Friday, June 1, 2012


Midwest Writing Center introduces LillySetterdahl, June’s featured author of the month. Lilly is an authority on Sweden and the Titanic. She has published sixteen books, fifteen in English and one in Swedish. Her first book was published in 1981 by Augustana College and was entitled Swedish American Newspapers. She has had books published each of the past three years. Chicago Swedes: They Spoke From the Heart was published in 2010; Hero of theTitanic, the sequel to her novel Maiden of the Titanic, was published in 2011; and Not My Timeto Die: Titanic and the Swedes on Board was published recently in 2012.

Not My Time to Die is a nonfiction book about the Swedes on board the Titanic who made up the third largest ethnic group among the ship’s passengers. It was published on April 15, 2012, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Lilly says she decided to write the book while she was working on Hero of the Titanic because nobody outside of Sweden had written a book about the Swedes aboard the Titanic and because she was encouraged by Titanic scholars to write such a book. The book is ideal for anyone interested in the Titanic, the Swedish people, or both. It describes what happened with the Titanic, Sweden’s condition in 1912, and the reasons the Swedish passengers decided to make the trip. Profiles of each of the 123 Swedish passengers and the stories of the 34 Swedish survivors are covered through the some one hundred pages of Not My Time to Die. The work contains a wealth of new information including material previously unknown to English-speakers which Lilly translated and stories about third-class passengers who have received little media attention.
Lilly started writing as a new bride in Sweden in the 1950s. She was inspired by a local writer who had a first novel published which was made into a film. This led to an article published in a woman’s magazine for which Lilly won first prize. When not writing, Lilly enjoys research and travelling to visit family. Lilly offers this advice for aspiring authors: “Find a subject that will attract readers. Take classes and attend workshops. Be prepared to work long hours. Don’t forget what you have already written before proceeding. Keep notes or copies of your research. Back up your files.” Lilly also expresses appreciation for MWC who published her Maiden of the Titanic and Hero of the Titanic novels. She says she has “enjoyed the guidance of the Midwest Writing Center and the fellowship with the board, the members, and other writers.”

Please join the Lilly on June 13th at 7 p.m. at the Bettendorf Public Library where she will be reading as part of the Bettendorf Public Library's and Midwest Writing Center's Read Local series. This event is free. Not my Time to Die is availablefor sale on

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