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Sat, Nov 16


Nordia House

Big in Sweden Book Talk

Sally Franson, reality TV star and famed author, will talk about the importance of finding your roots, traveling from Copenhagen to the Arctic Circle, the unexpected gift of reality TV, and turning life into art.

Big in Sweden Book Talk
Big in Sweden Book Talk

Time & Location

Nov 16, 2024, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Nordia House, 8800 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223, USA



Nordic Northwest Members: $15

General Admission: $20

Youth (12 and under): $10

Arts for All: $5


A few years ago, Sally Franson was working on her second novel, but she felt stuck and uninspired. When an opportunity to try out for a Swedish genealogical TV show arose, she decided to take a break from the stalled novel and give it a shot, figuring nothing would come of it. But not only was she cast on the show — Sweden’s most popular program — she WON. Her dazzling and hilarious second novel, Big In Sweden, springs from this once-ina-lifetime experience, following an American woman on the brink of midlife competing in a Swedish reality show to discover her roots and figure out how to make a family.

Sally Franson is a world class entertainer. She can finesse a serio-comic moment in a way that leaves you catching your breath. Deft and delicious, this book is a flat out delight machine. A heart opener, a page turner, and a true ‘originell!' I laughed out loud, I ugly cried, and I never, ever wanted it to end." -- Meg Ryan, actor, writer, director

About Big in Sweden:

Paulie Johansson has never put much stock in the idea of family: she has her long-term boyfriend Declan and beloved best friend Jemma, and that’s more than enough for her. Yet one night on a lark, she lets Jemma convince her to audition for Sverige och Mig, a show on Swedish television where Swedish-Americans compete to win the ultimate prize: a reunion with their Swedish relatives. Much to her shock, her drunken submission video wins her a spot on the show, and against Declan’s advice Paulie decides to go for it.

Armed with her Polaroid camera, a beat-up copy of Pippi Longstocking, and an unquenchable sense of possibility, Paulie hops on a plane to Sweden and launches into the contest with seven other Americans, all under the watchful eye of a camera crew. At first, Paulie is certain that she and her competitors have nothing in common besides their passports and views their bloodthirsty ambitions with suspicion. Yet amid the increasingly absurd challenges—rowing from Denmark to Sweden in the freezing rain, battling through obstacle courses, competing in a pickled herring eating contest—Paulie finds herself rethinking her snap judgments about her fellow countrymen, while her growing attachment to her Swedish roots increases her resolve to win the competition herself.

Grappling with long-held notions of family, friendship, and love—not to mention her feelings for the distractingly handsome Swedish cameraman who’s been assigned to follow her around—Paulie starts to reconsider her past and rethink what she wants for the future. A fish-out-of-water tale filled with warmth, optimism, and wit, Big in Sweden is at its heart a love story: love for family, friends, country, and—most importantly—oneself.

About Sally Franson:

Sally Franson is the author of the novel A Lady's Guide to Selling Out. Her second novel, Big in Sweden, will be published in summer 2024 by Mariner Books. Meg Ryan is currently developing a screen adaptation of A Lady’s Guide with Netflix and Anonymous Content. Sally was a 2022 cast member of Allt för Sverige, a Swedish reality TV show about finding your roots. She lives in Minneapolis.

Refunds: All ticket sales are final.


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