Sofie & Cecilia

Sofie & Cecilia

by Katherine Ashenburg
  • historical
  • lgbtq
  • literary
  • women-s

In Sofie & Cecilia, beloved non-fiction author and journalist Katherine Ashenburg draws upon her formidable skill and maturity as a writer to craft an extraordinary and splendid debut novel.

This is the story of a lifelong female friendship, set in the fascinating art world of Sweden between 1900 and 1940, just as modern art and the beginnings of the Scandinavian mid-century modern design movement were inspiring a creative revolution across northern Europe. Loosely based on the lives of celebrated artists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn ("Nils Olsson" and "Lars Vogt" in the novel), Ashenburg transports us behind both the public and domestic scenes — and canvasses — of these larger-than-life men to reveal the lesser-known but equally astounding and rich stories of the women who married them: restlessly creative artist-in-her-own-right Sofie Olsson, and fiercely private and intelligent curator Cecilia Vogt. Here is a gorgeous gem of a book: surprising, unique, layered with insight into the nuances of female friendship as it stretches, changes, and deepens in unexpected ways over a lifetime.

Woven effortlessly through this tapestry, like a beautiful motif, is absorbing detail about Scandinavian painting, design, and textile work; European history and sexual politics; the country life, city salons, vibrant art, and folklore of Sweden; and the secrets and challenges of bright, talented women juggling marriage, career, individual aspirations, and family life inside an artist's household in the early twentieth century. Sofie & Cecilia is a voyage into the heart of feminine wisdom.


Katherine Ashenburg, author

Katherine Ashenburg is the author of three books and many magazine and newspaper articles. She wrote for The New York Times travel section and on design for Toronto Life, among others. Her books include The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die (short - listed for two important prizes) and The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History (one of The Independent ’s Ten Best History Books of the year and one of the New York Public Library’s 25 Best Books of the year), which was published in 12 countries and six languages including UK (Profile), Italy (Odoya), Brazil (Larousse), Poland (Bellona), Korea (Wisdom Publishing Co.), and Japan (Hougetsu Kamada). In former incarnations, she was a producer at CBC Radio and The Globe and Mail’s Arts and Books editor. She won a Gold Medal at the National Magazine awards in 2012 for her article on old age.

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Transatlantic Agency



rights available: World, excl. Canada

Additional Information

number of pages: 416

publication date: 03/27/2018

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript