Velkommen til oss!
Welcome to Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Culture Program. Look for our Sommer Samtalestunder (Summer Conversation Classes) to be posted soon for summer 2015.
Language classes meet for two hours a week for 10 weeks and cost $165. We have 3 terms during the year that start in September and end at the end of May: Fall, Winter and Spring. Genealogy seminars are four hours and cost $20. Cultural classes and other events vary.
Vidar Sundstøl Book Reading - A Great Success!
By Jeannette Henrikssen
On April 19th, we were thrilled to have Vidar Sundstøl, Norwegian author of the Minnesota Trilogy, join us at Mindekirken once again for a book reading and question and answer session in conjunction with the release of the English translation of the last book in his trilogy, "The Ravens" (Ravnene). There were 52 people in attendance, including Signe Ilstrup and Christine Midelfort, both teachers in our Language and Culture Program who have taught advanced Norwegian using his trilogy. Many people had not yet finished the last book, so everyone was careful to not reveal the ending of the mystery as Christine and Signe questioned Vidar about his protagonist, Lance Hanson, the choice of setting his story on the North Shore and the interest it has generated in Minnesotans and in particular, Norwegian-Americans. Questions from the audience kept the conversation going.
A down-to-earth Norwegian from a fairly remote area of Telemark, Vidar Sundstøl seems humbled by all the attention he has received, but has graciously taken it in stride. Sundstøl didn't have any books published until he was around forty and has worked at many different types of jobs, including house painter and road worker, but has wanted to write since he was a teenager and has always practiced his craft. He explained that when he moved to the North Shore (because his wife accepted a job there) he felt that the familiarity with the type of people living there (“they were my kind of people”) made him feel like he could write about them. That, along with a
very different or strange (for him) element made it an intriguing setting to write about. He made a connection to the supernatural aspects of the local Ojibwe Indian culture from his own roots in Telemark, an area known for tales of the supernatural. At one point Vidar said that at another book reading he had been to, someone about his own age who had grown up on the North Shore approached him and told him that he had never read anything that came closer to the atmosphere and feel of the North Shore than Vidar's Minnesota Trilogy, a most humbling compliment for any author to receive.
Vidar Sundstøl is publishing a new book this fall, which is set in his home in Telemark, Norway. We look forward to reading it and welcoming him back to Minnesota soon!
The University of Minnesota Press, who published Sundstøl's books in English, worked with our Steering Committee and Vidar to schedule and promote this event, as well as the Tour to the North Shore with Ingeborg Sorensen and Trillium Tours, LLC.