Sigrid Undset (1882–1949), Norwegian novelist, essayist, and Catholic convert, was born in Denmark, the eldest daughter of a Norwegian father and a Danish mother. She converted to Catholicism in 1924 and became a lay Dominican. Undset’s many published works include the novels Mrs. Marta Oulie, The Happy Age, Gunnar’s Daughter, and Kristin Lavransdatter, her most famous work. In 1928, she received the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the third woman to be so honored.
Undset was an outspoken critic of Nazism and fled to Brooklyn, New York, upon the German occupation of Norway. She returned to her homeland in 1945 and two years later was awarded Norway’s highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav, for her “distinguished literary work and for service to her country.”