Peatlands are important in literature almost all over the world. They are described in a lot of different ways.  A place with hard working conditions where you have to struggle for life. A place with berries and peat for heating. Beautiful views and mires made for contemplation and relaxation and the scene for murders and other scary intrigues.



The short stories of Finnish literature related to peatlands compiled by Helena Lassila.
Download in English or in Finnish

Peatlands in Finnish literature including books translated in other languages compiled by Helena Lassila and Kirsi Laurén.
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Suon syvä syli. (Editor Arto Seppälä). 1999. Maahenki Oy, Helsinki. ISBN 952-5328-00-7. Short stories about peat and peatlands.




 Life is as unpredictable as the mire

“Out of his dreams he had created them, these particular people in this particular landscape of mountains and water and black endless mires.  In their search for beauty they had begun to resemble him and before death they cried, not because of the finity of life, but because the tone within them had been too sweet. “Scared in the soul, Anita Salomonsson

Peatlands in Northen Swedish Literature
Emma Ingelsson Alkbring
This article points at the role of peatland in literature describing Northern Sweden. Examples are given from the works of four authors: Astrid Väring, Sara Lidman, Kerstin Ekman and Anita Salomonsson. The peatlands are present in the everyday life describerd in the books as well as in dreams and mysteries.The Northern Sweden regional litterature has traditionally been compared to the postcolonial literature of Africa.


Cultural Aspects of peat and peatlands, a Swedish approach
Compiled by Reidar Pettersson, former president of the International Peat Society
Mires and peatlands, have often inspired people, and often scared them as well. Story-tellers in words and pictures, as well as in music, have described the mire-landscape with its enchanting wide views, or mires shrouded in mist, offering at times dark, threatening and mystic shades and moods. The fruitless struggle to cultivate barren mirelands for a maigre living has been depicted. The hard work with help of the sharp-edged spade, under a burning sun, plagued by mosquitos, gadflies, digging peat for small gains, has given bitter memories in literature. Also happier experiences have been documented, inter alia in modern short stories and novels. Comprehensive archaeological finds and their description are to be found, as well as industrial-historical documentation. The result of the call has been divided into chapters. In a rhapsodic way some of the contributed material has been translated from Swedish and is presented here in the form of:

Chapter 1 Sten-Ove Pettersson's Reflections and Memories: This first chapter consists of some memories and reflections made of Sten-Ove Pettersson. Sten-Ove has devoted most of his life to peat and peatlands in his work at Hasselfors Garden Ltd in Närke. Like no other he has acquired knowledge of and a love for peat, which covers the peat industry, the peatlands and their flora and fauna. His fascinating stories have literary merits.

Chapter 2 The Use of Peatlands: Somewhere around a quarter of Sweden´s land surface is covered with peat. The peatlands have contributed for centuries to people´s welfare. In this chapter I have collected description and documentation on the ways of which the lands were of use where they are, “in situ” as the technical term has it.

Chapter 3 Peat Archaeology: Because of its chemical and physical properties, peat in the peatlands has been able to preserve traces of human activities during the centuries. In our peatlands there are , discovered and still undiscovered, mumified, or perhaps rather humified, bodies and bones of animals and humans, remains of surprisingly well-preserved buildings and roads, boats, clothes, jewellery, utensils, weapons and cult figures. Other chapters are planned to follow, covering “The peat industry”; “Peat museums”; “Public campaigns”; “Nature conservation”; “Visual arts”; “Music “; “Films” and “Literature, prose and poetry.”

You can download the whole text in English here: Cultural aspects of peat and peatlands, a Swedish approach in Swedish here.