chronicle about her reading of Harry Martinson’s Nässlorna blomma: “På luffen i sällskap med idolen”.
Birgit Sunesson died in 2007. She is buried in the Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm.