"Word Power" at House of Sweden Wednesday, Oct. 30

Many Scandinavian artists are known for their dark, despairing aesthetics—Knut Hamsun and Ingmar Bergman come to mind—but Stig Dagerman may challenge that reputation. Celebrated for the humanity and hope that drove his work, the prolific Swedish novelist, poet, and journalist was one of Europe’s most acclaimed writers when he committed suicide in 1954. Long out of print, Dagerman’s works are now being revisited, thanks largely to the efforts of his daughter Lo Dagerman, National Book Award-winning local novelist Alice McDermott, bestselling nonfiction author Mark Kurlansky, and translator Steven Hartman. In honor of the upcoming publication of four of Dagerman’s works in English, the Writer’s Center, in collaboration with the Swedish Embassy, hosts “Word Power: The Writings of Stig Dagerman,” a discussion of Dagerman’s work with the players who brought it back to life. Lo Dagerman will present the short documentary Our Need for Consolation, based on her father’s autobiographical essay about his struggles with depression and writer’s block, and McDermott and Kurlansky will discuss their relationship with Dagerman’s words, a fitting tribute, no doubt, for the author who can no longer speak for himself. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. at House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW. Free. (301) 654-8664. writer.org.

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