Arguably best known for being the long-time partner of the late Stieg Larsson, the famous Swedish novelist who wrote the Millennium series, Eva Gabrielsson has established herself as a notable author, architect, feminist, and prominent activist in the political arena.
Who is Eva Gabrielsson?
Born on November 17th, 1953, Eva Gabrielsson has lived an almost storied life that has included many different activities which have mostly been associated with her partner, Stieg Larsson, in a relationship that lasted from 1974 to his untimely death in 2004.
Her Life with Larsson
The relationship grew out of love and mutual interest in the politics of Sweden which continued for the entire time that they were together. With Larsson being one of the most noted experts on the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden, Eva joined him in helping to expose these extreme right-wing, anti-democratic organizations which carried with it the risks of danger to them both.
Therefore, Eva and Stieg never married because he feared that the anti-Nazi work he was doing would put her at risk of assassination just like him. There would be no paper trail to link them together in terms of their financial or legal status so she could remain clear of any retaliation from the extremists. The 30 years she spent with Stieg are chronicled in her book, “There are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me”, an autobiography that reveals much about their lives together.
In her autobiography, she described Stieg as many things, including an unsuccessful journalist and businessman, a feminist, and a fighter for social causes along with being a force against the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden. Larsson founded Expo, an anti-fascist publication in 1995 and began to create the Millennium series which became an international success. Three of his works of the planned 10-volume series were published and a fourth was planned with about 200 pages already written.
Unfortunately for Eva, when Stieg died unexpectedly in 2004 from a heart attack, she was in no position to take control of his estate because he didn’t leave a will behind. Instead, according to Swedish law, Larsson’s estate went to his father and brother, even though Stieg had been estranged from his father for quite some time. In fact, Stieg had spent a considerable amount of time during his childhood with his grandparents who essentially raised him for nine years.
Eva was left out in the cold essentially and to this day has felt like she was dispossessed because of the situation with the estate and how Stieg’s father and brother have managed it since his death.
Eva’s Fight for Larsson’s Legacy
With Stieg’s father and brother running the estate, Eva has been negotiating with them over control of his works. Since Eva has made some noted contributions to the works of Stieg Larsson, the legal rights have been in dispute since his death.
This has not prevented the media rights from being sold for the creation of three Swedish films from the Millennium series, which includes “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, all three starring Noomi Rapace, who has gone on to a successful career in American films. In addition, an English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was made starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.
Eva’s fight has been over the literary rights to all of Stieg’s work and she has refused an offer of $3.3 million from Stieg’s father and brother to settle the matter. She has claimed in interviews that she will not be bought, so the fight continues.
Her most famous work is arguably her memoir about her life with Stieg, but she has authored other works which have gained in prominence as well. She has stated that it was never her intention to write an account of her life with Stieg, but rather it was a coping process after losing her partner to help get through the grief. Eva had kept a diary of their time together and turned that into a book, the title of which comes from a time in which Larsson was on a trip to Africa in 1977 and believed that he would not make it back.
She has co-authored several books and literary projects which includes a government study in Sweden on creating sustainable housing, a monograph about co-habitation, and a new study with Per Olof Hallman, a noted Swedish urban planner.
In addition to her own works, she has translated the novel “The Man in the High Castle” by Philip K. Dick into the Swedish language. She has been a tireless advocate to end violence against women, and she continues her architectural practice that involves both office and housing construction. A part of her work in this field involves an initiative by the European Union to fashion architecture that is sustainable in the region of Dalecarlia.
One of the more interesting theories that has been bandied about by those who knew Stieg Larsson, most notably his friends Kurdo Baksi and Anders Hellberg, is that the Millennium series is something that was out of character for the author. His friends are convinced that Eva Gabrielsson had something to do with writing it and perhaps even co-authored the work.
Eva has been quoted several times on the subject, including one interview where a co-authorship was implied. However, she has clarified her statements since that time stating that it was Stieg Larsson who was responsible for the craftsmanship and writing of the series. Her contributions were more along the lines of suggesting some content which included some ideas that she had regarding the work.
In any event, Eva Gabrielsson remains a strong figure in Sweden and while closely associated with her late partner Stieg Larsson, she has managed to carve out her own identity.