Photo: Daniel Hjorth


What Kingdom
Published 2021, 170 pages


Gads Forlag

Foreign rights:

Copenhagen Literary Agency,


What Kingdom

What Kingdom unfolds over a hot summer and follows the lives of a group of teenagers in a long-term care facility. They live on the fifth floor. Here they must learn not only to navigate the mazelike psychiatric system, but also how to lead a ‘normal’ life—from cooking to sleeping to not killing themselves.

Through the eyes of a nameless narrator, What Kingdom offers an intimate study of a close but unstable community as it responds to the logic of the institution and the diction of the diagnosis. Treatment is not only a question of getting better but of regulations and medication, of economics and benefits, of chronic illnesses and early retirement.

As a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of life within the psychiatric system and a searing critique of institutionalization, Gråbøl’s debut brings to mind the writing of Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Plath, Linda Boström Knausgård and Tove Ditlevsen.

About the author 

What Kingdom is Fine Gråbøl’s (b. 1992) first novel and debut as a solo author. She has previously published a collection of poetry, Knoglemarv lavendel (2018), together with the writing collective BMS. What Kingdom is partly inspired by the Gråbøl’s own experiences with psychiatric care but shouldn’t be considered autofiction.