Christel Wiinblad was born in 1980 in Svendborg, Denmark. In Danish, she has published four collections of poetry; 49 Forelskelser (2008), Min lillebror - en morgen i himlen, ihvertfald i det grønne (2008), Det ligner en sorg (2011) and Sommerlys (2013), and three novels; Prolog (2011), Ingen åbner (2012) and De elskende (2014). Her 2008 collection My Little Brother was published for the first time in English by Valley Press in February 2020, in a translation by Malene Engelund.
A Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation for Spring 2020.
Click here to read an introduction to the book by translator Malene Engelund, and a sample poem.
My Little Brother is a sequence of ten poems by Christel Wiinblad, which work both as a loving portrait and celebration of her younger sibling, and an unflinching, direct account of his battle with schizophrenia. The book's scope allows the author to recount and consider the events leading up to her brother's suicide attempt, from his birth and childhood up to the text message which gives the book its distinctive subtitle: "I’m hidden away near the college ... I don’t know if I’m dead and already in heaven, but I’m at least in green.” Never sensationalising this event, or her experience of it, this is a beautiful, brutal and valuable document, both of a single life and the wider human condition.
The original Danish edition of this book, Min lillebror (2008), came with a CD featuring an album by Mother Sparrow, an indie-flow band from Svendborg in Denmark, who counted Christel's brother Jannick among their members. The band have generously allowed us to offer an MP3 version of the album to readers of the Valley Press edition; you can click here (or right click and 'save link as', depending on your system) to download the album in a ZIP file.
From the author: 'The book and the music have always been intertwined – they belong to each other, they are different words for the same thing. The music is tender, fragile and raw and concerns itself with nature, love, suffering, spirit, and the recognition of spirit. The band was dissolved in 2009 with the death of Jannick Wiinblad, but their music lives on.'
Be part of our story. Join the Valley Press newsletter.