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Lectures & Literary Lectures & Literary Programs

For reservations, call 212.847.9740 or email

Exhibitions Exhibition-Related Lectures & Symposia

Sami StoriesIndigenous Expressions and Identity:
A Symposium

Saturday, May 10, 3:30 pm
Free, but RSVP encouraged

Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People opens with an afternoon symposium offering in-depth perspectives on Sámi history, identity, and visual culture. The program will feature a panel discussion with contemporary artists Britta Marakatt-Labba, Aslaug Juliussen, and Jason Lujan; renowned musician Mari Boine; and curators Charis Gullickson, Northern Norway Art Museum and Marit Anne Hauan, University of Tromsø Museum.

Program Schedule
3:30 pmWelcome | Edward P. Gallagher, President, The American-Scandinavian Foundation
3:40 pmIntroduction | Dr. Anne Husebekk, Rector, University of Tromsø
3:50 pmRemarks | Knut Ljøgodt, Director, Northern Norway Art Museum
4 pmTalk: Sámi Identity & Citizenship | Dr. Anne Julie Semb, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo
4:20 pmBreak/Coffee
4:40 pmPanel Discussion | Renowned musician Mari Boine and contemporary artists Aslaug Juliussen, Britta Marakatt-Labba, and Jason Lujan in conversation with Charis Gullickson, Curator of Contemporary Art, Northern Norway Art Museum and Marit Anne Hauan, Director, University of Tromsø Museum
5:40 pm Audience Q & A
6 pm Exhibition Opening Reception

Exhibition-related educational programs have been supported in part by Scandinavian Seminar and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

See also Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People in EXHIBITIONS section.

Duodji: Sámi Traditional Objects
Lecture by Dr. Thomas DuBois, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tuesday, June 24, 6:30 pm

DuodjiIn this talk, Dr. Thomas DuBois, University of Wisconsin-Madison, introduces some of the basic considerations of form, substance, and use that characterize traditional Sámi objects. He shows how in Sámi art, aesthetic values are inseparable from other considerations such as usefulness, belief, and skill. A sense of beauty arises from practical concerns, but this pragmatic approach means that beauty comes to pervade all aspects of life, even the performance of ordinary, mundane activities. The talk will be illustrated through abundant images, some of which are paralleled by elements seen in Sámi Stories.

About Dr. Thomas DuBois

Thomas DuBois is a professor of Scandinavian Studies and Folklore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He researches and writes particularly on Finnish and Sámi cultures, past and present. Along with numerous books and articles, DuBois has translated important works of Sámi literature, including Johan Turi's An Account of the Sámi, the first book ever written in Sámi language, which appeared in 1910.

Exhibition-related educational programs have been supported in part by Scandinavian Seminar and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York.

See also Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People in EXHIBITIONS section.

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Upcoming Lectures & Literary Programs

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Babette’s Feast 2.0
PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature

Tuesday, April 29, 7 pm

For the first of PEN World Voices' three curated readings in a dinner setting, gather at the New York epicenter of Nordic culture, the beloved Scandinavia House, to inaugurate this reading-dinner pairing. Travel to Nordic heaven – right in the heart of Manhattan – and break bread with audience and artists alike, including Tomas Bannerhed, A.M. Homes, Steinunn Sigurdardottir, and Bob Holman.

Babette's Feast 2.0: PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature
About the participants

Tomas Bannerhed, born in 1966, grew up in Uråsa village in the province of Småland in southern Sweden, and now lives in Stockholm. His professional background includes being a university teacher and a magazine editor. In 2011 his debut novel The Ravens/Korparna was awarded the prestigious Swedish August Prize (Book of the Year) and has since received several other prizes. Foreign rights have been sold to seven countries, including the U.K., France, and Germany. The U.K. edition will be published by Clerkenwell Press in spring 2014.

Born in Reykjavík, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir made a name for herself at the age of nineteen with a volume of poetry entitled Continuances/Sifellur (1969). Sigurðardóttir has since become one of Iceland’s most frequently translated writers, and one of its most lauded, having won the Icelandic Literature Prize for Place of the Heart/Hjartastaður (1995) and the national Bookseller’s Prize in 2011, among others. Sigurðardóttir’s extensive body of work includes eleven novels, seven volumes of poetry, two volumes of short stories, radio plays, television plays, and a children’s book; Place of the Heart is her English-language debut.

A.M. Homes is the author of the novels May We Be Forgiven (2012), This Book Will Save Your Life (2006), Music For Torching (1999), The End of Alice (1996), In a Country of Mothers (1993), and Jack (1989). She also penned the short-story collections Things You Should Know (2002) and The Safety of Objects (1990), the best-selling memoir The Mistress’s Daughter (2007), the travel memoir Los Angeles: People, Places and the Castle on the Hill (2002), and the artist’s book Appendix A (1996).

Bob Holman is best known as an impresario of new poetry: slams, hip-hop, and performance, but he has also written eight books. Most recently he collaborated with Chuck Close on A Couple of Ways of Doing Something. Holman is the Proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club and teaches at New York University and Columbia University. He is currently working on On the Griot Trail, a documentary about the poetry of endangered languages that includes footage from a recent two-month shoot in West Africa; and another documentary about Allen Ginsberg's experiences in India.

Presented in association with Scandinavia House, and co- sponsored by The Copenhagen, with support from the Consulate General of Denmark, New York, the Consulate General of Finland in New York, the Consulate General of Iceland in New York, the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, The Danish Arts Foundation, Finnish Literature Exchange, Icelandic Literature Center, the Nordic Culture Fund, NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad: Fiction & Non-Fiction, and the Swedish Arts Council.

Learning from Each Other:
Gender Equality in Iceland and the U.S.

Thursday, May 1, 8:15 am – 12 pm
Free, but RSVP required to

"Iceland was the first country where all the highest Offices of State and Church have been held by women: the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Bishop and the Presidents of the Parliament and the Supreme Court. How did it happen? That is the essence of our New York dialogue."

- His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Iceland leads the world in closing the gender gap that has held back women around the globe for centuries and the U.S. holds the highest ranking among the largest nations, according to The Global Gender Gap Report 2014, issued by the World Economic Forum.

This one-day conference focuses on why and how the people of Iceland have achieved near equality between the genders and how Americans have continued to close the gap in the U.S.

Program Agenda
Welcome | Jón Sigurðsson, ChairmanIACC, President and CEO, Össur
Opening remarks | Nancy Ploeger, President, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Presentation #1: The Iceland Story | Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir, Director, The Center for Gender Equality, Iceland
Presentation #2: Gender Equality in the U.S.: The Present and Future | Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst NYC
Panel: Gender Equality Issues in Both Countries | Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir; Deborah Gillis; Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations; moderated by Jenny Nordberg, Journalist
Presentation #3: Challenges for Women in Business | Marsha Firestone, Women Presidents Organization
Panel: Challenges for Women Business Owners Today | Marsha Firestone; Herdís Fjeldsted, The Enterprise Investment Fund; Guðbjörg Glód Logadóttir, Founder and CEO, Fylgifiskar; moderated by Nancy Ploeger, MCC
Closing Remarks | His Excellency Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

Presented by The Icelandic-American Chamber of Commerce and the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with The American-Scandinavian Foundation; and co-sponsored by Icelandair, Eimskip, Siggi’s Skyr, Össur, High Liner Foods, and Century Aluminum.

Older and Happier!
A Book Event with Dag Sebastian Ahlander

Wednesday, May 7, 5 pm

Dag AhlanderSome retired men are reasonably happy, some are dissatisfied, and some have simply resigned themselves to their situation. After retiring, Dag Sebastian Ahlander, former Swedish Consul General in New York, learned the importance of relishing his age – despite setbacks – in order to get the most possible satisfaction in his “golden years.” Drawing from his own experience, Ahlander penned Older and Happier! Inspiring, Amusing, and Useful Advice for Men of a Certain Age (Skyhorse Publishing, May 2014), a thought-provoking call to transformation and a practical guide to making simple changes for a happier life.

Ahlander will do a short reading from his book, offering up his pearls of wisdom for happy, old men. Copies of the book will also be available for purchase and signing.

About the author

Dag Sebastian Ahlander (b. 1944, Uppsala, Sweden) trained as a lawyer and served in his country’s foreign service, where he was Consul General in New York from 1992 to 1999. He is now a successful author of historical biographies for young adults, including Queen Christina, Alfred Noble, and Raoul Wallenberg. Older and Happier! Inspiring, Amusing, and Useful Advice for Men of a Certain Age was first published in Sweden by Bonnier in early 2012 and quickly became a best-seller; this English translation of the book is its second, after Norway, where the book also became a best-seller. Older and Happier! will also be released in Danish and Finnish in 2014.

Special thanks to Skyhorse Publishing.

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Paper Vikings: The Past and Present of Icelandic Literature
Lecture by Guðmundur Andri Thorsson

Tuesday, May 20, 6:30 pm

While neighboring Denmark, Norway, and Sweden went on Viking raids in Europe, the people of Iceland, a small, isolated nation of Nordic and Gaelic origin in the Atlantic Ocean, gradually became “Paper Vikings,” winning their battles and deeds in words that would eventually end up on paper. They were dreamers, poets, and storytellers who continued to write for centuries in their own – and gradually more obscure – language. As Iceland fell off the European map, its people continued to copy and add to their extraordinary heritage, even when no one in the outside world could or cared to read it.

For Icelandic writers today, this heritage is both a privilege and a burden: they are keepers of a proud tradition, but they must also look to their own times, reflecting on the profound social upheavals of the 20th century that saw Iceland emerge as a modern Nordic nation, followed by the economic boom and devastating collapse in the 21st century.

Iceland's literary traditions date back to the founding of Iceland in the 9th century. Despite its geographical position and small population, Iceland produced some of the most remarkable literary treasures of the Middle Ages, in particular the sagas and Eddic poetry. Guðmundur Andri Thorsson, esteemed Icelandic author and literary critic, discusses how this rich literary history continues to inspire and influence contemporary authors - including himself.

About the author

Guðmundur Andri ThorssonGuðmundur Andri Thorsson (b. 1957, Reykjavík) is a highly-regarded face on the Icelandic literary scene, known for both his books and his weekly column in Iceland’s most widely-circulated newspaper Fréttablaðið. He holds a degree in Icelandic and comparative literature from University of Iceland (1983) and has worked for many years as an editor for Iceland’s two leading publishers Mál og Menning and Forlagið.

Thorsson's first novel, My Joyful Anguish/Mín káta angist, was published in 1988 and followed by seven more novels and books of essays and short stories. Several of his novels have been nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize, including his latest Honor/Sæmd (2013). In 1991 Thorsson was awarded the DV Cultural Prize for Literature for the novel The Icelandic Dream/Íslenski draumurinn. In 2013 his collection of short stories The Valeyri Waltz/Valeyrarvalsinn was nominated for the Nordic Literature Prize and is currently going through publication in Germany, France, Denmark, and Norway.

Co-presented with Iceland Naturally.

A Seminar on Literary Translation

Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 pm

This panel will highlight, discuss, and explore the current opportunities and challenges of dramatic/literary translation and the international adaptation of dramatic works, with a focus on Sweden and the United States. It will also spread knowledge of Swedish funding opportunities available to literary translators as well as those commissioning and/or publishing translations from Swedish.

Joining the discussion is Swedish playwright and director Gertrud Larsson, American playwright Caridad Svich, translator Rachel Willson-Broyles, and moderated by PlayCompany.

About the participants

Gertrud Larsson (b. 1972, Kristianstad) is a Stockholm-based freelance playwright, director, radio host, and comedian in the duo Åsa & Gertrud. She studied play-writing at the Dramatic Institute 2001-2004 and documentary radio training 2007-2008.

Larsson served as Artistic Director of Theatre Scenario from 2008-2009 and made her debut as a documentary filmmaker with Black Carina/Svarta Carina, which was broadcast on Swedish Radio in January 2009.

In 2009 she received the Kristiansblad Culture Prize and her play A Turk, a Gay, a Chilean/En turk, en bög, en chilenare was named by magazine the "Year's Best Performance in northern Sweden" and Editor's Choice 2009.

Her other works include Pedal to the Metal/Gasen i botten (2007), Asylum Shopping/Asylshopping (2009), Blue Wings/Blåvingar (2011), Dept. 305/Avd 305 (2011), The Happiest Chickens in the World/Världens lyckligaste kycklingar (2013), and Zoo/CannibalSyndrome/Zoo/Kannibalsyndromet (2013).

Caridad Svich is an award-winning playwright, translator of plays, poetry and fiction, and Drama Editor for Asymptote Literary translation journal.

In 2012 Svich an OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theater, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. Svich has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. In January 2014 In the Time of the Butterflies (based on the Julia Alvarez novel) made its English language premiere at San Diego Repertory Theatre under the direction of Herbert Siguenza and Todd Salovey. Additional awards/recognitions are the Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship; TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts National Theater Artist Residency at INTAR; and NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency at the Mark Taper Theatre Forum Latino Theatre Initiative.

Her key works include 12 Ophelias, Any Place But Here, Alchemy of Desire/Dead-Man's Blues, Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (a rave fable) and The Way of Water. Seven of her plays are published in Instructions for Breathing and Other Plays (Seagull Books and University of Chicago Press, 2014). Five of her plays radically re-imagining ancient Greek tragedies are published in Blasted Heavens (Eyecorner Press, University of Denmark, 2012). Her works are also published by TCG, Broadway Play Publishing, Manchester University Press, Playscripts, Arte Publico Press, Smith & Kraus, Alexander Street Press, StageReads, among others. Among her awards/recognitions are: Harvard University Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts National Theater Artist Residency at INTAR, NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency at the Mark Taper Theatre Forum Latino Theatre Initiative.

She has edited several book on theatre including Out of Silence: Censorship in Theatre & Performance and Trans-Global Readings: Crossing Theatrical Boundaries. She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca as well as works by Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, Julio Cortazar and contemporary works from Mexico, Cuba and Spain.

She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, Drama Editor of Asymptote literary journal, associate editor of Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge,UK), contributing editor of Theatre Forum, and founder of No Passort theatre alliance and press, which recently published Todd London's The Importance of Staying Earnest.

Rachel Willson-Broyles is a freelance translator specializing in translating contemporary literature from Swedish to English. She received her B.A. in Scandinavian Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2002 and her Ph.D. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013.

Her translations include, among many others, Jonas Hassen Khemiri's novel Montecore and play INVASION! and I call My Brothers, both successfully staged by PlayCompany in NYC.

PlayCompany, PlayCo, is an OBIE Award-winning Off-Broadway theater production company. Now in its 13th season, PlayCo develops and produces adventurous new plays from the U.S. and around the world, advancing a dynamic global view of contemporary theater and expanding the American theater repertoire. As the only New York theater regularly producing outstanding contemporary plays from abroad alongside new American work, PlayCo's distinctive international programming links American theater with world theater, American artists with the global creative community, and American audiences with a whole world of plays.

Support by Swedish Arts Council and the Consulate General of Sweden in New York.

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