Elizabeth Birkelund, "A Northern Light in Provence"

Lost in Translation: An Evening with Elizabeth Birkelund


From the icy shores of Greenland to the sun-drenched landscapes of Provence, acclaimed author Elizabeth Birkelund weaves a tale of love, language, and self-discovery. Join us to explore the enchanting world of A Northern Light in Provence.


A woman leaves her coastal Greenland village to translate the works of a renowned Provençal poet and finds her life irrevocably changed, in this tender and romantic novel set in a French village.

Ilse Erlund is a translator who lives in a house on stilts along the west coast of Greenland. Isolated and restless in her world by the sea, she convinces her publisher to pay for a trip to the country she has never visited but whose language she speaks fluently: France. Her mission is to translate the verses of Geoffrey “Po” Labaye, a charismatic poet known as “the last living troubadour of Provence.”

Upon arrival in the medieval hilltop village of Belle Rivière, Ilse falls under the spell of the Provençal way of life, captivated by the air, the sun, the vibrant spring colors, and the dulcet sounds of the dialect. Soon enough, Ilse is captivated by the poet, too, and she and Po develop a daily rhythm and warm camaraderie—which is disrupted by the arrival of the poet’s son, Frey. Though he has a fiancée back in Paris, Frey turns his attentions to Ilse, and suddenly she is forced to learn another language, one her translation skills have not prepared her to decode. Where—and with whom—does her future lie?

With an eye and ear attuned to the sensibilities of French life, Elizabeth Birkelund has created a love story about a woman forced to choose between the security of her quiet northern home and the possibility of the life of her dreams.

Elizabeth Birkelund is the author of two previous novels, The Runaway Wife and The Dressmaker. She started her career in the editorial department of European Travel and Life magazine, then turned to freelance writing as a monthly personal finance columnist for Cosmopolitan. She has written for numerous national publications, including Glamour, Self, Working Woman, and Victoria. You may follow her work and travels on Instagram and Facebook.

Elizabeth Birkelund
Event date: 
Friday, June 7, 2024 - 5:00pm EDT
Event address: 
41 Main Street
East Hampton, NY 11937
A Northern Light in Provence: A Novel By Elizabeth Birkelund Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593722213
Availability: On Our Shelves; Typically Ships in 1 - 2 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - May 21st, 2024