Out Stealing Horses (Petterson) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—July18, 1952
Where—Oslo, Norway
Awards—Norwegian Critics prize for Literature; Booksellers Best Book of the Year
  Award; Independent Foreign Fiction Prize; International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Currently—lives in Oslo, Norwary

Per Petterson is a prize-winning Norwegian novelist. His debut was Aske i munnen, sand i skoa (1987), a collection of short stories.

He has since published five novels to good reviews. Til Sibir (To Siberia, 1996; nominated for The Nordic Council's Literature Prize), a novel set in the Second World War, was published in English in 1998. His novel I kjølvannet, (In the Wake, 2002), is a young man's story of losing his family in the Scandinavian Star ferry disaster in 1990.

Petterson's breakthrough, however, was Ut og stjæle hester (Out Stealing Horses, 2003). The novel received two top literary prizes in Norway—the The Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature and the Booksellers’ Best Book of the Year Award. The 2005 English language translation was awarded the 2006 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (the world's largest monetary literary prize for a single work of fiction published in English (€100,000). In the December 9. 2007 issue of the New York Times Book Review Out Stealing Horses was named one of the 10 best books of the year.

Out Stealing Horses has double meanings and two sets of twins. When asked “How did the Nazi Occupation of Norway translate into the plot of your novel?” Mr. Petterson responded:

Well, like I said, I do not plan, so that double meaning came up when I needed it. That is disappointing to some readers, I know. But for me it shows the strength of art. It is like carving out a sculpture from some material. You have to go with the quality of the material and not force upon it a form that it will not yield to anyway. That will only look awkward. Early in the book, in the 1948 part, I let the two fathers (of my main characters, Jon and Trond) have a problem with looking at each other. And I wondered, why is that? So I thought, well, it’s 1948, only three years after the Germans left Norway. It has to be something with the war. And then I thought, shit, I have to write about the war. You see, I hate research.

In 2012 Petterson published his ninth work of fiction, I Refuse, in Norway; the novel quickly became a best seller. By the time of its U.S. printing in 2015, rights had been sold to 16 countries.

Petterson is a trained librarian. He has worked as a bookstore clerk, translator and literary critic before becoming a full-time writer. He cites Knut Hamsun and Raymond Carver among his influences. All told, his works have been translated into nearly 50 languages. (Adated from Wikipedia. First retrieved in 2008.)

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