The Girl who Discovered Life

Johanna Nilsson


Rights sold

Germany: Carl Hanser - dtv

Sweden: Wahlström & Widstrand, Månpocket

“My name is Fanny Ternestedt and I’m turning 14 this fall. My parents don’t look at me and as a matter of fact, they’re not really my parents, because there’s another family somewhere, a real one, which I’m going to go to one of these days, through hell and high water, through death itself, and take the birds in the garden with me.”


Fanny is not like other girls. She refuses to become just one bird in the flock, refuses to fit in. She seeks a solitary life and finds solitary places such as the Cemetery, the Water, the School’s Attic, and here is where she discovers her own world and her own life.


The Girl who Discovered Life is Johanna Nilsson’s second novel after her remarkable debut She goes through the Frame and out of the Picture. It’s a rebellious, vibrant book about growing up and its doubts, friends and difficult moments: life and how it should be lived.


233 Pages



“We take part in Fanny’s struggles from the perspective inside her mind, yet at the same time can see from the outside how she is torn between her longing for friends and her disassociation from humankind to avoid being hurt, how she desperately attempts to find her place in life and a role where she is accepted for the person she really is. Skillfully done.”

Svenska Dagbladet


“Here we have a writer with significant insights into the difficulties inherent in becoming an adult and an impressive ability to tell her story with intensity and a sure hand for style.”

Gerth Ekstrand, Dala-Demokraten


“It’s hard to believe that a writer who, at barely 26, already has set her sights on the great questions: the meaning of life, the existence of God, the value scale for what one ought to strive for and what is most important. The whole time she keeps her feet firmly on the ground, close to the heart; the games of her little brother, the toys with knives hidden among them, everyday meals of pizza and family dinner conversation.”



“This novel makes me look at reality in a different way for a while…it’s such a relief to read a book about a girl whose goal in life is more than pleasing other people.”



“Somewhere in the background, you can hear an echo of Astrid Lindgren’s interest for human beings on the edge of society. Nevertheless Johanna Nilsson has a different and more openly expressed interest for the depths which can be found in the main characters’ souls.”

Upsala Nya Tidningen


“I read it straight through; cried when I remembered the person I used to be and am ashamed when I consider the person I’ve become today.”