Peter Høeg

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Peter Høeg
Peter Høeg.jpg
Born (1957-05-17) 17 May 1957 (age 58)
Occupation Author
Nationality Danish
Period 1988–present
Genre Recent history

Peter Høeg (born 17 May 1957) is a Danish writer of fiction.

Early life[edit]

Høeg was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before becoming a writer, he worked variously as a sailor, ballet dancer and actor (in addition to fencing and mountaineering)—experiences that he uses in his novels. He received a Master of Arts in Literature from the University of Copenhagen in 1984.


Peter Høeg published his first novel, A History of Danish Dreams, in 1988 to very positive reviews. In the years that followed he wrote and published the short story collection Tales of Night, and four novels: Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow (1992), Borderliners (1993), The Woman and the Ape (1996), and The Quiet Girl (2006). It was Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow that earned Høeg immediate and international literary celebrity. His books are published in Denmark by Munksgaard/Rosinante, now a part of Blackwell Publishing, and have also been published in more than 30 other countries.

In 1993 he won the Danish booksellers award De Gyldne Laurbær (The Golden Laurel) and the Danish Critics Prize for Literature[1] for his book De måske egnede (English title: Borderliners).[2]

In 2014, his latest book, 'Effekten af Susan' [The Effect of Susan] was published in Denmark.

Høeg has a reputation for being hard to place in terms of literary style. All his works are stylistically very different from one another, and have been labelled postmodern, gothic, magical-realist, to mention a few. There is a red thread to be found, however, in terms of theme; Høeg's work often seems to deal with the consequences of the progress of civilisation.[3]

The Quiet Girl controversy[edit]

Always protective of his privacy[citation needed], Høeg virtually disappeared in 1996 after the lukewarm reception of The Woman and the Ape.[4] He resurfaced in 2006 with The Quiet Girl, his first novel in 10 years. At the time of its publication, reception in Denmark was mixed at best, and the novel was generally disregarded as being either too complex or too postmodern.[5]

Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad rose immediately to Høeg's defence, saying: "it surprises me that a novel written by someone of Peter Høeg’s calibre, with such great intelligence, so much thought and originality, should be treated to such outpourings of pettiness and virulence. How could such a rollicking, generous, open book be greeted with so much gravity and severity, such closed minds and again: in my broad-minded old Denmark?"[6]

In October 2007, the Danish literary critic Poul Behrendt published a book entitled Den Hemmelige Note: Ti kapitler om små ting der forandrer alt, in which he explains that the cold reception of the The Quiet Girl was due to its complexity and scope which the critics, according to Behrendt, didn't understand.[7][citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Høeg lives in Copenhagen and Jutland with his wife and three daughters.



  1. ^ Kritikerprisen
  2. ^ De Gyldne Laurbær
  3. ^ Egesholm, Christian. "Peter Høeg". Danish Literary Magazine. Fall 2007.[dead link]
  4. ^ written by Pia Andersen Høg in Dagbladet Information, 2011 (in Danish)
  5. ^ Juul, Marianne, (Translated by John Mason). "Peter Høeg: Breaks the Silence". Danish Literary Magazine. Fall 2006.[dead link]
  6. ^ Kjærstad, Jan. Politiken. 3 June 2006.
  7. ^ Skriver, Svend. Ekstra Bladet. "Oprejsning til Peter Høeg". 21 October 2007.[dead link]

External links[edit]