We are three writers in the same family, but very different. Axel, who died in June 2022, always wrote in his mother tongue, German; Imke writes in her native Swedish. Marianne is a literary scholar and writes in English about English literature.
Works set in bold may be ordered from the Holmby Press webshop. An ‘E’ after the title indicates that the book is only available for downloading as an electronic file (PDF).
Axel Thormählen was born in a North German town in 1945. Having trained as a bookseller, he worked for some time in Frankfurt and Hamburg before moving to Lund in Sweden to look after German books in a university bookshop. There he met Marianne, and for 46 years they lived in Holmby, a village outside Lund, before moving back to the city.
Axel’s first novels, Hanky (1978) and Hanna (1983), appeared from Merlin Verlag. In Swedish, Ellerströms published his third novel Wilhelm (1993). The books are set in small-town Germany, which is sharply but tenderly portrayed.
Short fiction was always a speciality of Axel’s. Two collections of his short stories have appeared in Swedish from Ellerströms, and in 2008 the Los Angeles publisher Les Figues Press brought out a small selection called A Happy Man and Other Stories. In 2014, the German publisher JMB Verlag published Axel’s best stories in the volume Der letzte Wikinger und andere Erzählungen (E). Holmby Press recently produced a second English-language collection, a small volume called Dental Gold and Other Stories.
Axel had a satirical streak, and a life in letters supplied him with plenty of material for a ‘literary thriller’ called Wenn Wörter töten könnten (E), published in several editions by two German publishers, most recently by JMB Verlag in 2020. Readers with a command of German will enjoy his merciless portrayal of writers, publishers and academics, mostly from Germany and Sweden.
In 2016, JMB Verlag brought out the novel Der grüne Himmel (E), also a humorous book but one that conveys low-key wisdom about life and its trials.
Imke Thormählen works as an academic administrator and writes fiction in her spare time. Her first novel, about Napoleon’s first Empress (Joséphine, Bra Böcker/Wiken 1994), appeared while she was still at school. She writes the sort of books she’d like to relax with after a hard day at the office, her two main fields being historical fiction and prequels/sequels of classic works of literature.
In 2013, Holmby Press published an English translation of her sequel to George Eliot’s Middlemarch. A fusion of the detective story and Neo-Victorian fiction, The Ladislaw Case takes the reader to early-Victorian London, where Will Ladislaw is suspected of having murdered a political rival.
Marianne Thormählen retired from the Chair of English Literature at Lund in 2016 and is now running the English-language Lund University Press. Her books on the Brontë sisters and on the Earl of Rochester appeared from Cambridge University Press and can be ordered from them. But two early books on the poetry of T. S. Eliot are available from Holmby Press: The Waste Land: A Fragmentary Wholeness (1978) and Eliot’s Animals (1984). Copyright considerations preclude digital publication.