Karin Hellstedt was an author, a journalist and a causerie-style columnist. She made her debut as a writer in 1952 with the release of Kvinnorna i hörnhuset. Prior to that she had been working as a journalist and as editorial secretary for Scenen during the 1930. Around 1950 she supplied causerie-type columns for the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
Karin Hellstedt was born in Stockholm in 1901. She was the daughter of wholesale merchant Hugo Tillquist and his wife Ebba, née Wahlberg. She was a pupil at Anna Sandström’s private girls’ school and after eight years’ attendance she completed her schooling and gained a so-called ‘normalkompetens’ (normal school equivalency qualification). She then applied to enter the piano class at Kungliga Musikaliska Akademiens konservatorium (now Kungliga Musikhögskolan, royal college of music, in Stockholm) in the early 1920s but she was not accepted. Instead she spent a couple of years studying music in Stockholm and in Paris. From 1925–1934 she was married to Gösta Wennerholm, a legal practitioner, and they had a son together name Claes. In 1934 Karin Hellstedt remarried. Her second husband, with whom she had three daughters, was the diplomat Svante Hellstedt.
Karin Hellstedt worked for the Scenen journal during 1931 and 1932. When the content involved general material she tended to use the signature ‘K.W’. However, when submitting columns on music and reviews she used the signature of Mélomane and when writing on fashion she signed off as Mme. Tecla. During 1932 she also served as the editorial secretary for Scenen and that year she also intermittently contributed to Hvar 8 dag.
Karin Hellstedt supplied causerie-style columns to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper from 1947–1952, using the byline of Catherine for her vignettes entitled “Idag” and “I marginalen”. The light-hearted format of causerie columns treated all sorts of material, from sleeping difficulties to behavioural issues in children, and the downsides of high society life such as summertime developments at Falsterbo. All of this was delivered through her thoroughly bourgeois perspective.
Karin Hellstedt published her first book in 1952. This was a collection of short stories entitled Kvinnorna i hörnhuset. The short stories are situated in an apartment building in Östermalm, Stockholm, and portray the varied environments and human relations unfolding on each floor, involving the family of a company director, a doorman’s family, single women, and newlyweds.
Her next book, Ingen känner Elisa, published in 1954, was also a collection of short stories. The back cover summarises the main elements of the stories: the various ways that women interact with and assert themselves with their fellow beings, whether male or female, as portrayed in a series of realistic female types. These women are married and single, and their experiences occur both within and outside of Sweden.
In 1955 Karin Hellstedt published a novel called … vars namn är kärlek. The female lead character is trapped in a marriage to a husband who is completely unlike her and is heavily dependent on his unworthy lover. Olga, published the next year, is a novel situated in a small town where a modest draper lives with his wife, a manicurist in the big city. Everybody knows everybody else’s business in the small town where the couple’s marriage is discussed and gossiped about. När knoppar brister, from 1959, is a roman-à-clef which portrays Karin Hellstedt’s own childhood. The story begins shortly after the death of King Oscar II and ends a couple of years before the outbreak of the First World War. The lead character is Ingegerd, a playful girl who enjoys the summer lifestyle in havens of the archipelago – Sandhamn and Fågelön – as well as in Östermalm in Stockholm.
Karin Hellstedt died at Beckomberga hospital in 1984. She had been admitted there in 1967 with a diagnosis of depressive psychosis. She is buried at Lidingö cemetery.