May 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Norway’s National Day 17. mai

Better late than never! We’re half way through the month of May, but many virtual events remain to be experienced. And for Norwegians and fans of Norway, the most important date of all is still ahead of us, Norway’s Constitution Day on May 17.

Norway’s national day is known as 17. mai or syttende mai in Norway. Once again, Norway’s national TV station NRK will broadcast live throughout the day starting on Monday, May 16, at 10:50 p.m. PT and a recording will be available to view later. In addition to glimpses of celebrations from all over the country, viewers will enjoy delicious food, special guests, lively entertainment, and of course beautiful traditional costumes. For details on the program, visit Slik blir 17. mai på NRK (in Norwegian).

For LA-area readers, Norway’s national day will be celebrated in traditional style at the Norwegian Church in San Pedro on Tuesday, May 17, starting at 5 o’clock. For more details, visit the event page for Sjømannskirken’s 17.mai feiring.

Another in-person Nordic event is happening soon in the LA-area. I hope you’ve marked your calendars for the 45th Scandinavian Festival which returns to Thousand Oaks on June 4 and June 5 at California Lutheran University. It is the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. I’ll be returning as a volunteer!

And finally, are you interested in learning or improving your Nordic language skills? This is the time when some institutions are sharing new class schedules.

Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, Iowa, recently opened registration for summer classes, both in-person and virtual. Offerings include a new slate of Norwegian classes starting in June (levels 1 through 4). For a peek at all classes to be offered this summer, visit Vesterheim Folk Art School Class Schedule: July -September 2022. Don’t delay in signing up because online classes fill quickly.

American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis has a series of virtual Swedish and Finnish language classes beginning in May. For a full overview of offerings, visit ASI: Lifelong learning in Swedish and Finnish.

What’s on your calendar this month as the summer approaches?


Syttende Mai with Vesterheim! (Tuesday, May 17, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Vesterheim invites everyone to celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day with them. In addition to their on-campus festivities, they will be offering an online presentation from Norway. At noon (CT), Norwegian storyteller Anne Elisebeth Skogen will join from Ryfylkemuseet at Sand, Norway, to tell the story My Last 17 Mai in My Hometown, Now as a Red Russ. Last year, Anne Elisebeth joined this event to share her memories of her first Syttende Mai parade (view recording), and this year she will continue the story with her memories of russefeiring, a long-standing tradition for high school graduates in Norway. To watch from home, registration for the Zoom link is required and available here.

Family Friluftsliv Adventure with Vesterheim in June (Register by May 18)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? June’s Family Friluftsliv Adventure is for you! You’ll get to explore the Norwegian tradition of friluftsliv as a family, and you can do it when it works for your family’s schedule. Through hands-on activities and short videos, you and your family will explore the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, spend time outdoors together, and learn and practice Norwegian words and phrases. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these activities along with a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning and a yummy treat.

Swedish Museum Series: Jamtli (Wednesday, May 18, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT)

ASI’s Swedish Museum Series returns with a virtual tour of one of Sweden’s oldest and largest open air and country museums, Jamtli in Östersund. This museum features some of Sweden’s most spectacular pieces including The Överhogdal tapestries, which are over 1,000 years old. After the program, registrants will receive a recording of the tour.

Nordic Innovation Summit 2022 (Thursday, May 19, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PT)

The Nordic Innovation Summit 2022 will be held in a hybrid format with a free live-streaming option from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p. PDT. Protecting the future of democracy is a principal theme in this year’s Nordic Innovation Summit. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the threat of cyberattack and the need for enhanced security and energy independence looms large in the minds of government leaders and corporations. This year’s Summit deals with the most important issues confronting the world today. Visit the website for information on keynote speeches, presentations, and panels.

Demo: Swedish Strawberry Rulltårta with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, May 19, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST)

Learn to make this festive rulltårta cake filled with roasted strawberries and vanilla pastry cream just in time for your Midsommar celebration! Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen will share some of her favorite cake baking tips to help students be successful in making a beautiful rolled cake at home. This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date. The recipe packet will be available for download one week in advance and a recording will be shared after class, available for re-viewing for one month.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, May 22, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Anxious People (Thursday, May 26, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, hosts its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. They invite you to expand your Nordic reading repertoire and discuss a variety of written works with them the last Thursday of each month. For May’s meeting, they will be reading the dark comedy Anxious People by reputed Swedish author Fredrik Backman, translated by Neil Smith.

Swedish American Museum Book Club: Swedish Again: a memoir of motherhood and identity (Saturday, May 28, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss Swedish Again: a memoir of motherhood and identity by Anna Dahland.

Writing as a Vehicle for Change: Swedish Women Authors (May 31 –  June 21)

With discussions and reading material in English, this program explores Swedish and Finnish-Swedish women writers—from Victoria Benedictsson to Lena Andersson. Learn about their historical and social contexts, reflecting on love, emancipation, social rights, class, and gender. Class will begin with an introduction and meets Tuesdays, May 31 – June 21, 5:30–7:00 p.m. CT.

Celebrate Midsummer with Aquavit and Herring (Saturday, June 11, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. CT)

No Midsummer gathering is complete without aquavit and herring. Join Kristi Bissel of True North Kitchen and learn how to make an aquavit cocktail to pair with three unique flavors of pickled herring, all starting with jarred pickled herring from the store. Students will be sent the ingredients list and class preparation approximately one week before the class in order to prepare. Enrollment deadline is June 3.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events for June.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (March 2022)

I continue to join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. This month I really traveled the world through books and landed on three continents. I visited South Africa, Romania, Norway, and Antarctica.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update: I’m on track with my reading for this year’s Scandinavian Reading Challenge. March’s focus was the 1930s and I read Chasing the Light by Australian writer Jesse Blackadder which featured Norway’s whaling industry at the time. It certainly was a great book for the challenge, but as I explain below, it wasn’t a favorite reading experience otherwise. For April’s 1940s, I chose to return to Roy Jacobsen’s Barrøy series with White Shadow which takes places in the same area of Northern Norway but in a much narrower time frame than the first one, just the last year of the German occupation of Norway.

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


The Promise by Damon Galgut
(Narrated by Peter Noble)

This was a book club pick that I knew nothing about going in. Interestingly, what ended up intriguing me the most by the end was what bothered me the most at the beginning, the narrative voice and the narrator of the audiobook. At the beginning, I found the tone very annoying — strong, pronounced, and all-encompassing. However, once I realized that was the intended effect (and that the prose was written in free form without quotation marks with the dialogue and narrative merging, something I don’t like), I continued the audiobook with a new perspective and an open mind and found it very enjoyable. The story is about a white South African family and a promise that takes decades to fulfill. The dying mother wanted their long-time servant to receive the house on the property in which she lived. It begins during Apartheid and jumps by decades to the present. The narrator of the story has an attitude and opinions which they don’t hold back, making this a very unique reading/listening experience.


Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life by Anne Bogel (Narrated by Anne Bogel)

I’ve had this book by a favorite blogger/podcast host on my bookshelf for a couple of years but just never got around to reading it. When I discovered the audiobook was available at hoopla, I downloaded it immediately and decided to make it my next read instead of listening to a podcast. In a way, it would be like a podcast since the author, also host of a favorite podcast, reads it herself. It was a short and sweet listen which provided much useful food for thought regarding decision making. Some of the material was a good reminder of familiar concepts; other sections were new ways of thinking about issues.

 


I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
(Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini)

What an eye-opening and heart-breaking look into life in communist Romania under the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu in the 1980s. The story takes place over a span of only a few months in 1989 leading up to the revolution in December. All 17-year-old Cristian really wants to do is write and spend time with the girl he has a crush on, but the regime has other plans for him. He is blackmailed by the secret police into becoming an informer. It was shocking to see how deep and wide the “citizen spy network” worked and its effect on families. I’ve been a great fan of Ruta Sepetys’ previous historical fiction novels, and this new release didn’t disappoint.


Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica by Jesse Blackadder

I so wanted to love this book. It was a book about three women competing to become the first women to set foot on Antarctica. Equally intriguing was that it was during a period of Norwegian history unfamiliar to me, Norway’s whaling industry in the 1930s. The historical aspect met my expectations, though did not exceed because it was very fictionalized. The characters were based on real people, but the voyage depicted in the book was actually an amalgamation of various voyages to Antarctica by the women involved. The afterword by the author was important in sorting out what was true and what was not. What turned me off the most, however, was the female camaraderie, or actually lack thereof. On this very long, tough journey in a very male-dominated environment, I was hoping/expecting them to be more well-intentioned towards one another and supportive of each other, but that was not the case, and that was frustrating to me.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

April 2022: Virtual Nordic Events

Virtual events focused on Nordic cooking, books and authors, art, and film continue to be popular despite the return to in-person programming at institutions. Which virtual events or experiences happening this month look interesting to you?

Speaking of in-person events, Los Angeles area readers, the 45th Scandinavian Festival needs volunteers! The festival returns to Thousand Oaks on June 4-5, 2022, at California Lutheran University. It is the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sámi people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, please reach out to ScanFestVolunteers@gmail.com. They also offer sponsorship opportunities. Please visit Scandinavian Festival: Sponsors for more information, including a link to a sponsorship brochure.


Book Talk: Haymaker in Heaven by Edvard Hoem (Saturday, April 2, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT, Free)

Celebrate the launch of Haymaker in Heaven by Edvard Hoem, translated from the Norwegian by Tara Chace, with the author and Norway House in Minneapolis, MN. From one of Norway’s leading writers, translated into English for the very first time, comes a transatlantic novel of dreams, sacrifice, and transformation set at the turn of the twentieth century. Enjoy a discussion with the author, joining virtually from Norway, with an opportunity to ask questions.

Virtual Premier of In Conversation: The Photography of Edvard Munch (Saturday, April 2, 1:00 p.m. ET)

In coordination with their ongoing exhibition The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography, Scandinavia House presents a virtual program celebrating the release of the illustrated book The Experimental Self: The Photography of Edvard Munch. In the program, renowned Munch scholar Patricia G. Berman will examine a selection of photographs featured in the exhibition. Next, MaryClaire Pappas will expand on her essay in the catalogue, examining a series of self-portraits (or “Selfies”) taken by Munch, also featured in the exhibition. Following these two presentations, Dr. Berman and Pappas will join ASF President Edward Gallagher as moderator in a discussion about the relevance of Munch’s photos today. The program will air as a Virtual Premiere on Saturday, April 2, via YouTube and will remain available to view throughout the weekend. It will later be available to stream on the Exhibition page.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—Trolls: A Retrospective; Episode 3: “Trolls out of Chaos” (Friday, April 8, 7:30 p.m. PT)

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA, presents a live virtual presentation about trolls by Britte Rasmussen Marsh, a writer and independent researcher based in Portland, Oregon. Beginning in the Modern Era, troll narratives sprung like dandelions from the scorched earth of World Wars I and II–as flowers or as weeds? In Episode 3 of Trolls: A Retrospective, investigate the ever-shifting influences of 20th century Europe: good, evil, neutrality, fantasy and fascism. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link.

Virtual Cinema: Helene (April 8-17)

Scandinavia House in New York, NY, presents virtual screenings of the new film Helene, directed by Antti J. Jokinen, based on true events in the life of Finland’s most acclaimed painter Helene Schjerfbeck.

Fastlavnsboller – Easter Buns with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, April 9)

On Shrove Tuesday and throughout the Lenten season in the Scandinavian countries, people indulge in fastlavnsboller (Norwegian) or semlor (Swedish), buttery cardamom buns filled with a rich almond filling and topped with a flourish of whipped cream. Join Vesterheim and Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen and learn how to make these buttery, almond-filled sweet buns at home! Class consists of two sessions on Saturday, April 9, 1:00-2:00 p.m. and 3:00-4:30 p.m. CT. Enrollment deadline: April 1.

Ejnar Nielsen and the Psychographic Image (Saturday, April 9, 11:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Join National Nordic Museum and Dr. Thor Mednick (Associate Professor of Art History, University of Toledo) as he considers the paintings of Ejnar Nielsen (Danish, 1872-1956). He will argue that in Nielsen’s work, the quality and character of human consciousness is primarily determined by the mind. Dr. Mednick is an historian of nineteenth-century European art specializing in Denmark and Scandinavia.

Book Talk: The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting (Tuesday, April 12, 11:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual book talk with bestselling Norwegian author Lars Mytting on The Sixteen Trees of the Somme, his engrossing new literary novel about a family mystery, revenge and forgiveness, out April 5 from The Overlook Press. Winner of the Norwegian Booksellers’ Prize and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Prize, The Sixteen Trees of the Somme, spanning a century and masterfully navigating themes of revenge and forgiveness, love and loneliness, displays the rich talents of Lars Mytting in a story that is utterly compelling and unforgettable.

Scandinavia House Nordic Book Club: To Cook a Bear (Tuesday, April 12, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club to read and discuss literature in translation from some of the best Nordic literary voices. This month, they will be discussing To Cook a Bear by Swedish author Mikael Niemi, a tale set in the far north of Sweden in 1852.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center Nordic Book Club: The Copenhagen Trilogy (Tuesday, April 12, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss The Copenhagen Trilogy, the acclaimed trilogy from Danish author Tove Ditlevsen, a pioneer in the field of genre-bending confessional writing.

National Danish Book Club: The Man in the Lighthouse (Tuesdays, April 12 & April 19, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with this nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author is discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is The Man in the Lighthouse by Erik Valeur in translation by Mark Mussari. The Literary Event will take place on Tuesday, April 12, while the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, April 19.

Demo: Spring Meringue Cake with Patrice Johnson (Wednesday, April 13, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT)

Seeking inspiration for a fun, spring-y dessert just in time for Easter and beyond? Join Patrice Johnson to find out more about Scandinavian style meringue cakes. Patrice will calm your fears by sharing all her tricks for working with egg whites, and talk through some of her favorite fillings for these festive but deceptively simple desserts. This is a live virtual class taught over Zoom and is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Virtual Cinema: A Writer Named Tove (April 15-24)

Scandinavia House presents virtual screenings of the animated documentary, A Writer Named Tove (Tove i stykke), based on the life of acclaimed Danish author Tove Ditlevsen. The screening will include a virtual introduction by author and translator Michael Favala.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Wednesday, April 20, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat, discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Join in April to discuss Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Enrollment deadline: April 13, 2022.

The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club: Giants in the Earth by O. E. Rölvaag (Saturday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. CT, Free)

In this meeting, participants of The Nordic Heart Book Club will be discussing the first half of Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie by O. E. Rölvaag. O. E. Rölvaag (born 1876 in Helgeland, Norway; died 1931 in Minnesota) was a Norwegian-American novelist and educator noted for his realistic portrayals of Norwegian settlers on the Dakota prairies and of the clash between transplanted and native cultures in the United States. The second half of the book will be discussed Saturday, May 21.

Nordic Literature in Translation: Damascus, Atlantis (Saturday, April 23, 1:00 p.m. PT)

Join Scandinavia House for a Nordic Literature in Translation event with author Marie Silkeberg and translator Kelsi Vanada on Silkeberg’s 2021 book Damascus, Atlantis, which was recently longlisted for the 2022 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. With moderator David Rothenberg, the publisher of Terra Nova Press, they’ll discuss Silkeberg’s poetry collection and Vanada’s translation of her works, for which Vanada won ASF’s Nadia Christensen Translation Prize in 2018.

The 46th Annual Kalevala Event: Finnish Kantele: Remembering Wilho (Sunday, April 24, 3:00 p.m. PT, Free)

The National Nordic Museum together with the Finnish Choral Society invites you to the 46th Annual Kalevala Day Festival—Finnish Kantele: Remembering Wilho. The Kalevala Day tradition goes back to 1835, when the national epic of Finland, the Kalevala, was published for the first time by Elias Lönnrot. The Kalevala epic played an important part in developing Finland’s national identity and Finnish language, art, and music. This 45-minute YouTube program will feature the Finnish Choral Society of Seattle, the Evergreen Livakat Kantele players, and Arja Kastinen, kantele player and first Finnish folk musician to earn Doctor of Music at Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, April 24, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.

Nordiska’s Book Club: The Mercies (Thursday, April 28, 6:00 p.m. PT)

Nordiska, a boutique specializing in Nordic-inspired goods and gifts in Poulsbo, WA, hosts its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. In April, join them to discuss The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, a book set in Vardø, Norway, far above the Arctic Circle, which depicts the lives of two women during the witch trials in the 1600s. The book is based on true events.

Swedish American Museum Book Club: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (Saturday, April 30, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

Walpurgis Feast with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, April 30, 5:00-6:30 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and Patrice Johnson to celebrate the end of winter and beginning of spring on Walpurgis Eve, known in Sweden as Valborgsmässoafton. Learn about the traditions of this special night and prepare a traditional menu of Tunnbrödsrulle (hotdogs served in flatbreads with mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, and other fun condiments). Round out the menu with a cocktail, a mocktail, and a light spring dessert. Enrollment deadline: April 22, 2022.

Family Friluftsliv Adventure with Vesterheim (Register by May 18)

Looking for a fun way to explore Norwegian culture with your family on your own schedule? June’s Family Friluftsliv Adventure is for you! Through hands-on activities and short videos, you and your family will explore the Norwegian concept of friluftsliv, spend time outdoors together, and learn and practice Norwegian words and phrases. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these activities along with a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning and a yummy treat. Enrollment deadline: May 18, 2022.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events for May.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (February 2022) & Reading Challenges Update

Once again I’m joining Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. I always get reading ideas from there and hope to return the favor here.

2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update: I finished Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen for the 1900s/1910s prompt (but it actually goes into 1920s as well) and I completed The Assistant, the historical fiction thriller by Kjell Ola Dahl, for the 1920s (which takes place in 1938 as well). I’m now moving on to the 1930s with Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica by Jesse Blackadder for a slightly different Norwegian history reading experience. This one takes me away from Norway, but it keeps me in an arena where Norway still plays a role, whaling in the Antarctic.

For details on the reading challenge and insight into the past, current, and next decades, along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


The Yield: A Novel by Tara June Winch

This was not the easiest book to get into, but I’m glad I stuck with it because suddenly (at about 25%) it all began to fall into place and ended up being a very rewarding reading experience. I started by listening to it, but I had a hard time following the story with its three narratives. I switched to the ebook and that made a huge difference. I did not have any background knowledge for this book, not about Australia in general and definitely not Australian indigenous history in particular, which probably hindered my comprehension at the beginning also. I thought the structure of the book with the dictionary by the grandfather, the letter written by the missionary, and the narrative of the granddaughter returning to her homeland for her grandfather’s funeral worked very well together. I really enjoyed seeing how it all came together by the end and it opened my eyes to a whole new chapter in world history, in this case effects of the British colonization of Australia.


In Every Mirror She’s Black: A Novel by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström
(Narrated by Rosemarie Akwafo and Sara Powell)

I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, three very different Black women whose lives unexpectedly intersect via a very rich, white man in Stockholm, Sweden. One is a Nigerian-American top marketing executive in the United States, another is an American model-turned-flight-attendant flying trans-Atlantic flights, and the third is a Somali refugee in Sweden. I was drawn into their stories and struggles and eagerly followed their journeys. I did get frustrated with their actions at times, but I appreciated that they were honest with themselves. The ending was not what I had hoped nor expected for them, but I understand why the author did it (per “A Conversation with the Author” at the end, the setting of Sweden had a lot to do with it). These characters will stay with me for a long time, and I certainly walked away with much to think about. So many social issues were raised. I think this would make a great book club pick. I highly recommend the audiobook!


The Unseen (Ingrid Barrøy #1) by Roy Jacobsen
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw)

This is the first in a tetralogy about Ingrid who lives on the fictional island of Barrøy along the coast in Northern Norway. She is three when the book opens and it’s the beginning of the 20th century. She and her parents, aunt, and grandfather are the only inhabitants of this very remote island. The novel chronicles their life on the island, a life very tied to geography and weather. They survive off their crops, livestock, and fishing with occasional visits to the mainland. Mother, father, and Ingrid all have their dreams and it’s interesting to see how their lives play out as the outside world encroaches upon their own world. The old dialect in the dialogue is a little cumbersome, but there’s not too much of it. Looking forward to seeing how the future affects the inhabitants in the rest of the series.


The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl
(Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett)

This is a standalone historical fiction thriller by the noted Norwegian crime fiction author of the Oslo Detective series. This book introduced me to a time period of Norwegian history I’m very unfamiliar with, the interwar period. The storyline jumps between the 1920s, during the Prohibition era, and 1938, just before World War II breaks out, and follows two characters who at first are on opposite sides of the law as an alcohol smuggler and police officer and then later work together as private investigator and assistant. Their case that sets off the series of events is simple, but the circumstances become complex mixing both past personal history and the then-current situation of secret Nazi officials on Norwegian soil. It was an enjoyable way to learn about a new-to-me historical time period, and especially fun for me was that it took place all over Oslo and very specific place names were mentioned, many of which were very familiar to me. As a thriller, though, it didn’t quite hit the spot for me.


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

March 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & New Online Language Classes

In addition to a variety of virtual Nordic events, this month welcomes the start of new online language classes at certain institutions as well.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language and Culture Program has opened registration for the spring semester and offers online classes featuring language and literature starting at the end of March and continuing through the beginning of June.

The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center in San Francisco also offers online Norwegian language classes as well as Danish, Swedish, and Finnish classes starting at the beginning of March. In addition to classes, they offer a virtual monthly Language Café to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, or Swedish.

For Los Angeles area readers, the 45th Scandinavian Festival returns to Thousand Oaks on June 4-5, 2022, at California Lutheran University. It is the largest Nordic-themed event in Southern California celebrating the cultures and traditions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Sami people of the Arctic regions of Scandinavia. If you are interested in volunteering at the 2022 Scandinavian Festival, please contact Karen Ashim at ScanFestVolunteers@gmail.com.

What looks intriguing to you this month?


Nordic Lights Film Festival (February 25 – March 5)

The Nordic Lights Film Festival is devoted to celebrating Nordic cinema—this year, once again, virtually. All films are available to watch during the run of the festival. You may choose your own viewing schedule but once you start a film, you will have 72 hours to finish it. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies and will only be viewable in the state of Washington.

Celebrate Laskiainen with Scandinavia House (March 1 – 6)

Join Finnish singer Ida Metsberg as she shows you how to make your very own laskiaispulla, while sharing her own childhood memories of Laskiainen/Shrovetide! This event will take place as a virtual event premiering on March 1 via YouTube and Facebook. It will remain available to stream through Sunday, March 6. Laskiainen (Shrovetide) is often described as a “mid-winter sliding festival”. Associated with Shrove Tuesday, it is a celebration of the beginning of Lent that takes place before Easter, but includes both pagan and ecclesiastic traditions.

Nordic Literature in Translation: The Land of Short Sentences (Saturday, March 5, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House for a Nordic Literature in Translation event with this year’s American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prizewinner Hunter Simpson and the author of the work in translation, Stine Pilgaard, moderated by Shimanto Reza. Now in its 43rd year, ASF’s Annual Translation Competition awards prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a 20th- or 21st-century Nordic author. In today’s event, Pilgaard and Simpson will discuss the writing and translation of the book.

Scandinavia House Nordic Book Club: Adorable (Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This month, Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club will be discussing Adorable by Ida Marie Hede, out in translation by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg, which was recently discussed by the author in the virtual panel “The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen,” now streaming here.

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center Nordic Book Club: Hotel Silence (Tuesday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss Hotel Silence by Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon.

National Danish Book Club: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal  (Tuesday, March 8, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is Mirror, Shoulder, Signal (Spejl, skulder, blink) by Dorthe Nors, translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra. The Literary Event, an interview with Dorthe Nors, will take place on Tuesday, March 8, while the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, March 15.

Panel: Jon Fosse’s SEPTOLOGY (Wednesday, March 9, 4:00 p.m. PT)

Community Bookstore (Brooklyn, New York), Brazos Bookstore (Houston, Texas), and Third Place Books (Seattle, Washington) invite you to an evening celebrating the release of A NEW NAME: SEPTOLOGY VI-VII by Jon Fosse, one of Norway’s most celebrated authors and playwrights. This event, co-sponsored by the Norwegian Consulate General in New York, will take place on Zoom Webinar. Click here for more information and to register.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series—1000 Year History of Iceland in One Hour: From Viking Settlement to Recent Times (Friday, March 11, 7:30 p.m. PT)

A fascinating thousand-year history of Iceland, land of fire, ice, Vikings, Icelandic horses, puffins and much more, is ably described by Dr. Elisabeth Ward. Participation is free, but you must register to receive the link. The monthly series of Nordic Spirit Classics is a virtual program of selected presentations from 21 years of Nordic Spirit Symposia hosted by The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Introduction to Finnish (Sunday, March 13, 12:45-2:45 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Finnish language, but not yet ready to commit to a multi-date class? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited about a new language? This two-hour introductory workshop is the perfect way to get a feel for Finnish — pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Introduction to Swedish (Sunday, March 13, 1:00-3:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about learning Swedish, but not ready yet to commit to a multi-date class? In this two-hour introductory workshop, students will get a feel for the Swedish language, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic conversation.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Wendy Swallow’s Searching For Nora: After The Doll’s House (Wednesday, March 16, 7:00-8:30 p.m. CT)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat, discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Following February’s discussion of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, join in March to explore Wendy Swallow’s Searching for Nora: After the Doll’s House. Author Wendy Swallow will join the event, and following the small group discussions in breakout rooms, there will be a Q&A with the author. Enrollment deadline: March 9, 2022.

Workshop: Scandinavian Fish Pie with Patrice Johnson (Friday, March 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

If you’ve never tried a savory Scandinavian fish pie, this winter is the perfect time to do so! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook this one dish meal – cod or haddock in a creamy filling topped with mashed potatoes. While our main dishes cook, we’ll prep a salad and simple dessert. This class is designed as a cook along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling classic Scandinavian comfort food at home. This program is sold out, but you can ask to be added to a waitlist.

Hearty Nordic Meal with North Wild Kitchen (Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim and celebrated food writer and author Nevada Berg from North Wild Kitchen in making a hearty meal highlighting the traditional flavors of Norway. In this class, you’ll be making the Reindeer Stew (beef or other game meat can be substituted for the reindeer) with Samisk Bread “reinsdyrgryte med Samisk brød”, and the Light and Fluffy Cheesecake “ostekake” from her cookbook. The class is currently full, but you can be added to the waitlist.

The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club: Unto a Good Land by Vilhelm Moberg (Saturday, March 19, 10:30 a.m. CT, Free)

In this meeting, participants of The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club will be discussing the second half of book 2 in The Emigrant Novels series by Vilhelm Moberg, Unto a Good Land, as well as reviewing the whole book. Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of The Emigrant Novels.

Virtual Book Talk: Swedish-American Borderlands (Saturday, March 19, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Swedish–American Borderlands studies connections and contacts between Sweden and the United States from the seventeenth century to today, exploring how movements of people have informed the circulation of knowledge and ideas between the two countries to produce new understandings of what we perceive as Swedish, American, and Swedish American.  The volume investigates multiple transcultural exchanges between Sweden and the United States. Rather than concentrating on one-way processes or specific national contexts, Swedish–American Borderlands adopts the concept of borderlands to examine contacts, crossings, and convergences between the nations, featuring specific case studies of topics like jazz, architecture, design, genealogy, and more. In this virtual book talk, editors Dag Blanck and Adam Hjorthén present the volume’s contribution to the history of Swedish-American relations.

Nordic Language Café (Sunday, March 20, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT)

Join The Scandinavian School & Cultural Center virtually on March 20 to practice your Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish, the choice is yours! This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join, but they are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join them.

Extreme North: Virtual Programming with Bernd Brunner and Eric Jaronski (Thursday, March 24, 1:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Scandinavia House and Deutsches Haus at NYU present a virtual program with acclaimed author Bernd Brunner and renowned Germanist, writer, and mastermind of @neinquarterly, Eric Jaronski. In today’s program, hear a reading by Brunner from his latest book, Extreme North (W. W. Norton, February 2022), translated by Jefferson Chase – an entertaining and informative voyage through cultural fantasies of the North, from sea monsters and a mountain-sized magnet to racist mythmaking – followed by a conversation with Jarosinski.

Swedish American Museum Book Club: Pakkis by Khalid Hussain (Saturday, March 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss Pakkis by Khalid Hussain, translated from the Norwegian by Claudia Berguson and Ingeborg Kongslien. Khalid Hussain is a Norwegian-Pakistani writer and film producer. Hussain was born in 1969 in Pakistan and moved to Norway without his parents in 1975. He came to attention after writing the book Pakkis in 1986 when he was 16 years old. Drawing upon his own life experiences, Hussain voiced in Pakkis the unique challenges of many young immigrants in Norway.

Nordiska’s Book Club: The Real Valkyrie (Thursday, March 31, 6:00 p.m. PT)

To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8) and National Women’s History Month in March, Nordiska has decided to highlight women’s lesser-known roles in Nordic history. Women’s histories have historically been marginalized, but due to the work of researchers and writers like Nancy Marie Brown, incredible stories are finally being spotlighted. Join in reading and discussing Brown’s latest publication, The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women. Receive a 15% discount on the book club pick by using the code “bookclub22” when purchasing the book through Nordiska’s online store.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events for April.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (January 2022) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update

It was a surprisingly strong reading start to 2022 and even more surprising was the fact that most of my reads were Nordic books (Icelandic and Norwegian). The high number of books is due to binge reading/listening to the last 2 books in an engrossing crime fiction trilogy as well as reading a short novel and a middle grade book. Future months are not likely to be this full of books.

The 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge is underway. I’m currently reading the first book for the challenge, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen, a book I’ve had both in original language and in English on my shelf for a while (2022 Reading Intentions, read off my shelf!). This book takes place in the time period 1910s and 1920s and chronicles the life of a family living on a remote island in Northern Norway, a life very tied to geography and weather. For details on the reading challenge and insight into this time period along with a few reading ideas, visit 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

What have you been reading lately?


Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
(Narrated by Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber)

I love historical fiction that opens my eyes to a period of time or an event that I have little to no knowledge of, and this book did just that in a big way. The book is based on a real-life scandal in the Memphis, Tennessee, area in which poor children were kidnapped and sold to wealthy families (1920s-1950). Just the thought of that is unbelievable and then seeing it from the perspective of a child experiencing it was heartbreaking. The structure of the book was unique. The story jumped between 1939 when 12-year-old Rill and her younger siblings were kidnapped to the present when a successful daughter returns home to help with her father’s illness and begins to dig into her family’s history. I followed both storylines with equal interest and engagement eager to find out the connection. A 5-star listen and read for me. (I generally listened to it but had to have the ebook available too so I could read in the evening.)


The Island (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #2) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)
(Narrated by Angela Redman)

After finishing the first book in the Hidden Iceland trilogy last month, I decided to jump on the second book. The ending of the first book was a cliff hanger and the cover of the second book was too enticing to postpone. The structure of the series is unique in that it is in reverse chronological order. In this book, we learn more about investigator Hulda’s past and follow her as she investigates a murder that takes place on the island pictured on the cover. If you’re fascinated by Iceland’s geography, this book is for you. You are immersed in the setting.


The Mist (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #3) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)
(Narrated by Angela Redman)

I just decided to binge read/listen to this trilogy while I was at it, and I have no regrets. Iceland’s geography continues to play a significant role in the story, and I am fascinated by it. I will keep Ragnar Jónasson on my list of authors to return to, but I will take a break from his crime fiction for the time being. There are other Icelandic crime authors I’d also like to read. I’d like to return to Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s Children’s House series and try Eva Bjorg Ægisdóttir’s The Creak on the Stairs (Forbidden Iceland Book 1).


Because Venus Crossed an Alpine Violet on the Day that I Was Born by Mona Høvring (Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson and Rachel Rankin)

I was drawn to the cover (stunning fjord) and title (so odd and unique) of this one. However, when I started reading, there was a disconnect because I had thought the setting would be spring or summer time in a mountain village. Instead it was winter, and every time there was a reference to snow and cold, I was thrown a little. Minor detail in the grand scheme of things, but still an issue for me. It’s a short novel about two sisters in their early twenties who go to a mountain hotel to reconnect. Growing up they had been very close but then the older one abruptly left home to marry and ended up at a sanatorium after a nervous breakdown. This is their opportunity to find the relationship they had when they were young, but circumstances arise making it hard. It had a dreamlike quality and the writing/translation was lovely. A very enjoyable book! (But the title is still a mystery to me.)

#SlothyWorldReads2022: Book from the country you’re from (Norway)


Our Own Little Paradise by Marianne Kaurin (Middle Grade)
(Translated from the Norwegian by Olivia Lasky)

I came across this Norwegian middle grade book in translation at Netgalley and couldn’t resist since I was familiar with the author, was drawn to the cover, and liked the premise. On the last day of 6th grade when Nora’s classmates share all sorts of foreign vacation plans for the summer, Nora ends up lying about an upcoming trip to the tropics. However, she is outed by a new boy in class who lives in her apartment complex. The summer spirals into much more than she ever expected in so many ways. It was a very enjoyable and heartwarming book about a 12-year-old’s desire to fit in and make friends with the added difficulty and pressure of social media and socio-economic differences, all with a touch of Norwegian culture thrown in.

Thanks to Netgalley and Arctis Books for an advance copy of this! It will be released on April 12, 2022.


Dálvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra by Laura Galloway
(Narrated by Laura Lefkow)

I’m not usually drawn to memoirs, but the cover and premise of this one intrigued me. A woman from Indiana finds she shares some DNA with the Sámi people, the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and plans a trip to visit the area. This first visit eventually leads to a 6-years-long stay there. The memoir is an absorbing account of her time in Sápmi interspersed with reflections on her childhood and early adult life in the US. It provides a fascinating, unique look at the modern culture of the Sámi and their relationship with outsiders. I was captivated by this book. Going to the Scandinavian Arctic is now even higher on my bucket list.

Book Voyage: Read Around the World Reading Challenge: Arctic & Antarctic


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

February 2022: Virtual Nordic Events & Sámi National Day

While Nordic organizations around the country are transitioning to more and more in-person events, there are still many virtual ones to enjoy!

February is a month to bring awareness to the only indigenous group of Europe, the Sámi. Saturday, February 6, is Sámi National Day celebrated by the indigenous peoples of Sápmi, an area consisting of land in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The first Sámi National Day was celebrated in 1993. It commemorates the first Sámi congress which was held February 6, 1917, in Trondheim, Norway, when Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. Sámi National Day didn’t become an official flag day in Norway until 2003.  (If you’re interested in more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.)

Marking the day has become increasingly popular with celebrations and programs not just taking place domestically in those countries but also abroad. In the virtual community this month, there are many online events – celebrations, a movie screening, book events, craft workshops, presentations, and more. Look for events marked with ❤️💙💛💚. Happening now in Tromsø, Norway, is Sámi Week (January 31-February 6). Highlights usually include an Arctic Market, the Norwegian Championship in Lasso Throwing, and the Norwegian Championship in Reindeer Racing, but unfortunately they are canceled this year due to national restrictions. View pictures from previous years here.

And finally I share an in-person event for readers in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. Today the Norwegian Oscar submission for Best International Feature, The Worst Person in the World, opens in limited release in theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang calls it “a funny, melancholy dazzler from Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier… [a] charming, wistful, ineffably tender movie… It’s time well spent.” Will you see it, or have you already?

Which events look intriguing to you this month?


Book Talk: River Kings with Dr. Cat Jarman (Friday, February 4, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual literary talk with bioarchaeologist Dr. Cat Jarman to celebrate the release of her new book River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads out on February 1, 2022, from Pegasus Books. Learn about an epic story from the Viking Age that traces the historical path of an ancient piece of jewelry—found in a Viking grave in England—to its likely origin thousands of miles east in India. Update: The virtual talk is available now for streaming.

Sámi álbmotbeaivi – Samenes nasjonaldag (Sunday, February 6)❤️💙💛💚

Norway’s national TV station NRK celebrates Sámi National Day with celebrations from all of Sápmi. This recorded program is in Norwegian and Sámi, but you’ll still enjoy the unique joik music, traditional Sámi dress and jewelry, and impressive landscapes. View the program now.

Exploring Arctic Highways – Celebrating Sámi National Day (Sunday, February 6, 3:00 p.m. PT) ❤️💙💛💚

Join a Facebook Live virtual celebration of Sámi National Day. During the celebration, enjoy some of the Sami National Day celebrations taking place outside of City Hall in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, learn more about Sámi National Day, and enjoy a performance by Sámi artist Sara Ajnnak. The celebration will also include an introduction to the new exhibition Arctic Highways, which is currently on its way over the Atlantic to make its world debut at House of Sweden, Washington, DC, next month before continuing to tour North America and Europe.

Nordic Book Club: The Book of Reykjavik (Tuesday, February 8, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

This month, Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club will be discussing The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction, an anthology edited by Becca Parkinson & Vera Juliusdottir, which was recently discussed by authors and translators in a virtual panel.

Nordic Book Club: The Nordic Theory of Everything (Tuesday, February 8, 6:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Finnish author Anu Partanen.

Movie Screening: Älven min vän (Thursday, February 10, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT, Free)❤️💙💛💚

Älven min Vän (The River, My Friend) is a portrait of the lives of four Sámi women and their relationship to the Lule River in Sweden. The film shows the consequences of the forced resettlement of Sámi people who were displaced from their land because of the construction of river dams and were alienated from their indigenous culture and way of life (such as reindeer husbandry, clothing, language, food and music). At the same time, the film shows the deep relationship between the women and the river. Register for this free event and receive a link to the movie. Then join the Zoom event to meet the director Hannah Ambühl.

Nordic Spirits Second Friday: Are You What You Wear? (Friday, February 11, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free) ❤️💙💛💚

The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, California, invites you to a virtual presentation presented by Prof. Thomas DuBois of University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn about Sámi traditional dress. There are clear norms about how Sámi dress in different regions of Sápmi – the areas of Norway, Finland, and Sweden where Sámi people traditionally reside. But the actual components of the dress vary and they are often made at home by family members rather than purchased from a professional seamstress. This presentation will explore the ways the Sámi use dress to express their identity and the many variations and expressive choices that come into play. Particiaption is free. Registration is required.

Fika på svenska! Swedish Language Table (Saturday, February 12, 10:00-11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is a conversation table held entirely in Swedish every second Saturday each month. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.

Norwegian Family Language Adventure: Explorers (Register by February 15)

Join Vesterheim in March for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language along the way! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy snack. The adventure starts on March 1 and will focus on Oppdagelsesreisende, the Norwegian word for explorers! Register by February 15.

Duodji Reader: Virtual Book Talk (Tuesday, February 15, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT, Free)
❤️💙💛💚

American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a virtual panel on Duodji Reader: A Selection of Twelve Essays on Duodji by Sámi Duojárat and Writers from the Past 60 Years, produced by Sámi Allaskuvla / Sámi University of Applied Sciences and Norwegian Crafts. Edited by Gunvor Guttorm and Harald Gaski, Duodji Reader explores the Sámi duodji, the artistic crafts form of the Indigenous people of the European Arctic, through essays written by 11 prominent Sámi scholars, duojárat, and writers from North, South, and Lule Sámi areas. Duodji demonstrates a holistic circle of creation, how nature and humans collaborate in recognising, visualising, and shaping items that serve the need for both practical use and aesthetic form.

National Danish Book Club: The Liar (Tuesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is The Liar (Løgneren) by Martin A. Hansen. The Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. PT. The accompanying Literary Event is unscheduled at this time.

Vesterheim Bokprat: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Wednesday, February 16, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat at Vesterheim, discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Henrik Ibsen remains the second most often played playwright in the world behind William Shakespeare. Join Vesterheim this month for a conversation about the play A Doll’s House, significant at the time for the way it addressed the fate of a married woman living in a male-dominated culture.

ASI Workshop: Swedish Meatballs with Patrice Johnson (Friday, February 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! This class is designed as a cook-along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling a classic Swedish meal. This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club: Unto a Good Land by Vilhelm Moberg (Saturday, February 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Join The Nordic Heart‘s book club to discuss the first half of book 2 in The Emigrant Novels series by Vilhelm Moberg, Unto a Good Land. Book 2 opens in the summer of 1850 as the emigrants disembark in New York City. Their journey to a new home in Minnesota Territory takes them by riverboat, steam wagon, Great Lakes steamship, and oxcart to Chicago County.  Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of The Emigrant Novels.

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, February 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

In these online classes hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner. These classes are sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

The History of Norwegian Sweaters (Saturday, February 19, 7:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Learn about the history of different types and styles of Norwegian sweaters, including Setesdal, Fana, Marius, and Olympic from textile expert and Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson. Laurann will also discuss the symbolism behind some of the patterns and colors on sweaters made today. This is an open meeting of the Washington D.C. Sons of Norway Lodge. Visitors wishing to attend should contact Bill Deroche at programs@norwayDC.org for a Zoom link .

In Trunks, Hands, and Hearts: What Norwegian Immigrants Brought to the United States (Tuesday, February 22, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Join Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson to explore the immigrant experience through stories associated with artifacts in Vesterheim’s collection. Between 1825 and 1980, nearly one million Norwegians left for new lives in America. She’ll discuss the reasons for leaving, what they brought, and where they settled. This is an open meeting of the Denver Iowa Public Library. Visitors wishing to attend may contact Kelly Platte at kplatte@denver.lib.ia.us for a Zoom link.

Lapskaus Soup: From our Kitchen to Yours (Wednesday, February 23, 6:30-7:30 p.m. PT)

This online demonstration hosted by Nordic Northwest in Portland, OR, will warm your heart. It’s the perfect time for the wintery and hearty Norwegian meat and potatoes soup “Lapskaus”. Learn how to make this traditional recipe, along with options to suit your particular taste buds. This demonstration features Broder Söder’s chef along with Nordic Northwest’s Cook & Eat committee. Whether you have made this recipe for years or are brand new to it — you won’t want to miss the opportunity. You will appreciate an “ancient classic” that is still relevant and practical today.

Nordiska’s Book Club: Black Fox (Thursday, February 24, 6:00 p.m. PT) ❤️💙💛💚

For the month of February, Nordiska will be celebrating Sámi National Day (February 6) by reading Barbara Sjoholm’s book Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer. Though she was not Sámi herself, Emilie Demant Hatt became closely acquainted with a variety of Sámi cultures during her travels in Sápmi, the Sámi’s traditional territory, in the early 1900s. Emilie Demant Hatt lived an extraordinary life which has been retold by Barbara Sjoholm in this first English-language biography.

Nordic Lights Film Festival (February 25 – March 5)

The Nordic Lights Film Festival is devoted to celebrating Nordic cinema—this year, once again, virtually. All films are available to watch during the run of the festival. You may choose your own viewing schedule but once you start a film, you will have 72 hours to finish it. Full schedule and individual tickets will be available in early February. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies and will only be viewable in Washington State.

ASI Workshop: Bake Your Own Semlor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT)

This online class meets in two sessions, first from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and then 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.

Vesterheim’s Primstav Murals (Friday, February 25, 8:00 p.m. CT, Free)

The murals in Vesterheim’s Gathering Room were created in 1999 by Norwegian rosemaler Sigmund Aarseth and Iowa rosemaler Sallie DeReus. The murals are an example of interior painting, relatively common in Scandinavia, in which every surface is decorated. The murals are inspired by the primstav, a calendar stick widely used in Norway during the Middle Ages. The initial purpose of the primstav was to help keep track of Saint’s days and the church year when Christianity was adopted in the eleventh century. Over time, however, the primstav acquired worldly calendar associations that had to do with seasonal agricultural and domestic activities. Vesterheim’s Martha Griesheimer will give this online presentation in an open meeting of the Boulder Sons of Norway group. Everyone is welcome! Visitors wishing to attend may contact Erik Sirnes for a Zoom link: eriksirnes@hotmail.com.

Book Club: Antiphony (February 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free) ❤️💙💛💚

The Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, hosts a book club that reads a wide range of books from the Nordic countries. The February read is Antiphony by Laila Stien translated from the Norwegian by John Weinstock, a novel about a woman who goes to Northern Norway and becomes acquainted with three generations of Sámi women.

Fastelavn Buns – Scandinavian Baking Workshop (Saturday, February 26, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PT)

It is that time of year again to celebrate the Danish tradition of Fastelavn! Native Dane and baker extraordinaire Leda Jessen is ready to bake the traditional yummy Fastelavn buns together with you. You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed prior to the event, and together with Leda you will bake the day away.

Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Norma Refsal (Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27) ❤️💙💛💚

In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.

Nordic Book Club: Psalm at Journey’s End (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. PT)

Join Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a discussion about the book Psalm at Journey’s End by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen.

Koselig Nordic Dinner with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. CT)

The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out but you can join the waiting list.


Looking ahead…

Want to plan your reading for next month? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events in March.

And finally, Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for April through June 2022 opens on Thursday, February 10, at noon (CT) with new online and in-person classes in rosemaling, woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus special youth and family programming. They can’t wait for you to see what’s in store, so they’re sharing the class schedule now so you can start making your February 10 registration plans.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.

My Reading Intentions for 2022

There’s no time like a new year to set some intentions, in this case related to reading. 2021 saw many wonderful reading experiences (see my Goodreads list of completed books). Highlights included completing the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, listening to the 40-hour-plus The Eighth Life, discovering new Scandinavian authors to return to (in particular Norwegian Ingvild H. Rishøi and Swedes M.T. Edvardsson and Stina Jackson), and reading around the world. In the hopes of having an equally satisfying and fulfilling year in 2022, I’ve set some intentions to help guide my reading. Otherwise, I might find myself in a state of limbo due to indecision.

Continue with my Scandinavian reading 🇳🇴🇸🇪🇩🇰

This is a no brainer intention, one that I’ve had for several years now. For the past 4 years, I’ve done it by creating a Scandinavian Reading Challenge with prompts to complete in no particular order, and I’ve really enjoyed expanding and diversifying my Scandinavian reading that way. This year, however, instead of creating my own prompts, I will be participating in The Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge and reading a Scandinavian book, most likely a Norwegian one, that takes place in each of the decades from the 1910s through the 2010s finishing with a book spanning multiple decades – 12 books in total. I’m very excited about the new iteration of my Scandinavian Reading Challenge. You can read more about it on its page, 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge.

Read off my shelf 📚

This year I would really like to make progress on reading books I already have on my shelf. I look forward to doing the research and finding appropriate books for my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge, but I will prioritize books I already have on my shelf, which includes many in Norwegian. I also have many unread Book of the Month selections waiting patiently and I want to work on reading those as well.

Read from more places in the world 🌍 🌎

I’ve always enjoyed reading from around the world, but I haven’t necessarily kept track of places I’ve visited through books. Last year I discovered and worked on The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge. I didn’t follow their timeline, just their map. I read books for every area of the world, many times multiple books for an area, but moving forward I would like to read more from certain areas: Central and South America, Middle East, and Africa. In August, Women in Translation Month returns, a favorite reading event, and I will continue to focus on authors from outside Western Europe for that.

Improve with sharing on Instagram

I enjoy the bookstagram community very much. I have my favorite accounts that I follow. My intention when I set up my account a few years ago was to share my interest and love of Scandinavian books and other books in translation and interact with fellow readers and participate in the community. It hasn’t quite worked out that way so I’ll see how I can improve with that this year.


I am excited about the new reading year ahead, in particular my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge. Have you set any reading intentions for the new year?

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (December 2021) & #ScandiReadingChallenge Update 

I finished the 2021 reading year on a high note, and thinking back, it’s been a very good reading year – many good books in a variety of genres from diverse authors in many different settings.

Mid-year I discovered The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World reading challenge and completed it with books I had already read during the year and continued on my own schedule for the rest of the year. It’s an impressive selection of books I’ve read, if I may say so myself; click here to see the map with completed reads. One area remains, Arctic & Antarctic, which I plan to complete in January with a book that takes place in the Scandinavian Arctic area.

I also completed my Scandinavian Reading Challenge by the end of year unlike other years when I’ve had to wrap up some reads in the first month of the new year. Of the 12 books I read for the challenge, half were by non-Norwegian authors, which I was pleased to see, but only three were in Norwegian, a number I would like to increase in the next year.

Speaking of my next Scandinavian Reading Challenge, it will be a little different in 2022. Instead of creating my own prompts for the challenge, I will be participating in The Book Girls’ Decades Reading Challenge and reading Scandinavian plus potentially Icelandic and Finnish books to complete those prompts. Stay tuned for more information on that.

How’s your reading year been, and what have you been reading lately?


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

This was a spontaneous read that was nowhere near my TBR list, but I was immediately drawn to the cover and the premise: a mother and teenage stepdaughter’s journey to discover what’s going on when their husband/father suddenly disappears leaving only a mysterious note. The question of whether we can ever truly know the people we love the most is an intriguing one. I enjoyed the evolving relationship between the stepdaughter and mother. It was a fun read that took me from the houseboats of Sausalito, CA, to the university town of Austin, Texas.

 


The Tenant (Kørner and Werner #1) by Katrine Engberg
(Translated from the Danish by Tara Chace)

Katrine Engberg is a Danish crime writer, a new-to-me Scandinavian author whom I learned about from Abby at Crime by the Book, a great fan of Nordic Noir. I definitely enjoyed the setting of Copenhagen during summer time, and the crime and ensuing investigation were intriguing. However, I was not a fan of the pair of male and female investigators. They just did not seem like good partners. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the writing and/or the translation was not as smooth as I had expected. There were unnecessary sexual descriptions and subplots. At times some translated words seemed more vulgar than they needed to be and this turned me off. Upon checking a Norwegian version of the book, it seems this may be a translation issue?

🇩🇰 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book by a new-to-me Scandinavian author


Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

This was an unread Book of the Month selection that my book club chose to read, and it made for a very good discussion. It’s an unusual reading experience, a suspenseful, slow burn with nothing really happening, just the characters going about their business as something unknown and mysterious is happening in the background. A family with teenage kids rents a house for a week’s vacation on Long Island, NY, but their stay is interrupted when an older couple arrives after a blackout has hit New York City. With no TV, Internet, or cell service, they try to figure out what’s happening. It’s a book that leaves the reader with many questions, many of which stay unanswered. It’s a great one for book clubs because everyone will have different opinions on the writing style, characters, and plot.

📚 #unreadBOTMchallenge


The Darkness (Hidden Iceland/Hulda Series, #1) by Ragnar Jónasson
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)

This best-selling Icelandic crime author has been on my radar for a long time thanks, once again, to Abby at Crime by the Book. I didn’t know whether to start with his debut crime series, Dark Iceland, or this newer one, Hidden Iceland. I ended up just selecting what was available immediately. A traditional police procedural, it was a very captivating read. I liked the main character Hulda Hermannsdóttir, a 64-year-old detective forced into early retirement, who takes on one last case, a cold case about a dead female Russian asylum seeker. I liked the setting, Iceland during spring time with glimpses of winter time. I learned after finishing the book that this trilogy is in reverse chronological order. Knowing this and with the ending as it was, I’m eager to continue the series sooner rather than later.

🇮🇸 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A book set in a Nordic country you would like to visit or revisit


Winter Stories by Ingvild H. Rishøi
(Translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley)

I don’t normally read short stories, but at a virtual event with Norwegian authors, this particular author was mentioned as a must-read and I was drawn to the serene winter cover, so I decided I’d save it as a winter read. It’s a collection of three long short stories, all of which take place during winter time in Norway and are about vulnerable people (a young single mother, an ex-convict, and a teenager) trying to do their best for the young children in their lives, but with difficulty. The author does a compelling job of exploring their struggles, and in every story there’s an unexpected stranger whose compassion makes a significant difference. A five-star read for me.

🇳🇴 Scandinavian Reading Challenge 2021: A Nordic book you chose for the cover AND A Nordic book in genre you don’t normally read


What have you been reading lately?

By the way, if you’re interested in snagging some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, check out my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.

Disclaimer: AVikingInLA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Virtual Nordic Events for January 2022: Scandinavian Film Festival LA #SFFLA & Nordic Spirit Symposium plus more!

Fireworks from midnight January 1, 2022, in Oslo. Photo credit to my mother.

Happy New Year! 

I was thinking that December 2021 might be my last Virtual Nordic Events post, but with a virtual Scandinavian Film Festival LA around the corner followed by a virtual Nordic Spirit Symposium at the end of the month, I saw the need for at least one more such post.

Mark your calendars for the next three weekends of January to catch “top films from the top of Europe” in the comfort of your own home at the 23rd Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA in cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY. All the information is available on the SFFLA website. You can purchase a festival pass (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65) to catch all the screenings or buy individual tickets. Be aware that for some films, the screening options are limited due to restrictions.

Happening at the end of the month, the Nordic Spirit Symposium will offer presentations on a variety of topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. Participation is free, but registration is required.

Which events look intriguing to you?


Friluftsliv or Lost in the Mountains: Nature Literature from Norway with Torbjørn Ekelund and Are Kalvø (Streaming Now)

Norway is known for its dramatic and beautiful nature, with fjords, mountains and endless hiking trails. Norwegians love to spend time outside, so called friluftsliv. In this event from December 2021, get to know two fantastic authors with different approaches to nature. The event begins with a literary talk with Torbjørn Ekelund, author of In Praise of Paths and A Year in the Woods, and is followed by a stand-up routine by Are Kalvø. Take refuge from the cold weather and curl up on the couch with this inspiring recorded event.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend One (Thursday-Sunday, January 6-9)

In cooperation with Scandinavia House in New York, NY, the Scandinavian Film Festival LA will be virtual one more year. Watch individual screenings or purchase a festival pass to catch all the films (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65). The schedule for the first weekend includes Oscar submissions from Latvia (The Pit), Lithuania (Isaac), and Sweden (Tigers).

Vesterheim Bokprat: Lars Mytting’s The Bell in the Lake (Sunday, January 9, 1:00-2:15 p.m. CT)

In the first bokprat discussion of the new year, Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, will be joined by best-selling Norwegian author Lars Mytting for a discussion of The Bell in the Lake. With its broad-canvas narrative about the intersection of religion, superstition, and duty, this novel offers a unique perspective about Scandinavian life.

National Danish Book Club & Literary Event Series: We, the Drowned (Tuesdays, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT & January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen. The Literary Event will take place Tuesday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. PT and the Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, January 18, 5:00 p.m. PT.

Virtual Book Talk – Present Tense Machine (Tuesday, January 11, 12:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY,  for a virtual book talk on Present Tense Machine with award-winning Norwegian author Gunnhild Øyehaug. “With author Jennifer Offill as moderator, Øyehaug will discuss the exquisite, wistful, and slyly profound new novel, out January 11 in translation by Karl Dickson from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.” This event will take place as a Zoom webinar.

Scandinavia House’s Online Nordic Book Club: Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen (Tuesday, January 11, 6:00 p.m. ET, Free)

Read and discuss Scandinavian literature in translation as part of Scandinavia House’s online Nordic Book Club. Each month they select a novel from some of the best Nordic literary voices. On January 11, they’ll be discussing Dog Park by acclaimed Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen, who recently joined Scandinavia House for a virtual panel now streaming here.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Two (Thursday-Sunday, January 13-16)

This is the second weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little different due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes Oscar submissions from Iceland (Lamb) and Estonia (On The Water), both of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Denmark’s Flee and Norway’s The Worst Person in the World are only available to Festival Pass holders in NY, NJ, and CA beginning Saturday, January 15, and remain available to view for 24 hours after start of viewing.

ASI Workshop: Needle Felted Polar Bear (Friday, January 14, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

Join American Swedish Institute and create a cute felted polar bear ready for winter fun in this virtual, afternoon class. Students will follow step-by-step instructions to transform hand dyed wool from the instructor’s own sheep into a felted polar bear that will fit in the palm of your hand. Needle felting is fun, easy and therapeutic, and as your wooly friend comes to life you’ll enjoy conversation with other students and learn more about wool and the sheep who produced your kit materials! Your kit even contains enough wool to make a second polar bear, perfect for continuing with this craft beyond class. Ages 13 and up are welcome to register alongside an adult.

Nordic Spirit Classics’ Second Friday Series — Trolls: A Retrospective Episode 1 (Friday, January 14, 7:30 p.m. PT, Free)

In anticipation of the 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium happening later in the month, the first episode of a trolls retrospective will be given ahead of time. In this first episode, Troll Genesis: From the Hammer to the Cross, Britte Rasmussen Marsh, writer, researcher, and educator in Portland, Oregon, will take audience members back in time to the origin of the universe, human, and troll, according to Norse mythology. How did trolls come to populate the forests of Nordic lands? What were the first recorded interactions between trolls and humans? As medieval times graduated into renaissance, how were these encounters interpreted by the folks who lived them? Participation is free, but registration is required.

Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series: An Innovator Abroad with Rick Steves (Sunday, January 16, 7:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim welcomes Rick Steves, a popular public television host and a best-selling guidebook author, to join them in conversation. He is the founder and owner of Rick Steves’ Europe, a travel business with a tour program that brings more than 30,000 people to Europe annually. Rick is also an outspoken activist who encourages Americans to broaden their perspectives through travel. He will talk about travel for the purpose of challenging cultural assumptions, travel to Norway, and his background as a Norwegian American. Register here for the free Zoom link.

The Scandinavian School and Cultural Center’s Language Café! (Sunday, January 16, 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

This is a perfect opportunity for you to practice your speaking skills and meet other people who share your passion for all things Nordic. The topic, as well as the event, is free. All levels are welcome. Participants will be divided up into different breakout rooms in their chosen Nordic language according to their conversational skills, ranging from beginner to advanced. You don’t have to be a student at SSCC to join us, but we are of course hoping to see both current and former language adult learners on the screen. Are you a native speaker up for a chat? They would love for you to join.

Vesterheim Bokprat (Book Club): We, the Drowned (Rescheduled, Wednesday, January 19, 7:00-8:15 p.m. CT, Free)

Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat (book club) discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Seafaring has long been a part of Scandinavian culture and history. In We, the Drowned, Danish author Carsten Jensen crafts an enlightening tale of family and sailors. Examining the hardships and adventure that come with the work out on the sea, the town of Marstal, and its inhabitants – the waiting mothers and wives, the adventure-seeking young men, and the old who are bound to the sea but trapped on land. Enrollment deadline is January 12.

Scandinavian Film Festival LA: Weekend Three (Thursday-Sunday, January 20-23)

This is the final weekend of the film festival and screening options are a little varied due to restrictions placed on some of the movies. The schedule includes feature documentaries from Sweden (The Most Beautiful Boy in the World), Lithuania (The Jump), and Norway/Denmark (The President), all of which are available all four days of the weekend by single admission ticket or Festival Pass. Finland’s Oscar submission, Compartment No 6, is only available on Saturday and Sunday to Festival Pass holders (select “2022 Nordic and Baltic Oscar Contenders” for $65).

 Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author – The White Bathing Hut with Thorvald Steen (Saturday, January 22, 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT)

Join National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA, on January 22 as moderator Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma  discusses The White Bathing Hut, a unique story of a family coming to grips with carrying a serious hereditary illness and a history of denial, concealment, and shame. Thorvald Steen’s literary career began in 1983, and he has since produced a diverse body of work spanning a variety of genres. Translated into 30 languages so far, Steen has received praise and prizes for the quality of his authorship.

The Familiar & The Absurd: Literature from Copenhagen (Saturday, January 22, 11:00 a.m. PT, Free)

Join Scandinavian House in New York, NY, for a virtual Danish literary panel with Copenhagen-based authors Ida Marie Hede, Ursula Scavenius, and Steven Zultanski moderated by editor and writer Tom Conaghan. The authors will discuss their newly translated books each exploring themes of the body and intimacy from unique sci-fi perspectives. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Grassroots Resettlement: Refugee Support and Community Creation in Scandinavia (Tuesday, January 25, 10:00 a.m. PT, Free)

The American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a discussion on refugee support and community creation in Scandinavia. In this panel highlighting the work of local people supporting incoming refugees in Norway and Sweden, you’ll hear from a Norwegian asylum center director, a Swedish community organizer, and two resettled refugees to Norway who have made it their life’s work to advocate for their communities and build bridges between refugees and native-born Scandinavians. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on their Virtual Programming page and on their YouTube channel.

Demo: Danish Rye with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Thursday, January  27, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Hearty, healthy Danish rye bread is a Scandinavian standard, and a must-have for open-faced sandwiches. Erin will introduce an easy take on rugbrød, no sourdough starter required. She’ll cover the basics of baking with rye as she works through the steps to create a sweet, whole grain-based rye loaf, and also discuss the possibilities for tackling a sourdough starter-based loaf. Even if you might think you’re not the biggest fan of rye bread, you have to give this recipe a spin! This class is designed as a demonstration, so students can watch the entire process and ask questions before tackling the dishes at home at a later date.

Nordiska Book Club: An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed (Thursday, January 27, 6:00 p.m. PT, Free)

Nordiska in Poulsbo, WA, has launched its own book club for fellow Nordic reading enthusiasts to connect and be in community with one another virtually. For their January book club, they will be reading and discussing An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed by Helene Tursten, translated from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. Visit Nordiska’s event page for more information and to register.

From Northern Lights and Winter Nights: A Symposium of Nordic Stories and Culture (Friday, January 28 & Saturday, January 29)

Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation’s 23rd annual Nordic Spirit Symposium will be a virtual program of live presentations from Scandinavia and the United States on diverse topics including the history of trolls; stories of Finnish immigrant women; the Poetic Edda, stories of Norse gods and heroes; King Harald Fairhair and the control of Norway’s maritime traffic during and before the Viking Age; and animal allies and enemies of Sámi. The program starts Friday evening and continues on Saturday with two sessions. Participation is free, but registration is required.

FamilieTid: Cook-Along with Patrice Johnson (Saturday, January 29, 11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Vesterheim’s online FamilieTid this month is a cook-along inspired by the classic heroine Pippi Longstocking! Grab your copy of the book (or click here to order one from Vesterheim’s Museum Store) and then join for a fun afternoon cooking adventure with Nordic Cuisine heroine Patrice Johnson. Patrice is excited to lead this fun intergenerational cooking adventure where you will recall special moments in the book that inspire your cooking of pancakes and meatballs.


LOOKING AHEAD TO FEBRUARY – Register Now!

ASI Workshop: Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Liz Bucheit (Saturday, February 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT)

The indigenous Sámi people of Scandinavia incorporate elements of their northern landscape such as reindeer leather, braided pewter wire, and sculpted antler to embellish their clothing and handmade items. In this virtual, afternoon class, students will use these materials to make a soft bracelet inspired by the tenntråd (pewter thread) embroidery techniques often found on Sámi handcraft. Students will learn to triple braid coiled pewter wire, then sew the finished braid to a softened reindeer leather strip and finish the bracelet with an antler button. Discover this unique tradition with veteran instructor Liz Bucheit and create a beautiful bracelet in just one day. Open to ages 16 and up. Registration for this kit-based class closes on January 23.

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, February 19, 1:00-3:00 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m. CT)

In this online class hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner! Enrollment deadline is February 11.

Sámi-Inspired Bracelets with Norma Refsal (Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27)

In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). Enrollment deadline is February 11.

ASI Workshop: Swedish Meatballs with Patrice Johnson (Friday, February 18, 5:00-7:00 p.m. CT)

Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! This class is designed as a cook-along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling a classic Swedish meal.

ASI Workshop: Bake Your Own Semlor with Erin Swenson-Klatt (Friday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT)

This class meets online from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.

Koselig Nordic Dinner with Patrice Johnson (Sunday, February 27, 4:00 p.m. CT)

The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out. Register by February 18 to join the waiting list.


Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.