(November 20, 1858 – March 16, 1940) was a Swedish author, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909.
Known internationally for Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige (a story for children, in translation The wonderful adventures of Nils Holgersson), and awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909 (the first woman and the first Swedish person ever so honored) "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings."
Other important works of hers include Gösta Berling's Saga, Jerusalem, The Ring of the Löwenskölds, and The Treasure. Most of her stories were set in Värmland, though a trip through continental Europe inspired such works as her The Miracles of the Antichrist, set in Sicily. Jerusalem was adapted in 1996 into an internationally acclaimed motion picture.
In 1914 Selma Lagerlöf, as the first woman, herself became a member of the body that awards the Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Academy. At the start of World War II, she sent her Nobel Prize medal to the government of Finland to help them raise money to fight the Soviet Union. The Finnish government was so touched that it raised the necessary money by other means and returned her medal to her.
She lived in Sunne, where two hotels are named after her. Her home, Mårbacka, is now preserved as a museum. She wrote a copious amount of letters to her two partners, Sophie Elkan and Valborg Olander.
Her portrait has been featured on the Swedish 20 krona bill since 1991.
Although her work has been mostly forgotten in English speaking countries, she is known as the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Liturature.