Janne Teller

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Janne Teller
Janne Teller March 2015.jpg
Teller at the 2015 Feria Internacional de la Lectura de Yucatan
Born (1964-04-08) April 8, 1964 (age 51)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation Novelist and writer
Nationality Danish
Period 1999–present

Janne Teller (born 8 April 1964) is a Danish writer of Austrian-German descent.


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 (1999)
  • Nothing (2000)
  • The Trampling Cat (2004)
  • Europa (2004)
  • Come (2008)


  • War, What if it Were Here (2004)
  • African Roads (2013)

Short Stories

  • Everything (2013)

Other Books:

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

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

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



  • ‘The Poverty Law’, Brøndums Danske Lov, Brøndums Forlag (2000)
  • ‘Between the Lines’, Information, Denmark (2005)
  • ‘Doubt’, Politikens Forlag, Denmark (2005)
  • ‘Our Different Realities’, Lettre Internationale, Denmark (2005)
  • ‘Walking Naked’, Lettre Internationale, Denmark (2005)
  • ‘May Muhammad have Mercy on My Country’, Information, Denmark (2006)
  • ‘To See the One Who Sees You’, Exhibition at Kunstforeningen GL Strand in Copenhagen, Denmark (2006)
  • ‘On Quality and Literature’, Danish Teachers’ Magazine, Denmark (2007)
  • ‘Why no Guru is a True Guru’, Corriere della Sera, Italy (2007)
  • ‘The Power of Art, the Art of Power’, Politiken, Denmark (2009)
  • ‘Long live Denmark’, Politiken, Denmark, (2009)
  • ‘Der Spion Nebenan’, Cicero, Germany (2011)
  • ‘Zwischen die Zeilen’, Lettre Internationale, Germany (2012)
  • ‘Europa. Wer bist Du? Wer möchtest Du sein?’, Politiken, Denmark (2012); Die Welt, Germany (2012)
  • ‘Vox Populi: Money Talks’, Max Joseph, Germany (2013)
  • ‘Schreiben für den jungen Menschen in uns’, Voland & Quist, Germany (2013)
  • ‘Du hast die Wahl’, Austausch Kulturmagasin, Germany (2013)
  • ‘The Golden Future of the Non-Gilded European Youth’, Cicero, Germany, (2014)
  • ‘Tea with Turgenjev’, FAZ, Germany, (2014)


  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]