Jennifer Anglade Dahlberg grew up in Rockland County, a suburb about 40 miles north of New York City, and graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Prior to moving “way up north” in 1997, she worked as an executive search consultant for Korn/Ferry International. Life as an expat motivated Dahlberg to pursue her love of writing; her first novel, Uptown and Down, was published by Penguin/NAL in 2005. She spent the next decade researching and writing her second book, Lagging Indicators, which was released independently in 2018. Her third novel and Swedish debut, Sommaren på Nornö, will be published by Norstedts Förlag on June 3rd, 2021. Dahlberg splits her time between an apartment in Stockholm (where she lives with her husband, daughter, and son) and a cottage in the archipelago that inspired her latest novel.
Jennifer Anglade Dahlberg är uppvuxen strax utanför New York City. Läslusten väcktes tidigt, liksom kärleken till skrivandet. Hon har en kandidatexamen i statsvetenskap från Columbia University. Hon flyttade till Sverige 1997 och började skriva romaner.Hon har tidigare gett ut två romaner. Den första, Uptown & Down, är utgiven av Penguin/NAL 2005, och hennes andra roman, Lagging Indicators, gav hon ut själv 2018. Hon är aktuell med ny bok, Sommaren på Nornö, som utges av Norstedts den 3e juni 2021. Hon bor sedan många år tillbaka i Stockholm med sin man och två barn.
I was born on September 19th, 1971, to Haitian parents who emigrated to the United States in the late Sixties. I have an older sister (by thirteen months) and was a starry-eyed kid who wanted to move from the suburbs and embark upon an exciting life in New York City. My college years at Columbia University gave me the intellectual stimulation and dynamic urban experience I craved. I loved people-watching, browsing in second-hand bookstores, going to art exhibitions, dancing at Downtown nightclubs, and eating in charming cafés. Along the way, I met a very cute and kind Swede and everything I had assumed about my life trajectory changed! We dated for several years and when he proposed, I moved to Stockholm in 1997. We were married in 1999 and have two children: a college-age daughter and a teenage son.
Sweden was a big change for this native New Yorker, but I have always been fascinated by other countries and cultures and my years abroad have filled me with new influences and a wider perspective. Sweden has also given me the opportunity to pursue my passion: writing. An avid reader my whole life, I was always active in my high school newspaper, yearbook, and literary magazine, but it took a move halfway around the world for me to take the plunge. I knew I was making a fresh start personally and wanted to carry that sense of discovery to my professional life. Luckily, writing is a portable career. I wrote my debut novel during those first few years in my new home and Uptown and Down was published by Penguin/NAL in 2005. Set in Manhattan, it depicts the triumphs and conflicts of three ambitious friends as they navigate the glossy worlds of music and media.
I then spent the next decade juggling parenthood and researching/writing my second book. When the finished manuscript struggled to find a home, I made the decision to release it independently in 2018. Evolving from the 2008 financial crisis, Lagging Indicators centers on Mia Lewis, the only Black female executive at a boutique investment firm. She is devoted to her career until one false move ushers her spectacular downfall, leaving her disgraced and broke. The novel follows Mia’s journey as she fights to rebuild her reputation and reclaim her identity. It is also a tale of love and choices—as timely as ever considering the challenges women face to “have it all.”
Thanks to marketing on social media and word of mouth, Lagging Indicators gained an audience in Sweden and the United States. As a result, I met an editor at Norstedts who asked me if I could write a book that is set in Sweden. I accepted the creative challenge and submitted a manuscript about a single mother and her daughter who live on a fictional island in the Swedish archipelago, imagining a scenario where their lives intersect with a sophisticated family from New York City. Drawing upon my observations from both cultures, I explore the themes of mother/daughter relationships, family secrets, race, class, and the universal emotion of feeling like an outsider. To my absolute delight, Norstedts liked the story, and a Swedish translation of Sommaren på Nornö will be published on June 3rd, 2021.
Spending time with my family is the true joy and blessing of my life and some of our best moments have taken place at our cottage in the Stockholm archipelago. No cars are allowed so we enjoy going for long walks in the forest, biking, boating, playing tennis and padel, cooking, and puttering around the house. The peace and quiet is perfect for reading, which continues to be my most cherished hobby. My favorite books are Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Beloved by Toni Morrison. I also have a soft spot for anything set in New York City (the suburban girl in me yearning to break free). I think Edith Wharton’s New York Novels (The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence) and Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City brilliantly capture the allure and temptations of the city. I admire so many contemporary authors and here are a few whose literary style and stories have resonated with me: Edwidge Danticat, Brit Bennett, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Jacqueline Woodson, Zadie Smith, Tayari Jones, Yaa Gyasi, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes, Mike Gayle, J. Courtney Sullivan, Curtis Sittenfeld, Ann Patchett, Fredrik Backman, Suad Ali and Sofia Lundberg.
Although writing can be difficult, I love the challenge of searching for that perfect word or making a jumbled sentence sound more coherent. I am also a news junkie, but movies and smart TV series are a great way for me to offset information overload. Unfortunately, I usually doze off during a crucial scene–much to my husband’s chagrin! I am definitely a morning person and treasure the solitude of dawn and tasting that first cup of coffee (Gevalia, black, no sugar).
Stockholm is a great city to live in—small and family-friendly with just the right amount of edginess. The restaurant scene is eclectic, the cultural life vibrant; Swedes are very curious about new things. Traveling is a constant source of knowledge and inspiration, but I dislike packing and airports. My top countries to visit are Italy and France. I have a weakness for Italian red wine and pasta Bolognese. I am also a huge fan of French style and admire the richness of the language. Since my parents were born and raised in Haiti, my first words were in French. While I love fashion, my number one outfit is wearing comfy sweatpants and a fleece jacket (with sleeves, NEVER a vest!). Even better if I can stay home all day and write 😊.
I am immensely grateful for the chance to follow my writing dream. It has given me enormous fulfillment and probably equal amounts of pain dealing with writer’s block! But with each book, I learn more and more about language, showing not telling 😉, and crafting an engaging narrative. I have many more stories to tell and hope you will join me on this journey. Thank you!