Popular Norwegian Authors
Take a walk around just about anywhere in Norway, from city centers to small towns, and you’ll find many of the locals carrying or reading a book. Norway is undeniably a country of book lovers and there is no better way to prepare yourself for a visit than by indulging in a little bit of Norwegian literature. Here are a few of the authors we recommend!
In this country of book lovers you will even find a small town that more books than it does people. "The book town" Fjærland has a population of about 280 people and is home to around 150,000 books. From roadside stands, to libraries to second-hand shops, you’ll find novels just about everywhere in this small town.
Not surprisingly, many famous writers have emerged from Norway. Here is a list of some of the top Norwegian authors from Norway.
Henrik Ibsen might be Norway’s most popular author. The Norwegian playwright and author, born in 1828, wrote a number of popular plays including Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People, Emperor and Galilean, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, The Wild Duck, When We Dead Awaken, Rosmersholm, and The Master Builder. However, A Doll’s House is perhaps Ibsen’s most popular and well-known play and was incredibly controversial when it was first published.
Scandinavians are known for writing great crime novels. An entire genre called Nordic Noir was established in the 1990s to account for this. Nordic Noir or Scandanavian Noir is a genre of crime fiction set in Scandinavia or one of the other Nordic countries and is usually written from a detective’s point of view.
Jo Nesbø, born in 1964, wrote the wildly popular Harry Hole detective series that fits squarely into this genre. The series has sold over 23 million copies worldwide. This thrilling series will give you a great taste of life in Norway as you wait to visit yourself!
Is an award (incl. the Independent Foreign Fiction Price) winning author from Oslo, most known for the book «Ut og stjæle hester» («Out stealing horses»). His tone is low-key, realistic, poetic and profound leaving it to the reader to assign meaning and interpretations to dialogue and action. He has a special knack for conveying dramatic events and emotions in subtle language and gestures. In many ways, Petterson is an archetypical Norwegian artist.
Has been called «the new Ibsen», certainly a comparison he’d rather be without! However, as maybe the preeminent Scandinavian playwright of his time, it is perhaps an inevitable one. Internationally, his plays, like Melancholia, have earned him the most plaudits, but he’s also a prolific poet and writer of novels and short stories. Fosse is from Strandebarm in Hardanger, and despite the origin in such a «romantic» setting his works are characterized by introspection and stark realism.
Those who are more interested in poetry than prose might like the works of Inger Hagerup. Born in 1905, Hagerup was the daughter of two celebrated Norwegian authors. Hagerup is considered one of the greatest Norwegian poets of the 20th century. Her literary debut was a collection of poetry called I Got Lost in the Woods and is a great place to start your reading!
Jostein Gaarder is a Norwegian intellectual and author who often writes from the perspective of children. His most popular novel is Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy which was released in 1991. The story follows Sophie, a Norwegian teenager, who is introduced to philosophy by a middle-aged philosopher. It has sold over 40 million copies worldwide.
Knut Hamsun is another of Norway’s most well-known authors. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920 and wrote a variety of different pieces; from novels to poetry to short stories and plays. Hunger, a story about a starving young writer in Norway, is one of his most popular works. Towards the end of his career, Hamsun’s relationship with Hitler’s Nazi regime substantially damaged his reputation with the literary community. To this day, Hamsun remains a controversial figure in Norway’s literary history.
If you are itching to board your flight to Norway, we don’t blame you! One way to pass the time while you wait to begin your Norwegian adventure is to immerse yourself in Norwegian literary history with some leisure reading. Whether you are looking for a thrilling crime series or romantic-era poetry, you’ll be sure to find a great Norwegian author to suit your tastes!