Author Talk with Elin Anna Labba of The Rocks Will Echo Our Sorrow

Book Details: “The Rocks Will Echo Our Sorrow: The Forced Displacement of the Northern Sámi” by Author Elin Anna Labba, translated by Fiona Graham, shares a profound and personal story through history, poetry, and images. Labba’s remarkable blend of historical reportage, memoir, and lyrical reimagining takes you to the lost homeland of her ancestors in northern Norway and Sweden, unraveling the forced displacement of the Indigenous Sámi in the early twentieth century. Through stories, photographs, letters, and joik lyrics, Elin Anna Labba has meticulously gathered a chorus of Sámi expression that resonates across the years. The book depicts a hard life, reindeer lost when they turn north towards former lands, children left with relatives and then stay behind, and the immense hardships endured by those compelled to abandon their nomadic lifestyle. A chorus of voices emerges from those who can no longer tell their stories, portraying the grief that is silenced but still carried on.
“In 2023 the book was translated into English by Fiona Graham and published by University of Minnesota Press under the title The Rocks Will Echo Our Sorrow: The Forced Displacement of the Northern Sámi. The Gentlemen Put Us Here is the literal translation of the Swedish title, however, a different name was chosen for the English translation of the work.
The same year the original was published, it was also translated into Northern Sámi under the title Hearrát dat bidje min: bággojohtimiid birra and from Swedish to Norwegian Bokmål in 2021 as Herrene sendte oss hit: om tvangsflyttingen av samene.”

About the Author & Speaker:
Elin Anna Labba, a Sámi author and journalist born in Kiruna, Sweden, debuted in 2020 with “Herrarna satte oss hit: om tvångsförflyttningarna i Sverige” (“The Gentlemen Put Us Here: About the Forced Relocations in Sweden”). The book, exploring the forced migration of the Sámi from Norway to Sweden, earned her prestigious awards, including the August Prize in 2020 and the Norrland Literature Prize in 2021. Labba, a University of Gothenburg graduate, currently serves as a project manager at the writer’s center Tjállegoahte in Jokkmokk, Sweden. Beyond Swedish, her work has been translated into Northern Sámi and Norwegian Bokmål, and she was honored with the Hedevind Plaquette in 2022.

Partners: Drury Lane Books, Grand Marais Public Library, CARE, and Cook County Higher Education.

Upcoming Elin Anna Labba Events:


Fiona Graham reads from Elin Anna Labba’s HERRARNA SATTE OSSE HIT (University of Minnesota Press) Video –

The Indigenous World 2024: Sápmi –