Ylva Spångberg was born in Södertälje, a town some thirty kilometres south of Stockholm, on the 28th of October, 1961. In 1973, when she was eleven years old, she joined Forodrim, the recently formed Stockholm Tolkien Society, and by 1977 she was editing their magazine, which brought her to the attention of Swedish SF writer and editor John-Henri Holmberg. Holmberg thought she wrote well, and asked if she was interested in translating. She was. ‘The first book was a veritable disaster,’ she says, ‘but I was only sixteen.’ Holmberg gave her more work, though, mostly on Science Fiction titles. She liked translating, and continued to pursue it as a career.
‘I had other contacts among publishing houses in Stockholm and found more work with them. In 1988, I hit it big: I was offered the translation of David Eddings, who became a big success in Sweden and sort of put Fantasy on the map as a genre here. That also meant I suddenly was seen as a ‘fantasy translator,’ and that has been what I've done mostly since then.’
The number of titles she has worked on since then is now approaching 150. Authors she has translated really do represent a who’s who of Science Fiction and Fantasy past and present, including Joe Abercrombie, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Leigh Brackett, Arthur C Clarke, Stephen Donaldson, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Brian Jacques, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, Andre Norton, Christopher Priest, Patrick Rothfuss, Joanna Russ, Clifford D Simak, Tad Williams, and Roger Zelazny, and of course David Eddings.
Besides all this, Ylva has always been active in Swedish fandom. In 1990 she won the Alvar Appeltoffts Minnespris, awarded for ‘Comprehensive and Meaningful Volunteer Work of Lasting Value in Swedish Science Fiction Fandom.’ In 1995 she was involved in the organisation of Östan om Sol (East of the Sun), a Swedish fantasy convention, and has been the chair of three other conventions since then - Imagicon, Imagicon II, and Rancon. She has also been on the editorial board of Swedish science fiction magazine Nova Science Fiction, Scandinavia's largest magazine for and about Science Fiction, which won the Best European SF Magazine award at Eurocon 2009 in Fiuggi in Italy, although it is currently in abeyance.
Ylva Spångberg is no stranger to Dublin, having been a regular visitor - and occasional resident - over many years. She also has a formidable English language vocabulary, unsurprisingly, and is a mean Scrabble player - for any definition of mean you wish to choose.
Bio by Pádraig Ó Méalóid, aided by Ylva Spångberg