Janne Teller

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Janne Teller (born 8 April 1964) is a Danish writer of fiction.


Janne Teller's literature, consisting of mainly novels and essays, but also short stories – as well as various works for young adults – always focuses on larger existential perspectives of life and human civilization and often sparks controversial and heated debates. She has received many literary awards, and her work is translated over 13 languages (as of August 2011).[1]

Janne Teller’s novels cover a wide variety of contemporary and philosophical issues.[1] They include the highly praised modern Nordic saga Odin’s Island (1999), dealing with religious and political fanaticism; Europa (2004), about European identity and the binds of history in love and war; and Come (2008), about ethics in art and modern life. Her essays cover existential and ethical perspectives of modern life, and include ‘Between the Lines’ (Lettre International, 2012), "Europe, who do you want to be?" (Die Welt, 2012) and 'Little Brother is watching you' (Cicero, 2010).

She's furthermore thought to have revolutionized the young adult novel with her existential Nothing (Danish Intet), first published in Denmark in 2000, earned critical acclaim and caused widespread controversy in Scandinavia.[2] It was initially banned,[citation needed] but has since risen as an international bestseller and is today considered a neo-classic by numerous critics worldwide. The novel's main character, the boy Pierre Anthon, proclaims to his classmates that life is meaningless, sitting in a plum tree. They feel an urge to show Pierre Anthon some proof that there is meaning in life, which ultimately leads to violence amongst the children.[2][3] A German as well as an English translation of Intet were published in 2010. The novel received several awards, among them a Michael L. Printz Honor Book for the English edition in 2011 and the Danish Ministry of Culture's children book prize (Denmark) (Kulturministeriets Børnebogspris) in 2001 for the Danish edition.[4] Her fictional essay War (2004), published in the shape of a passport on life as a refugee, has also generated widespread debate, particularly in Europe. Janne Teller published her first short story in the Danish Daily, Berlingske Tidende, at the age of 14.

Janne Teller – Budapest, 2012

Petition Against Mass Surveillance[edit]

In December 2013, Teller helped organise a petition of 560 world renowned contemporary authors, protesting against mass surveillance in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations. Several Nobel laureates were signatories to the open appeal to governments, corporations and the United Nations[5]


Originally educated as a macro economist, Janne Teller worked for the United Nations and the European Union in conflict resolution and humanitarian issues around the World, particularly in Africa.[6] She devoted herself full-time to fiction writing in 1995.

For several years, she was a member of the Board of the Danish Fiction Writers’ Association and of Danish PEN, as well as of the Editorial Board of the Danish version of the intellectual magazine, Lettre International.

She has lived in a wide variety of places from Brussels, Paris, Milan, to Dar es Salaam and Maputo. Presently, she resides in New York City.  



  • Odin's island. (Odins ø, 1999). English translation 2006
  • Nothing (Intet, 2000). English translation 2010
  • Hvis der var krig i Norden (2004)
  • Kattens tramp (2004)
  • Kom (2008)

Other Books:

  • Why?, Short story, education booklet, Gyldendal 2007

Original story in French: Le Monde de l’Education, France, 2002

  • To See the One Who Sees You,

Illustrated pamphlet/essay for exhibition, Kunstf Gl. Strand, 2006

  • Write Your Devil, (co-editor and contributor), People’sPress, 2004

Essays (selected):

  • Between the Lines. Lettre International, Germany. 2012
  • Europe, who are you? Die Welt, Germany / Politiken, Denmark. 2012
  • Little Brother is watching you. Cicero, Germany / Politiken, Denmark. January 2011
  • The Power of Art, the Art of Power. Politiken, Denmark. March 2009
  • On Quality and Literature. Danish Teachers’ Magazine, Denmark. 2007
  • May Muhammad have Mercy on My Country. Information, Denmark. February 2006


  1. ^ a b http://www.academia-superior.at/en/surprise/detail/article/janne-teller-lernen-durch-literatur/print.html
  2. ^ a b Lötscher, Christine (17 August 2010). "Wer hat Angst vorm Nihilisten?". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Voigt, Claudia (26 July 2010). "Verführung zum Nihilismus". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Kunststyrelsen.dk
  5. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/nobel-writers-nsa-_n_4414951.html
  6. ^ http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Janne-Teller/61166295/author_revealed Author's profile – Simon and Schuster

External links[edit]