Lectures & Literary past

Stolen Virtual Book Talk with Ann-Helén Laestadius & Mathilde Magga

Ann-Helen Laestadius © Thron Ullberg; Mathilde Magga

TUE—May 16—12 PM ET, free

On May 16, join us for a virtual book talk with Swedish Sámi author Ann-Helén Laestadius on her new novel Stolen, out now in translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles from Simon & Schuster! The discussion will be moderated by Mathilde Magga, and will later be available to stream.

Louise Erdrich meets Jo Nesbø in this spellbinding Swedish novel that follows a young indigenous woman as she struggles to defend her family’s reindeer herd and culture amidst xenophobia, climate change, and a devious hunter whose targeted kills are considered mere theft in the eyes of the law. On a winter day north of the Arctic Circle, nine-year-old Elsa—daughter of Sámi reindeer herders—sees a man brutally kill her beloved reindeer calf and threaten her into silence. When her father takes her to report the crime, local police tell them that there is nothing they can do about these “stolen” animals. Killings like these are classified as theft in the reports that continue to pile up, uninvestigated. But reindeer are not just the Sámi’s livelihood, they also hold spiritual significance; attacking a reindeer is an attack on the culture itself.

Ten years later, hatred and threats against the Sámi keep escalating, and more reindeer are tortured and killed in Elsa’s community. Finally, she’s had enough and decides to push back on the apathetic police force—but the hunter comes after her this time, leading to a catastrophic final confrontation.

Based on real events, Ann-Helén Laestadius’s award-winning novel Stolen is part coming-of-age story, part love song to a disappearing natural world, and part electrifying countdown to a dramatic resolution—a searing depiction of a forgotten part of Sweden.

This program will be followed by Nordic Book Club Online discussion of Stolen on June 6; learn more and sign up here.

“Nuanced . . . an affecting portrait of the Sámi’s disenfranchisement . . . [and] a family torn apart by cultural tensions” —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Ann-Helén Laestadius is an author and journalist from Kiruna, Sweden. She is Sámi and of Tornedalian descent, two of Sweden’s national minorities. In 2016, Laestadius was awarded the prestigious August Prize for Best Young Adult and Children’s Novel for Ten Past One.

She was also awarded Norrland’s Literature Prize for Ten Past One. Stolen is her first adult novel and was named Sweden’s Book of the Year.

About the Moderator

Mathilde Magga, a Sámi woman from Tromso in northern Norway, has spent the last five years studying in the Seattle area. She earned her BA at Pacific Lutheran University in 2020 and her MA in English literature with a focus on Indigenous literature from the University of Washington in 2022.

She is currently working on her PhD in literature, also at University of Washington. When not working on her PhD project, Mathilde spends most of her time working on a book project that she hopes to publish in both Norwegian and Northern Sámi.

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Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius Online Nordic Book Club
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