Sigrid Undset Country
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928, Sigrid Undset (1882-1949) still enjoys an international audience. She lived and wrote about this area in central Norway and was known for her novels about Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. Her Kristin Lavransdatter became an international bestseller. Her books have been translated into all the major languages of the world. Undset wrote 36 books and was a great storyteller who was particularly adept at exploring human psychology.
Born in Denmark the same year as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, Undset came to Norway at age 2, where in time she devoured Norse sagas, finding inspiration for her later work.
In 1919, she moved to Lillehammer, after a life in Oslo, the subject of many of her novels. An outspoken critic of Nazi Germany, she fled in April 1940, when the Germans invaded her country. She went to neutral Sweden, not wanting to be taken hostage by the Germans. In the 1940s, she came to the United States to plead her occupied country's cause. Upon her return to Norway in 1945, she lived for another 4 years but never wrote another word.
You can recapture some of the atmosphere of Undset's prize-winning trilogy, Kristin Lavransdatter, by visiting the Jørundgard Middelalder Senter at Sel (tel. 61-23-37-00). This medieval farm was re-created in 1995 for the Liv Ullmann film Kristin Lavransdatter. The film helped put Undset back on the Norwegian cultural map, especially among young people.
The farm lies in Nord-Sel, 15km (9 1/4 miles) north of Otta, which is reached along E6. The center consists of 16 buildings and a consecrated stave church. You can join in a guided tour and taste foods of the Middle Ages. The center (tel. 61-23-37-00) is open for guided tours, costing NOK90 ($18/£9), daily from 10am to 5pm from June to mid-August.