Jan Sonnergaard

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Jan Sonnergaard (2014)

Jan Sonnergaard (15 August 1963—21 November 2016)[1][2] was a Danish writer.

Early life and education[edit]

Sonnergaard was born in Copenhagen,[3] grew up in Virum.[4] He had a MA in comparative literature and philosophy from the University of Copenhagen and a year at the Freie Universität Berlin from 1991-92.


His literary debut was in 1997 with the acclaimed collection of short stories Radiator, published by Gyldendal. The second volume of his trilogy of short stories, Last Sunday in October was published in 2000, and the third volume, I am still afraid of Caspar Michael Petersen, was published in 2003. In 2009, he published his first novel, About The Atomic Bomb’s Influence on the Youth of Vilhelm Funk, and since then he published novels and collections of short stories, as well as a play, and he has written numerous articles, features and op-eds in various newspapers and magazines, primarily Politiken.

Thematically, Sonnergaard's work is a criticism of the meaninglessness and monotony of life in modern Denmark. He writes in a very direct and often provocative language that vividly depicts violence, alcohol and eroticism. His literature is always a comment on his time, and his work is always a direct comment on contemporary life. The perspective is male, often with a retrospective glance at the years of Sonnergaard’s own youth or a visit to a foreign country. Sonnergaard’s first novel, About The Atomic Bomb’s Influence on the Youth of Vilhelm Funk is about the way the nuclear threat of the cold war was a subconscious motivation for many people’s lifestyle in the 1980s and how the yuppies and the punks lived each day as if it was their last.

Jan Sonnergaard’s work has been translated into Icelandic, Norwegian, German, Czech, Italian, Dutch, and Serbo-Croatian. He has also contributed more than ten short stories for the two American magazines: Absinthe and Metamorphoses. In 2015, Sonnergaard was appointed by the two Danish authors’ associations to sit on the Arts Foundation's Committee for Literature from 2016-2020.


Sonnergaard died in Belgrade of a heart attack, on 21 November 2016, while being there in order to promote his books. He was found dead in an apartment, where he was staying.[2]


  • Radiator, short stories, 1997
  • Last Sunday in October, short stories, 2000
  • I'm still afraid of Caspar Michael Petersen, short stories, 2003
  • About The Atomic Bomb’s Influence on the Youth of Vilhelm Funk, novel, 2009
  • Old Stories, short stories, 2009
  • Eight Edifying Tales of Love and Food and Foreign Cities, short stories, 2013
  • Freezing Wet Roads, novel, 2015

Awards and grants[edit]

Jan Sonnergaard received several grants from the Danish Arts Foundation, including the three-year scholarship in 2005. He received the Jytte Borberg scholarship, Henri Nathan’s Grant, Harald Kiddes and Astrid Ehrencron-Kiddes Grant and LO’s Culture Prize.[5]


  1. ^ Smith, Rikke (21 November 2016). "Jan Sonnergaard er død". Københavns Bibiliteker. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Forfatteren Jan Sonnergaard er død" (in Danish). Politiken. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ "METAMORPHOSES -journal of literary translation-".
  4. ^ "Jan Sonnergaard". Gyldendal. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  5. ^ "FAKTA: Sonnergaard blev den rå realismes talsmand" (in Danish). Kristeligt Dagblad. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.