Sandra Kalniete, born in 1952, is a Latvian politician, author, diplomat and independence movement leader. Her political career began in the Latvian Popular Front, where she was secretary general. Later she served her country as the ambassador to the United Nations and France. She served as Foreign Minister of Latvia (2002–2004) and as European Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries in 2004. Since 2009, she has served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the European People's Party. She is the author of four works of nonfiction. Kalniete's most notable book is With Dancing Shoes in Siberian Snows, a book about the deportation of her family to Siberia during the Stalin era and her family’s efforts to return to their home country, first published in 2001. When published in French in 2003 as En escarpins dans les neiges de Sibérie, it was nominated for the documentary book of the month by the readers of Elle magazine. Since its publishing, it has been translated into more than ten languages.
Prjaņiks. Debesmannā. Tiramisū. [Gingerbread. Sweet-porridge. Tiramisu], Riga: Zelta grauds 2012.
Ar balles kurpēm Sibīrijas sniegos [With Dancing Shoes in Siberian Snows], Riga: Atēna, 2001
Es lauzu, tu lauzi, mēs lauzām. Viņi lūza [I broke, you broke, we broke. They fell apart]. Riga: Jumava, 2000.
Latviešu tekstilmāksla [Latvian Textile Art]. Riga: Liesma, 1989.
Translations of With Dancing Shoes in Siberian Snows
Albanian: "Këpucë balerine mbi dëborën siberiane". Transl.: Durim Taçe. Skopje, Macedonia: Shkupi (2010).
French: En escarpins dans les neiges de Sibérie. Transl.: Velta Skujina. Paris, France: Editions des Syrtes, 2003.
German: Mit Ballschuhen im sibirischen Schnee. Transl.: Matthias Knoll. München, Germany: Herbig Verlag, 2005.
Italian: Scarpette da ballo nelle nevi di Siberia. Transl.: G. Weiss. Milano, Italy: Libri Scheiwiller, 2005.
Japanese: Dansu shûzu de yuki no Shiberia e. Transl.: Ayumi Kurosawa. Tôkyô: Shinhyôron, 2014.
Czech: V plesových střevíčkách sibiřským sněhem. Transl.: Michal Škrabal. Praha, Czech Republic: Lubor Kasal, 2005.
Swedish: Med högklackade skor i Sibiriens snö. Transl.: Juris Kronbergs. Stockholm, Sweden: Atlantis, 2005.
English: With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows. Transl.: Margita Gailītis. Riga, Latvia: The Latvian Occupation Museum Association, 2006.
Russian: В бальных туфельках по сибирским снегам. Riga, Latvia: Atēna, 2006.
Finnish: Tanssikengissä Siperiaan. Transl.: Hilkka Koskela. Helsinki, Finland: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, 2007.
Dutch: Op dansschoenen in de Siberische sneeuw. Transl.: Marijke Koekoek. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Uitgeverij van Gennep, 2006.
Books to fall for
A Small Mound
A Small Mound (Cinītis)
The book’s title A Small Mound derives from a Latvian saying “A small mound fells a giant load”, expressing a sentiment similar to “Great oaks from little acorns grow”, and it leads the reader into the recent past – to the 1990s – when, like a phoenix from the ashes, the Latvian foreign service was reborn. The work abounds with humour, healthy self-criticism and self-irony, recalling a time when Latvia, only having recently regained independence, had to build up a diplomatic service from virtually nothing. The book vividly describes the first awkward steps in learning about international protocol as well as the adoption of historically significant decisions for the country, right up to the present day. Some episodes reveal the difficulties faced by Kalniete and her colleagues, such as the diplomatic tussle in France over the restitution of property belonging to the state of Latvia, and attempts to promote the recognizability of the state. Based on personal experiences, this book discloses new incidents, until now not known to the broader public, and also expands on already known facts from the viewpoint of a politician. It’s not quite history yet, but it’s the details, the bits and pieces in the background which, when merged together, create the material from which researchers at some later date will distill history.
Contact: Renāte Punka, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Small Mound
Rīga, Jāņa Rozes apgāds
All rights available
About With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows // Kirkus Reviews [EN]
About With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows // Jānis Roze publishing [EN; LV]Reviews
Jessica LeTourneur, review of With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows // Thee Percent, University of Rochester [EN]
Paul Gould, review of With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows // Financial Times [EN]
2012, Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 2nd degree (Estonia)
2009, Fondation Mérite Européen gold medal for promoting a stronger and more unified Europe
2009, Medal of the Baltic Assembly, for organizing and coordinating the Baltic Way manifestation.
2005, The Grand Cross of Commander, the Cross of Merit (Latvia)
2004, The Grand Cross of Commander, the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gedeminas (Lithuania)
2002, Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Palmes académiques (France)
2001, Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur (France)
2000, Cabinet of Ministers Award (Latvia)
1995, Commander of the Three Stars Order (Latvia)