A Warm Sundsvall Welcome

By Barbara Theroux, President of Friends of the Library

Yesterday, as our group traveled from Stockholm to Sundsvall, I realized that we are in Sweden at an interesting time: All the major Swedish newspapers front page headlines (and in some cases) the entire front page covered the news of internationally-acclaimed crime writer Henning Mankell’s death.

This news, at the same time the winners of the Nobel Prize are being announced, with the most anticipated prize being the one for literature.

The literary genre, “Nordic noir,” exists in part because of Mankell, and informed the writing of one of the most popular Scandinavian authors, Stieg Larsson.  Swedish authors have gained a wide audience in the U.S.  Our hosts from Kulturmagasinet in Sundsvall organized a short historic walking tour of the town square followed by a lovely

Our welcome dinner with culure, library, museum, and government leaders in Sundsvall. Photo by Logan Castor Parson.

Our welcome dinner with culture, library, museum, and government leaders in Sundsvall. Photo by Logan-Castor Parson.

dinner.  Combining nine Americans and six Swedes made for wonderful conversations.  At my table we talked about Pipi, Elsbeth, Ove and the 100-year-old man–which led to a discussion of the Swedish vs American versions of the movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  I learned that the Swedes very much regretted not being able to see, hear and meet 2013’s Nobel Prize for Literature winner, as her health did not allow her to travel and accept the award in person.  But, I was able to tell them that Alice Munro, whom I’ve met, was a wonderful, gracious person and writer.

Kulturmagasinet in autumn light. Photo by Logan Castor Parson.

Kulturmagasinet in autumn light. Photo by Logan Castor-Parson.

Prior to the trip, I had been looking forward to seeing the Kulturmagasinet–several warehouses together under one roof, similar to the concept we’re exploring in Missoula. This provides  a free space for all ages to learn, experience, and come together–while also hosting an annual book festival and various outreach programs.

It is wonderful to be part of this trip, but even more exciting to be a part of bringing “All Under One Roof” into reality in Missoula.

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