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#28230 - 14/02/05 02:28 PM Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


First, the bad news. Unfortunately we are not going to have pictures right away (they WILL be coming!) My editor Jenny and a very, very nice and very, very persistent receptionist at the hotel have worked hard all day to get me a broadband internet connection so I could lift pictures and you could all follow our Swedish adventure. At last they were successful only for me to discover that I have brought with me the cable for my MP3 player instead of my camera. So I can't transfer my pictures to the computer! When I go home, however, I will add them in then.

I arrived in Stockholm late yesterday afternoon and the big word here at the moment is SNOW! Half a meter of it! (18 inches) To those of you in the rest of the world, snow in Sweden in February probably sounds like a given, but Stockholm is on the coast and, in fact, this is the first real snowstorm they have had this winter. It makes the city very beautiful and I, of course, love snow, winter person that I am. However, it also made the flight in yesterday very exciting. The pilot kept saying, “It is snowing hard in Stockholm at the moment. We will see about landing . . .” So I spent much of the journey wondering what the alternatives might be! But we arrived safely and, indeed, quite smoothly.

Today it is still snowing. My hotel is right down by the harbour and overlooks many ships and boats moored along the quay and all of them are all marshmallow-y looking today. I am lucky because I am spending all day giving interviews right here in the hotel, so there is no driving around for me. Just wait until we have pictures!

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#28231 - 17/02/05 08:37 PM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, at last I am with a computer that works. So now, at last, I can share the pictures of my visit to Stockholm! I am afraid, however, they will go up about as fast as I experienced them, because there isn't much time for me to spend at the computer at the moment. But here is the start.

As I said above, the big word when I arrived was 'snow'. It was snowing so hard there was a real concern my plane might not be able to land and when it did, there was then the worry about whether or not we could get into the city. I was met by my editor, Nina, and we did manage to arrive at my hotel, which was a beautiful old hotel down on the harbour.

Here it is, Sunday night, just after I arrived. This is looking out the window of my hotel room at the harbour.

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It doesn't look like much snow . . .

But here we are the next morning, when you can see things a little better.

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There was about 18 inches/1/2 metre of snow and it was quite a change from home in Britain!

Here's a view of my hotel:

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And my very cold publicist, Jenny, waiting in the doorway!

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Jenny, like Erly in Indonesia, is my "minder" who sees that my interviews go well and makes sure I get food and coffee and other things that keep authors happy!

The first thing she did was get me out to the restaurant next door for a nice hot, filling meal of reindeer, moose and mushrooms in gravy with mashed potatoes to stoke me up, ready for all my interviews.

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Then we walked back through springtime in Stockholm.

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#28232 - 17/02/05 10:21 PM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


On Monday, I had interviews all day long at the hotel where I was staying. This was nice because I could stay nice and warm and look out at the beautiful snow and everyone else had to come to me.

The hotel was so beautiful inside. We used this room upstairs, overlooking the harbour.

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And here I am, after lunch, waiting for my next interview.

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After so many interviews and photographs, I began to get a little fed up with it all. So I started taking pictures of them
This is Ulla Montan, a well-known Swedish photographer who thought she was coming to take pictures of ME!

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#28233 - 18/02/05 07:25 AM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


Monday night was really special, because I was invited to have dinner at Hédi Fried's house. Hédi is a most amazing woman. She is Jewish and was born in Romania. She studied to be a teacher but during World War II, she was put on a transport to Auschwitz. Later, she was transferred to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. After liberation, her group of survivors were sent to Sweden, where she made her home. She married a fellow survivor, studied for a master's degree in psychology at Stockholm University and she has since devoted her life tirelessly to issues relating to the Holocaust, including therapy for child survivors and second generation survivors, and in later years she has moved into work more generally with the prevention of genocide and the trauma associated with genocide. Hédi has written several fascinating books about her life and her experiences and is just one very special, very astonishing woman, who at almost 81 travels more widely - Rwanda, Hiroshima, and in January, of course, the 60th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz - and addresses more conferences, both political and educational in a year than I do in five.

We met six years ago when I first came to Sweden and have been dear friends ever since. I can not put into words how much my friendship with Hédi means, so it is always so wonderful to spend time with her. She invited me for dinner at her house on St. Valentine's along with my former editor Jeanette, who is now working in audio books, and Jeanette's husband Charlie. The meal was fantastic and SO beautifully done. Hédi made us a special Jewish meal with four courses and that doesn't count the lovely nibbles before dinner and the cheese and fruit afterwards. I was very well fed!

Here we are, preparing to enjoy the main course. That's Hédi, tirelessly serving us!

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The orange casserole dish contained a very special Jewish dish from Hédi's childhood called "tsholent" (we discussed this and that is the Swedish spelling but it is probably different in English.) It is made of butter beans, kidney beans, barley and sometimes meat. Because Jews are not meant to do any work on the Sabbath, including cooking, this dish was usually served because it could be cooked in very low heat. So it would be made up the day before and then left in the oven after baking bread the day before, because as the old-fashioned bread oven cooled down, this was enough heat to cook it. I thought it was delicious and had three portions (which is maybe why I thought Hédi served us such a big meal!!)

But such a wonderful and special time. And here is a picture of Hédi and me together at the end of the meal.

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#28234 - 18/02/05 08:12 AM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


Tuesday morning and it was back to work. And back to more interviews sitting in my "working room" at the hotel, just as the day before.

Afternoon on Tuesday was exciting. My publishers, Natur och Kultur, have decided to make an audio book of TWLIGHT CHILDREN. This will be the first proper audio book ever may of my adult books. There have been in versions for the blind before and THE VERY WORST THING is a children's audio book, but none of my main books have been done in this format.

As this is Jeanette's department at the publishing house, she met me for lunch and took me to one of the most special restaurants in Stockholm, the Gondolan. Here is a picture from the outside, which lets you know immediately why it is special. Yes, it is right up there in that long arm out to the the clock tower!!

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As you can imagine, the view is fantastic and where I was sitting, I had a very enjoyable time watching the ferry from Helsinki arrive and dock below me (and hoping you were on it, Sari!)

It is also a very high quality restaurant with a proud chef, so we have a real gourmet meal!

There were four of us at the meal - Jeanette, who is across from me, her daughter Nina, who is sitting next to Jeanette, and Susanna Lundbladh, who is sitting next to me. Nina is going to be a very important person to us here because she is going to be our translator. (If Tinker ever catches up!!) She is in the process of producing a Swedish version of this website. Susanna is "me" in that she is going to be the actress reading TWILIGHT CHILDREN for the audio book. I got to hear a little bit of what she has already done and it's wonderful. She has a lovely dark, quiet, calming voice. Just right!

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And back to work. Jeanette decided that the audio book would sound best if I would read an introduction myself and also read the epilogue, so that listeners could also hear my voice. I wasn't very excited about this, because I do not like reading aloud, but . . . !!

Fortunately, the audio studios are manned by three very funny, very great guys who had us all laughing so hard I needed to do many takes. But we had a good time.

Here's me, trying not to make a mess of things!

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And me still shut away, still trying not to make a mess of things!! (Don't ask me what that candle is all about!)

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And at last we were done. Tonight I have the Kulturhuset appearance. This is the centrepiece of my visit to Sweden - the real reason I have been invited - so Jeanette and I decided to walk back to my hotel through the old city as a way of relaxing and getting some fresh air before all the excitement.

Stockholm is a very beautiful city and the old part, most of which dates from the 1600s and 1700s is lovely.

Here is one of the old streets near the castle:
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And this is looking across one of the many harbours!

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#28235 - 19/02/05 08:59 AM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ah, and then it was the big night itself - my appearance at the Kulturhuset.

My "speaking partner" is Helena von Zweigbergk, She is a journalist and author too (Here is a little more about Helena: Helena
Helena's job was to ask questions and facilitate the discussion. She decided that she wanted me to read a chapter from the book, as this would give the audience a feel for TWILIGHT CHILDREN and she thought they would also enjoy hearing the author's voice reading the book. Then she would ask some questions and then the audience could particiapte,

Backstage Helena and I became quite nervous. This is unusual for me. I suspect we sort of "hyped" each other up. I was also worried about reading aloud because I don't like doing it. Jenny, my publicist, did not help things by telling us that the tickets had sold out and it was a full house. So here are Helena and I backstage, making each other very nervous!

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And then we were on and as always happens, it turns out to be really fun. The crowd, which was about 450, were wonderfully responsive. As you can see, I had no trouble relaxing!!

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Afterwards, people brought their books up for signing.
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And here is our Tola!

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#28236 - 19/02/05 10:08 AM Re: Torey's Visit to Sweden
Anonymous
Unregistered


Finally it is the last day. I have more interviews again in my hotel in the morning and a TV program for Channel 4 called "Kalla fakta". Unfortunately, the interviewer Mr. Petterson was very ill with flu, so we were not able to do this one.

And then at lat our other big event, the book-signing at Akademibkhandln in central Stockholm. Akademibkhandln i Sweden's biggest booktore and it is HUGE!! I will be giving my talk and signing books in amongst huge stacks of books, a they are just preparing for their big annual book sale.

Everyone from my publisher, Natur och Kultur, were there. Here together are two of my very most special people on this tour of Sweden: Jeanette on the left, me and Jenny, my publicist on the right.

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And we are "backtage" again at the bookshop. This is Ingewar, the person from Akademibkhandln who has organized things for us there. (And no, I am not smoking! I'm signing more books!)

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(I see I haven't managed to lift the picture to the net of the booksigning itself - we'll have to wait and I will add it in.)

And last, but not least, here is our little THBB reunion at the end of the book-signing with Swedish members Tola, Sofia and Lexius.

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I had a wonderful time in Sweden. It is such a lovely, friendly country. This time we made many plans for me to come back and next time I hope to spend some time in Swedish schools, which I would like very much. So I will look forward to that.

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