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From Sweden with LGBTQ+ Love
Super Inclusive Publisher and Media Company Tallbergs Förlag Comes to North America
Note: The text below is the same as the the full version of the 01/21/21 press release. A short edit is also available on the press release post page.
“If you’ve read one trans novel, you’ve read them all,” that’s what one potential publisher told Swedish author Marcus Tallberg when he was shopping “Being Alice.” Four years later, in addition to “Being Alice,” the Stockholm-based 31 year old entrepreneur has published nearly 40 books by 23 authors under his very own super-inclusive “rainbow media” imprint, Tallbergs Förlag.
Titles range from an epic dystopian sci-fi trilogy to numerous young adult novels, educational children’s books on gender identity and autism and even a Swedish translation of the Michelle Visage memoir, “Diva.” In 2021, Tallbergs Förlag will add ten new titles to the North American rollout of English language versions which began in late 2020.
On a mission to provide role models that give minority groups not only a mirror, but a voice, Tallbergs Förlag is about championing not just LGBTQ identities, but also people of various ethnicities, religions, classes, genders and autism spectrum disorders. “Without representation in media, advertising, literature, film, music, games and so on, it is difficult to form an identity, particularly for young people trying to figure out who they are,” says Tallberg.
“In retrospect, I know that it would have been far less painful for me to come to an understanding of my identity had I had natural role models in my everyday life, even if only in books.” he adds. And in a sense Tallberg became the role model he was seeking. His first two novels, “My Queer Teen Life,” (January 2021) and “Shattered Glass” (November 2020) are autobiographical exercises in self-discovery.
The former, written when Tallberg was just 16, deals with bullying, anxiety, and coming out, and was even used in high school literature classes across Sweden. The latter includes a fictionalized retelling of being raped at 13, the devastation wrought by his parents violent divorce at 16, and surviving the ensuing depression and alcoholism.
Another book set in the same universe is “Being Alice” (November 2020), the subtitle for which reads, “Rising from the ashes of Oliver, Alice takes flight, a glittering phoenix.” Here again, though the story may be fiction, the experiences and inspirational wisdom within are very real, this time based on interviews with ten trans and intergendered contributors.
While one may assume that only LGBTQ readers buy Talberg Förlag’s novels, in actuality the audience is much larger. “Many of my readers are moms,” says Tallberg. And though many of their titles are classified as “young adult,” a 2012 Publisher’s Weekly surveyshowed that 55% of YA readers are actually over 18.
“At the end of the day, I try to tell stories about people,” says Tallberg when explaining the broad appeal of his imprint. “What the characters look like, their sexuality or gender identity aren’t the most important things; it’s their thoughts and experiences that are interesting to readers.”
“We believe everyone needs to learn about each other, to open their eyes and reach out to unite against hatred and ignorance,” says Tallberg. To that end, in addition to books Tallbergs Förlag offers lectures on topics from minority stress, trans children, and autism, to the life of American author, Carson McCullers. They have also released a documentary on three families who have fully accepted their trans children titled “Save Our Lives,” and are currently accepting submissions of short stories about mental illness for a forthcoming anthology.
Though just coming to North America, Tallberg hopes to further expand the Tallbergs Förlag footprint here with the help of U.S. investors. “When I first established my publishing house and was seeking Swedish investors, no one took me seriously,” says Tallberg. “But when we started to become successful, I could see that more and more publishers had started to publish LGBTQ-books. Sadly, most would not commit to marketing them properly. We need more than token representation. We need commitment!” Interested parties can contact Tallberg at email@example.com.
The first three 2021 English language titles to be published by Tallbergs Förlag in North America are the autobiographical “My Queer Teen Life” (January 26, 2021) by Marcus Tallbergs and Emma Björck, “The Orphan” (February 2, 2021) the first book in the dystopian sci-fi “Kraften” trilogy by Marcus Tallbergs, and “Ty the Dinosaur and the Substitute Teacher” (February 9, 2021), an illustrated educational children’s book about autism by Marcus Tallberg and Jill C Faulkner with illustrations by Klaudia Drabikowska. Another autobiographical novel, “Shattered Glass,” and the trans coming out novel, “Being Alice,” both by Marcus Tallberg were released November 2020.
“We all want to be seen, not overlooked or looked down upon. I don’t want anyone to feel alone. When we learn about each other through stories, we understand what is like to walk in someone else’s shoes,” says Tallberg. “My mission is to share those stories.”
Tallbergs Förlag AB is a Stockholm-based rainbow multimedia company that champions minority identities and role models, from LGBTQ, ethnicity, religion, class, and gender to autism spectrum disorders. In addition to being a publisher, the house produces workshops, educational and cultural events, podcasts and documentary films. All Tallbergs Forlag products are available as digitally designed educational packages for schools, businesses and organizations wishing to increase their awareness and understanding of gender, identity and autism. Tallbergs Förlag was established in 2017. http://www.tallbergsforlag.se @tallbergsforlag
Marcus Talberg is an entrepreneur, author, publisher, public speaker and founder of Tallbergs Forlag. He was born and raised in the small town of Trollhättan, Sweden and now lives in Stockholm with his dog Max. @marcustallbergofficial
Current / Forthcoming Tallbergs Förlag Titles
My Queer Teen Life
by Marcus Tallberg and Emma Björck January 26, 2021
Why do I have to be gay? F**king hell.
It’s 2005 in Sweden’s most boring town. Mattias is fifteen, a bit of a slob, a loner and gay. Though he’s never told anyone he likes guys, the rumors are flying and he’s sick of feeling like the school fag. A queer. Home life isn’t much help. Mom is a bitch. Dad is sad. Sister is the favorite. After he comes out to his super religious best friend and prettiest girl in school, Tove, everything changes.
For Mattias, life goes rainbows when a handsome stranger opens the door to a glamorous apartment and an eye-opening world of cool friends and thrilling new experiences. First kiss. First love. First Pride. His previously boring small town existence becomes exciting, electric and full of possibilities.
Yet while it gets better for Mattias, life takes a turn for the worse in the seemingly perfect world of his friend Tove. After a naive act of kindness violently backfires, she questions her faith. Deeply ashamed, Tove spirals into depression, panicking her friends and spurring Mattias to action.
English speaking readers will enjoy this look into Swedish teen life and fun customs like “fika,” “Chiquita pizza,” and “schlager music” which are handily explained in the included glossary.
by Elin Frykholm and Marcus Tallberg February 2, 2021
The first book in the dystopian sci-fi “Kraften” trilogy. (“Krafen” is Swedish for “Power”)
Our lives are not defined by how we accept darkness, but by how we fight against it
After the Disaster, the ice caps are gone. The planet is toxic. The world’s remaining superpowers have united as Ela, a paramilitary planet-nation governed by the authoritarian President Daegal.
On a mission to restore the world to its pre-Disaster glory he rules the people of Ela by fear, violence and propaganda. Frequent terrorist attacks are blamed on the hated and hunted Tabia, people born with superhuman powers, who appeared after the Disaster.
When the President’s military school Bionbyr drafts Freija for mandatory service, she does not resist. She dreams of saving her struggling orphanage home with the salary she’ll receive once she completes her training. Far from the rusting towers and rotting streets of her hometown, Bionbyr is deceptively luxurious, an enormous glistening white dome floating between shrunken, lifeless continents.
It is here that Freija and her orphan sister Embla, implanted with microchips, tracked, observed, and tested, discover how far the Authority will go to preserve the dark secrets of Ela. And how far they must go to preserve their own.
Ty the Dinosaur and the Substitute Teacher February 9, 2021
by Marcus Tallberg and Jill C Faulkner and illustrated by Klaudia Drabikowska
Ty the Dinosaur has autism. He doesn’t like change. Today when Ty arrives at school Ty gets angry because the usual teacher is sick, but a kind principle teaches him a neat trick.
by Marcus Tallberg November 2020
Rising from the ashes of Oliver, Alice takes flight, a glittering phoenix
They’ve called her Oliver since the day she was born. Alice hates that. She has never been or ever wanted to be Oliver. Alone, abused and suicidal, Alice yearns to break free “from the lie that has been my life.” That life changes forever the day she meets her fairy godmother, the wise and witty Vincent, a genderfluid drag star named Ursula Undress. Under Ursula’s wing, Alice embarks on a tumultuous, bittersweet and empowering journey to become herself. Told through letters to Alice’s beloved Aunt Esther, “Being Alice” may be fiction, but the experiences and inspirational wisdom within are very real, based on interviews with ten trans and intergendered contributors.
by Marcus Tallberg November 2020
We’re all a bit broken, but our friends make us whole
For Mikael and his friends Bella, Erik and Kasper, real life is as complicated for them as it is for the rest of us. Mikael flees his parent’s crashed marriage. Conservative Bella changes her mind. Erik discovers a horrifying secret about his own past. Everyone’s buddy Kasper is in love, but invisible to the one he loves. Together, these four friends form the family Mikael has been missing, his chosen family. Painful experiences, once shared, only bind us together. Just below the scars, friendship, love, laughter await. We’re all a bit broken, but our friends make us whole.
“Shattered Glass” is autobiographical, based on the life experiences of author Marcus Tallberg, from alcoholism, drug abuse, and rape…to love.