Kjell Askildsen

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Kjell Askildsen
Kjell Askildsen by Finn Ståle Felberg
Kjell Askildsen by Finn Ståle Felberg
Born (1929-09-30) 30 September 1929 (age 91)
Mandal, Norway
GenreShort stories, novels
Notable worksThomas F's Last Notes to the Public
Notable awardsThe Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize (2009) and others
SpouseGina Giertsen

Kjell Askildsen (born 30 September 1929) is a Norwegian writer probably best known for his minimalistic short stories.

Personal life[edit]

He was born in Mandal as a son of bailiff and politician Arne Askildsen (1898–1982) and Aasta Håverstad (1898–1978).[1] Before the Second World War his father was the bailiff of Mandal and Halse og Harkmark from 1928, a board member of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission since 1939, and also a member of the school board and city council.[2] During the war and occupation of Norway, his father was imprisoned in Arkivet twice, before escaping[3] to Sweden in 1944.[2] Two older brothers of Kjell Askildsen were held captive in Grini concentration camp.[4]

After the war, Askildsen enrolled in the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany. He was married to a German woman for some time.[4] From August 1951 to March 1968 he was married to Edith Dorothea Mathiessen, and from June 1992 he has been married to Gina Giertsen.[1]

Writing career[edit]

His first book, the short story collection Heretter følger jeg deg helt hjem (1953), raised controversy, especially in Mandal, for its sexual content.[5] After that book, Asklildsen concentrated mainly on novels. He was awarded the Mads Wiel Nygaards Endowment in recognition of his novel, Omgivelser (1969), which was made into the 1973 movie Maria Marusjka, directed by Oddvar Bull Tuhus and starring Peter Lindgren.

From 1982 on, all of Askildsen's published books have been short story collections. It is mainly these books that made him one of the most acclaimed modern writers in Norway. Thomas F's siste nedtegnelser til almenheten (1983) won him the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature. In 2006, a jury appointed by the newspaper Dagbladet voted that collection the best prose book written in Norway during the last 25 years [1]. He has won other awards as well, almost one for each new publication.

Norwegian bibliography[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • 1953 - Heretter følger jeg deg helt hjem (From now on I'll walk you all the way Home)
  • 1966 - Kulisser (Stage Sets)
  • 1982 - Ingenting for ingenting (Nothing for Nothing)
  • 1983 - Thomas F's siste nedtegnelser til almenheten (Thomas F's Last Notes to the Public)
  • 1987 - En plutselig frigjørende tanke (A Sudden Liberating Thought)
  • 1991 - Et stort øde landskap (A Great Deserted Landscape)
  • 1996 - Hundene i Tessaloniki (The Dogs of Thessaloniki)
  • 1999 - Samlede noveller (Collected Short Stories)
  • 2005 - Alt som før (Everything As Before)
  • 2015 - Vennskapets pris (The Cost of Friendship)


  • 1955 - Herr Leonard Leonard (Mister Leonard Leonard)
  • 1957 - Davids bror (The brother of David)
  • 1966 - Kulisser (Stage sets)
  • 1969 - Omgivelser (Scenery)
  • 1974 - Kjære, kjære Oluf (Dear, dear Oluf)
  • 1976 - Hverdag (Everyday)

Awards and prizes (selection)[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rottem, Øystein. "Kjell Askildsen". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Arne Askildsen" (in Norwegian). Storting.
  3. ^ Ottosen, Kristian, ed. (2004). Nordmenn i fangenskap 1940–1945 (in Norwegian) (2nd ed.). Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. p. 104. ISBN 82-15-00288-9.
  4. ^ a b Bjørnkjær, Kristen (24 September 2011). "Bokbrenningen i Mandal". Information/Klassekampen (in Norwegian). pp. 44–45.
  5. ^ http://www.literaturfestival.com/archive/participants/authors/2009/kjell-askildsen?set_language=en