Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon

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Ebba Helfrid Lindqvist



Ebba Lindqvist was an author who used lyrical nature poetry to describe the landscape of the Bohuslän region in a unique manner.

Ebba Lindqvist was the fourth and youngest child of the school teacher Johan Anton Lindqvist and Selma Lindqvist, née Larsson. She was born in Gothenburg and later returned there, but grew up in Grebbestad. Her father retired the same year she was born and her mother returned to her career as a junior school teacher and subsequently worked as a schoolteacher in Naverstad parish until she retired in 1935.

Ebba Lindqvist graduated first from secondary school in Strömstad and then from Sigrid Rudebeck’s high school for girls in Gothenburg in 1926, where she would later return to be a teacher herself. After graduating she tutored students who were preparing to train as teachers in Strömstad or Uddevalla. From 1931 to 1940 she worked at Sigrid Rudebeck’s high school whilst also pursuing her own academic studies. In 1933 she obtained a Master of Arts in German, French, literary science, Nordic languages and psychology.

In 1934 Ebba Lindqvist married the director Ivar Galéen (1909-1985). They had three children, Anne-Marie (1934), Monica (1936) and Ivar Henrik Andreas (1947). In 1939 Ebba Lindqvist and her family moved to New York along with her husband’s German father, the actor and screenwriter Henrik Galéen, because of the latter’s Jewish origins. During their residence in New York Ebba Lindqvist worked for the Office of War Information. She also studied at Columbia University. The family returned to Gothenburg after the war ended, but spent many years living in the Near East due to her husband’s employment abroad. During the 1950s Ebba Lindqvist worked as a poetry reviewer for Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfarts-Tidning. From 1954 to 1967 she was a presenter of “Lyriskt forum” on Sveriges Radio.

Ebba Lindqvist made her debut as a poet in 1931 with a deeply religious collection of poems called Jord och rymd. From then on she published a collection of poems almost every year. It was not until her fifth collection of nature poetry called Fiskläge, in which she mixed issues of Christianity with striking visual landscape imagery, that she made her real breakthrough. She converted her impressions of New York into a collection of poems called Manhattan, 1943, and into the short story collection called Vägen till Jeriko, 1946. The poetry collection Karavan, 1958, was based on themes from the Near East. The poetry collections of the 1950s and 1960s often placed classical, mythical and literary female characters centre stage, such as Phaedra, Clytemnestra, the Caryatids and Job’s wife. In her last collection of poems, Mässa för måsar, 1966, Lindqvist returned to the landscape of the Bohuslän region and the major existential questions.

Many of Ebba Lindqvist’s poems have been set to music by famous musicians such as Torsten Sörenson, Åke Hermansson, Alfred Janson, Lars Edlund, Martin Bagge and Henrik Mossberg. Gösta Nystroem’s orchestral piece Sinfonia del mare is based on his musical version of Lindqvist’s poem “Den enda”.

Ebba Lindqvist is buried in Grebbestad. One of the town squares is named after her and some of her most famous poems have been engraved onto large blocks of stone placed in the square.

Lisbeth Larsson
(Translated by Alexia Grosjean)

Published 2018-03-08

You are welcome to cite this article but always provide the author’s name as follows:

Ebba Helfrid Lindqvist,, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon (article by Lisbeth Larsson), retrieved 2024-07-14.

Other Names

    Married: Lindqvist-Galéen

Family Relationships

Civil Status: Widow
  • Mother: Selma Lindqvist, född Larsson
  • Father: Johan Anton Lindqvist, född Gustafsson
  • Brother: Folke Lindqvist
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  • Läroverk, Strömstad: Realexamen
  • Flickskola, Göteborg: Studentexamen, Sigrid Rudebecks gymnasium för flickor, privatskola
  • Universitet, Uppsala, Uppsala universitet
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  • Profession: Lärare
  • Profession: Informatör, Office of War Information
  • Profession: Författare
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  • Friend: Karin Boye


  • Birthplace: Göteborg
  • Göteborg
  • Grebbestad
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  • Bergsten, Birgitta, Kvinnan och havet: Ebba Lindqvist - liv och dikt, Warne, Partille, 2008

Further References