Stephen Keeler

A poet reflects

Stephen Keeler was born in the north-east of England in 1951. He first moved to Sweden, aged 22, as a teacher. With ­degrees and teaching qualifications from the universities of Durham, Leeds and London and the Royal Society of Arts, he spent almost forty years in international language education, living and working additionally in China, Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia and most of the former Soviet bloc republics of eastern Europe, as well as for the British Council, the United Nations and the BBC World Service, among others.

He commuted between London and central Sweden for almost twenty years. Now retired from full-time teaching, he studies Swedish poetry and culture and still makes frequent visits there.

Widowed in 2003, in 2010 he moved from London to the north-west Highlands of Scotland, where he writes poetry and teaches creative writing.

A memoir in fragments of a foreign language

From bageri (bakery) to vitsippa (wood anemone) via Björn Borg, Saab and smörgåsbord, Stephen Keeler delights us with 50 words that capture the essence of his love affair with Sweden.

With a poet’s eye for the telling detail, Stephen Keeler has brought the Sweden of my childhood vividly to life in this charming and idiosyncratic memoir. ‘Fifty Words for Love in Swedish’ is a joy from beginning to end.

Marika Cobbold

This is far more than a delighted – and delightful – lesson in Swedish. Keeler has written a deeply companionable book about the ways we know each other and the ways we can fall in love with places not our own. Deft, detailed, gently humorous and kind; it’s just enough. Lagom, in fact.

A L Kennedy

Paperback, 160pp, ​216 x 135mm