Nº77 Per PettersonNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Per Petterson is a Norwegian novelist born in 1952 in Oslo. He knew from the age of 18 that he wanted to be a writer but didn’t embark on this career for many years.
Educated as a librarian, Petterson worked as a bookstore clerk, translator and literary critic and even a factory worker, before becoming a full-time writer. His debut book, the short story collection Ashes in the Mouth, Sand in the Shoes (Aske i munnen, sand i skoa) was published in 1987, when Petterson was 35.
In 1990, the year following the publication of his first novel, Echoland, Pettersen’s family was struck by tragedy – his mother, father, brother and nephew were killed in a fire onboard the ferry Scandinavian Star. This catastrophe killed 159 people or one-third of all passengers on board. Official investigation determined that the fire was caused by a convicted arsonist who was on board and died in the blaze.
Petterson later went on to write a story about a man losing his family in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster called In the wake (Kjølvannet)
Although Petterson had experienced some success with his first books, his big brakethough as a writer was in 2003 with the publication of his 6th book Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester). Petterson won many awards for that book. For example the 2007 International Dublin Literary Award which rewarded him the world’s largest monetary literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English, €100,000. That same year, the book was named one of the 10 best books of the year in the New York Times Book Review.
Out Stealing Horses was adapted into a screenplay, and in 2019 a movie was made directed by Hans Petter Moland, starring Stellan Skarsgård.
Per Petterson’s books have been translated into almost 50 languages and he is considered one of Norway’s greatest authors. He lives with his wife and their many animals in the countryside of Norway close to the border to Sweden.
1987 – Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes (Aske i munnen, sand i skoa) – translated into English by Don Bartlett, 2013
1989 – Echoland (Ekkoland) translated into English by Don Bartlett, 2016
1992 – It’s Fine By Me (Det er greit for meg) – translated into English by Don Bartlett, 2012
1996 – To Siberia (Til Sibir) – translated into English by Anne Born, 1999
2000 – In the Wake (I kjølvannet) – translated into English by Anne Born, 2007
2003 – Out Stealing Horses (Ut og stjæle hester ) – translated into English by Anne Born, 2007
2004 – Månen over Porten
2008 – I Curse the River of Time (Jeg forbanner tidens elv) – translated into English by Charlotte Barslund, 2010
2012 – I refuse (Jeg nekter) – translated into English by Don Bartlett, 2015
2018 – Men in My Situation (Menn i min situasjon) – translated into English by Ingvild Burkey, 2021