Olsson has written some 15 books on poetry and the history of literature; together with his friend and ally Horace Engdahl he was a key introducer of the work of Jacques Derrida and other post-structuralist thinkers into Swedish literary research and criticism. His doctoral dissertation on Swedish poet and essayist Gunnar Ekelöf was published in 1983 and met with mostly favourable reviews. He was appointed professor of literature at Stockholm University in 2004 and his research interests include the development of modern literature.
In February 2008, Olson was elected a member of the Swedish Academy, by secret ballot to succeed poet and writer Lars Forssell who died in 2007, and he formally took his seat in the 18-member assembly on 20 December 2008.
From 13 April 2018 he served as the pro tempore permanent secretary of the Academy, following a controversy when Sara Danius was forced to resign. Anders Olsson then served as the permanent secretary of the Academy between 1 June 2018 and 1 June 2019. He is currently the chairman of the Academys Nobel Prize committee.
- Mälden mellan stenarna (1981)
- Ekelöfs nej (1983) (doctoral dissertation)
- Intertextualitet (1984)
- Dagar, aska (1984)
- De antända polerna (1986)
- Den okända texten : en essä om tolkningsteori från kyrkofäderna till Derrida (1987)
- Bellerofontes resa (1988)
- Solstämma (1991)
- Den Andra Födan (1992)
- Det vita (1993)
- Ekelunds hunger (1995)
- Att skriva dagen : Gunnar Björlings poetiska värld (1995)
- Gunnar Ekelöf (1997)
- Ett mått av lycka (1998)
- Läsningar av intet (2000)
- Skillnadens konst : sex kapitel om moderna fragment (2006)
- Lars Forssell : inträdestal i Svenska akademien (2008)
- Men så oändligt lätt att svara dig (2010)
- Ordens asyl : inledning till den moderna exillitteraturen (2011)
- Vad är en suck? : en essä om Erik Johan Stagnelius (2013)
- Languages of Exile – Migration and Multilingualism in Twentieth-Century Literature (2013)
- Tankar om läsning (2015)
- Anders Olsson : Ny ledamot i Svenska Akademien[permanent dead link], press release of 22 February 2008.
- "Stol nr 4 – Anders Olsson". Svenska Akademien (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- Anders Olsson ny ledamot i Svenska akademien[dead link], Dagens Nyheter, 22 February 2008.
- "Sara Danius ersättare: "Samtal med kungen ledde fram till detta"". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- Anders Olsson Svenska Akademien
- The Nobel Prize in Literature: How are The Nobel Prize laureates in literature decided Svenska Akademien
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