You will love his characters – and fear for their lives
YA fiction, written together with Sara B. Elfgren
Rights for adult fiction
Blood Cruise: Northern Fable, Sweden & Imagniarium, UK
The Home: [sic] film, Sweden
The Conference: SF Studios and Netflix
The Monster in the Night: Junibacken, Sweden
Rights for Monsters in Therapy
Rights for The Monster in the Night
The Faroe Islands
Rights for standalone children’s fiction
Rights for YA fiction
Rights for The Engelsfors Trilogy
The Czech Republic
The Faroe Islands
Film rights Engelsfors Trilogy
RMV Film, Sweden
Awards & Nominations
2020 – The End – The Storytel Awards
2020 – The End – IBBY Honour List
2012 – Fire – Book Jury Prize
2012 – Fire – Great Reader’s Prize
2011 – The Circle – Book Blogger’s Literary Prize
2011 – The Circle – Book Jury Prize
2011 – The Circle – Great Reader’s Prize
2012 – The Circle – Icelandic Book Seller’s Award
2009 – Half Lives – Book of the Year, QX
Mats Strandberg has always loved horror. He preferred the Grimm fairytales over the Disney versions, and when he was ten years old he discovered Stephen King. He readily left the children’s books to explore vampires, evil clowns and rabid dogs. He devoured these terrifying stories with much gusto (while breaking out in stress-related hives).
Mats Strandberg grew up in Fagersta, a small industrial town in Sweden. When he was 16, he moved by himself to Stockholm to become a journalist working with newspapers, magazines, television and early social media. He’s been awarded with the award Columnist of the Year. In 2005-2013, he wrote weekly columns in Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest newspaper.
The debutet as a novelist in 2006. Mats Strandberg’s commercial breakthrough came in 2011, when the YA novel The Circle hit stores. The book, written together with Sara B. Elfgren, was the first part of the Engelsfors Trilogy. The epic story of teenage witches in a small industrial town, chosen to save the world from the apocalypse, was an instant success both critically and commercially. Today it has been translated to over 25 languages, and in 2015 the film version premiered, produced by the father-son team of Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame) and Ludvig Andersson.
In 2015, it all came to a full circle, so to speak. Mats Strandberg returns to the genre that made him fall in love with books in the first place. He has called the horror novel Blood Cruise ”Stephen King at sea”. Just as with the Engelsfors Trilogy, he mixes social realism with the supernatural. This time the setting is a large cruise ship that travels between Sweden and Finland. In the middle of the cold Baltic Sea, in the middle of the night, there is nowhere to run. His second horror novel, The Home, secured his spot as the master of horror. The Home takes place in a nursing home for the elderly, and it is an eerie story with less gore. Mats has compared it to “a mix of The Exorcist and Cocoon”.
Mats Strandeberg’s first YA novel The End (2018) was on the list of best books of the year in Dagens Nyheter, Göteborgsposten and Sydsvenskan. His children’s books about Frank the Monster are not only bestsellers, they are also being adapted both to film and into a family musical at Junibacken in Stockholm.
In 2021, his novel The Conference was met with great critical acclaim and became a best seller. The book is a love letter to the slasher films that Mats grew up with in the 1980s and 90s, but with characters that are deep and loviongly portrayed. Instead of horny teenagers being slaughtered at a camp, we get to know a dysfunctional group of colleagues, who gp through the teambuilding from hell.
Regardless of genre, Mats Strandberg has been praised for his sharp eye for character and dialogue. His characters are created with a large portion of psychological insight. They are never purely ”good ” or ”evil”, but always relatable and believable. His novels are carefully plotted, the stories weaved with precision and confidence in the universe he has created.
Mats Strandberg is always closely involved in the adaptations of his books wheter it is film, tv, theater or other formats.
Bibliography adult fiction
2021 – The Conference (Konferensen), crime novel
2020 – Monsters in Therapy (Monster i terapi), with Jenny Jägerfeld, novel
2017 – The Home (Hemmet), horror novel
2015 – Blood Cruise (Färjan), horror novel
2009 – Half Lives (Halva liv), novel
Bibliography YA & children’s fiction
2023 – Night Violets (Pestblommor) gothic novel, 9-15/YA
2019 – The Totally True Story About the Centaur Who Wanted to Come Home for Christmas (Den helt sanna julsagan om kentauren som ville komma hem till jul), children horror calender book
2018 – The End (Slutet), YA pre apocalyptic novel
2017 – The Monster and the Humans (Monstret och människorna), children horror novel
2016 – The Monster at the Circus (Monstret på cirukusen), children horror novel
2016 – The Monster in the Night (Monstret i natten), children horror novel
The Engelsfors Trilogy, written together with Sara B. Elfgren
2013 – The Key (Nyckeln), YA fantasy novel
2013 – Tales From Engelsfors (Berättelser från Engelsfors), Sara B. Elfgren, Mats Strandberg and illustrators Kim W. Andersson, Karl Johnsson, Lina Neidestam, graphic novel
2012 – Fire (Eld), YA fantasy novel
2011 – The Circle (Cirkeln), YA fantasy novel
”The author is often compared with Stephen King in Scandinavia, but I actually think he is better with characters and plotting.”
“If you like Stephen King (and I do) then you will enjoy this book. Basically people in crisis but with nowhere to go. Very believable characters that come across as regular folk like us (most anyway) and that’s its charm. It’s scary, it’s blood and it’s hard to put down! Enjoy!”
“This is one heck of a big read.”
“This summer I have read Mats Strandberg’s Bood Cruise as a daily serial in Svenska Dagbladet. It has been the best serial I have read, more exciting and well written than those by Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson and Liza Marklund.”
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