Alexandra Grabbe and Michelle Hoover discuss The Nansen Factor

Event date: 
Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - 7:00pm

Join Us for Alexandra Grabbe and Michelle Hoover's discussion of The Nansen Factor

On Tuesday, June 18th at 7 PM


"A compassionate rendering of acclimation and its many challenges." -- Booklist

This bold debut collection of stories follows the lives of those displaced by the Bolshevik Revolution and their descendants, shining a light on the lasting impact of displacement and the resiliency of the human spirit.

Norwegian diplomat Fridtjof Nansen created a passport for stateless persons used by refugees as a valid travel document from 1922-1937. The world is all too aware of what has happened to Russia in the century since then--Lenin, Stalin, and now Putin with his iron-fist policies and invasion of Ukraine. But what about the aristocrats whose ancestors governed Russia before Communism? How did they fare in displacement? Civil War, Red Terror, and Bolshevik rule caused over one million to flee Russia. Written by the daughter of one such migr , The Nansen Factor traces the lives of these refugees and their descendants across a century of upheaval and displacement. From the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution to the echoes of the past in modern-day America, these interconnected tales vividly portray the resilience of individuals uprooted by history at a moment when migrants are once again on the move in search of refuge, highlighting how the pain of losing one's homeland may fade, but the injury to the psyche is slow to heal.


After graduation from Vassar College, Alexandra Grabbe worked in journalism and broadcasting while raising three bicultural children in Paris, France. For two decades, she ran an eco-friendly bed-and-breakfast in Wellfleet where she blogged about living green on Cape Cod and edited her father’s memoir, Émigré, 95 Years in the Life of a Russian Count. Now dividing her time between Sweden and Boston, Alexandra continues her lifelong passion as an author. Find her recent work in The Washington Post, Next Avenue, and Washington Independent Review of Books at


Michelle Hoover is co-founder and current leader of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University, a fellow at MacDowell, Bread Loaf, and Sewanee Writers Conferences, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Her debut, The Quickening, was a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award "Must Read," a finalist for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and one of Susan Straight's 1001 "Library of America" Novels featured in the L.A. Times. Her second novel, Bottomland, was the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection and a 2016 Mass Book "Must Read." She runs the popular podcast, The 7am Novelist, granting access to MFA-level writing advice for all writers. She lives in Boston and on the island of Cyprus. For more, go to

Event address: 
79 Leonard St
Belmont, MA 02478
Ticketed Event: 
The Nansen Factor: Refugee Stories By Alexandra Grabbe Cover Image
ISBN: 9798887195094
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cherry Orchard Books - May 14th, 2024

Over one million refugees left Russia at the Bolshevik Revolution. The pain of losing one's homeland may fade, but the psyche is slow to heal. The Nansen Factor shines a light on the lives of some of these refugees.

Age Group(s): 
Adult (19 - Boomer)