Roy Jacobsen (born 26 December 1954) is a Norwegian novelist and short-story writer. Born in Oslo, he made his publishing début in 1982 with the short-story collection Fangeliv (Prison Life), which won Tarjei Vesaas' debutantpris. He is winner of the prestigious Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature and two of his novels have been nominated for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize: Seierherrene (The Conquerors) in 1991 and Frost in 2004. The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles was published in Britain in 2008. Jacobsen lives in Oslo.
Roy Jacobsen grew up in a suburb of Oslo located in the Groruddalen valley. In his teens, Jacobsen was a member of the criminal "Årvoll gang". At age 16 he was arrested by the police and kept in solitary confinement for 35 days. He was subsequently convicted of among other things weapons offences and theft, and given a six-month suspended sentence.
He held a number of occupations, even subsequent to his debut as a novelist in 1982. Since 1990 he has been a full-time author. During the years 1979 - 1986 he lived at his mother's homestead at Solfjellsjøen in the municipality Dønna in the Northern Norwegian county Nordland, and both the background of his mother as well as his own upbringing in Groruddalen were central themes of his breakthrough novel Seierherrene from 1991. This novel has described perhaps more directly than any other Norwegian work of fiction to the Norwegian public a phenomenon known in Norwegian culture as "the great class journey" – the upward motion through social strata experienced by large segments of the Norwegian population during a few generations in the 20th century. From the perspective of one family and spanning two generations the living conditions of the common man in Norway during the past 80 years is depicted, showing the tremendous pace with which an agrarian and proletarian society with its inherently rigid framework was transformed into a post-industrial, technological education and welfare society with a plethora of opportunities, however also presenting a newly created sense of identity for many of its citizens. Having proved himself in this fashion, Jacobsen became a natural choice as the biographer of Trygve Bratteli, the former Labour Party prime minister (1995).
- Fangeliv - short stories (1982)
- Hjertetrøbbel - novel (1984)
- Tommy - novel (1985)
- Det nye vannet - novel (1987) (English 1997: The new water)
- Virgo - novel (1988)
- Det kan komme noen - short stories (1989)
- Ursula - barnebok (1990)
- Seierherrene - novel (1991)
- Fata Morgana - novel (1992)
- Den høyre armen - short stories (1994)
- Trygve Bratteli. En fortelling - biography of Trygve Bratteli (1995)
- Ismael - novel (1998)
- Grenser - novel (1999) (English 2015: Borders)
- Fugler og soldater - short stories (2001)
- Det nye vinduet - short stories (2002)
- Frost - novel (2003)
- Hoggerne - novel (2005) (English 2007: The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles)
- Marions slør - novel (2007)
- Vidunderbarn - novel (2009) (English 2011: Child Wonder)
- De Usynlige - novel (2013) (English 2016: The Unseen)
- Hvitt hav - novel (2015)
- Rigels øyne - novel (2017)
- Tarjei Vesaas' debutantpris 1982, for Fangeliv
- Cappelenprisen 1987
- Notabeneprisen 1988
- Kritikerprisen 1989, for Det kan komme noen
- Bokhandlerprisen 1991, for Seierherrene
- Scheiblers legat 1991
- Ivar Lo-prisen 1994
- Oslo bys kunstnerpris 1994
- Riksmålsforbundets litteraturpris 2003
- Gyldendalprisen 2005
- Ungdommens kritikerpris 2006
- Nordseth, Pål (20 May 2015). "Var ungdomskriminell: Roy Jacobsen satt 35 døgn på enecelle som 16-åring". Dagbladet (in Norwegian). Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "Det Norske Akademi for Sprog og Litteratur" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy for Language and Literature. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009.