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Swede Hollow Book Launch with Ola Larsmo

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 - 7:00pm

Ola Larsmo’s award-winning novel, published in Sweden in 2016, was a bestseller and the basis for a successful play. This is its first English translation.

Please join us for the Minneapolis launch of Ola Larsmo’s Swede Hollow, translated by Tiina Nunnally and published by the University of Minnesota Press. There will be a talk and reading followed by a Q&A, reception and book signing.

Also included in the program is a performance of an aria from Ann Millikan’s opera, SWEDE HOLLOW – a poignant story that weaves back and forth through time following the lives of Swedish, Italian and Mexican immigrants who made their home in Swede Hollow during its 100-year history – featuring Lukas Jaeger, baritone, and Mill City String Quartet, in a new arrangement from SCENE 3: “Swedes, 1850s.”

About Swede Hollow

When the Klar family leaves Sweden for New York in 1897, they take with them a terrible secret and a longing for a new life. Their dream of starting over is nearly crushed at the outset, until an unexpected gift allows them to make one more desperate move, this time to the Midwest and a place called Swede Hollow.

Their new home is a cluster of shacks on the edge of St. Paul, Minnesota, inhabited by other immigrants. The men hire on as day laborers or work at the nearby brewery, and the women clean houses or work in factories. Outsiders malign Swede Hollow as unsanitary and dangerous, but the Klar family and their neighbors persevere in this neglected corner of the city—and consider it home.

Extensively researched and beautifully written, Ola Larsmo’s award-winning novel vividly portrays a family and a community determined to survive. There are hardships and indignities, but also acts of kindness and moments of joy. This haunting story of a real place echoes the larger challenges of immigration in the twentieth century and today.

Fans of Swede Hollow may also be interested in the Swede Hollow Ghost Sonata, taking place on Saturdays and Sundays in September in Swede Hollow Park. This performance experience is presented by Sod House Theater and Black Label Movement and explores the continuing histories of immigration to St. Paul’s Swede Hollow neighborhood. Visit for free tickets and more information.

Ola Larsmo is a critic and columnist for Sweden’s largest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, and the author of nine novels and several collections of short stories and essays. He received the Bjørnson Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression and, after the publication of Swede Hollow, two prestigious Swedish awards: the Lagercrantz Critics’ Prize from Dagens Nyheter and Natur & Kultur’s cultural prize. He was president of PEN Sweden from 2009 to 2017 and editor of Bonniers Literary Magazine from 1984 to 1990.

Tiina Nunnally is the award-winning translator of Sigrid Undset’s novels Kristin Lavransdatter, Jenny, and Marta Oulie. Her many translations from the Scandinavian languages include Vidar Sundstøl’s Minnesota Trilogy (Minnesota, 2013–15) and The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe (Minnesota, 2019).

$15 ASI members / $20 non-members


For information, call 612-871-4907

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