Kjell Askildsen
Kjell Askildsen is a Norwegian writer. He is probably best known for his minimalistic short stories.

Personal life

He was born in Mandal as a son of bailiff and politician Arne Askildsen
Arne Askildsen
Arne Askildsen was a Norwegian bailiff and politician for the Christian Democratic Party.He was born in Kristiansand as a son of Albert Askildsen and Oline Gunhilde Paulsen . He took commerce school in 1916. From 1914 he worked as an office clerk in Vest-Agder, before being hired as bailiff of...

 (1898–1982) and Aasta Håverstad (1898–1978). Before the Second World War his father was the bailiff of Mandal and Halse og Harkmark
Halse og Harkmark
Halse og Harkmark is a former municipality in Vest-Agder county in Norway. It is located in the present-day municipality of Mandal. When it was a municipality, it encompassed the rural areas that surrounded the city of Mandal, including many islands such as Hille, Skjernøy, and Pysen .-Name:Halse...

 from 1928, a board member of the Norwegian Lutheran Mission
Norwegian Lutheran Mission
The Norwegian Lutheran Mission is one of several independent Lutheran organisations in Norway. They are often considered one of the most conservative Christian Evangelical organisations in Norway. They consider themselves committed to the inerrancy of the Bible as the Word of God...

 since 1939, and also a member of the school board and city council. During the war and occupation of Norway
Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany
The occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, and ended on May 8, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. Throughout this period, Norway was continuously occupied by the Wehrmacht...

, his father was imprisoned in Arkivet twice, before escaping to Sweden in 1944. Two older brothers of Kjell Askildsen were held captive in Grini concentration camp.

After the war, Askildsen enrolled in the Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany
Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany
The Independent Norwegian Brigade Group in Germany was a Norwegian expeditionary force stationed first in the Hanover area and from 1948 to 1953 in the Schleswig Holstein area of Germany as part of the British occupying force after World War II.-Background:...

. He was married to a German woman for some time. From August 1951 to March 1968 he was married to Edith Dorothea Mathiessen, and from June 1992 he has been married to Gina Giertsen.

Writing career

His first book, the short story collection Heretter følger jeg deg helt hjem (1953), raised controversy, especially in Mandal, for its sexual content. After that book, Asklildsen concentrated mainly on novels. He was awarded the Mads Wiel Nygaards Endowment
Mads Wiel Nygaards Endowment
Mads Wiel Nygaard's Endowment is an annually awarded literary prize from the publishing house Aschehoug. The prize is a recognition of superior literary work. The publisher's editorial management makes the award based on their collective judgement of merit. Applications are not accepted.The...

 in recognition of his novel, Omgivelser (1969), which was made into the 1973 movie Maria Marusjka, directed by Oddvar Bull Tuhus
Oddvar Bull Tuhus
Oddvar Bull Tuhus is a Norwegian film director, script writer and television worker. His film debut was Rødblått paradis from 1971. His Maria Marusjka from 1973 was awarded the Norwegian Film Critics' Prize. His film Streik! from 1974, based on a novel by Tor Obrestad, was presented at the Cannes...

 and starring Peter Lindgren
Peter Lindgren (actor)
Peter Lindgren was a Swedish actor. His many roles include the part of "Lena's father" in I Am Curious and I Am Curious ....


From 1982 on, all of Askildsen's published books have been short story collections. It is mainly these books that has 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
The Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature
The Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature is awarded by the Norwegian Literature Critics' Association and has been awarded every year since 1950...

. In 2006, a jury appointed by the newspaper Dagbladet
Dagbladet is Norway's second largest tabloid newspaper, and the third largest newspaper overall with a circulation of 105,255 copies in 2009, 18,128 papers less than in 2008. The editor in chief is Lars Helle....

 voted that collection the best prose book written in Norway during the last 25 years http://www.dagbladet.no/kultur/2006/08/05/473082.html. He has won other awards as well, almost one for each new publication.

His writings have also been translated into other languages. He wrote his last short stories for "Hundene i Tessaloniki" ("The dogs of Tessaloniki"), published in 1996, and has published new collections of old stories since.

Short story collections

  • 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)


  • 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)

  • 2010 - Sørlandet Honorary Award
  • 2009 – Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize
  • 2004 – Det Norske Akademis Pris til minne om Thorleif Dahl
  • 1997 – Oktober Prize
  • 1996 – Brage Prize
    Brage Prize
    The Brage Prize is a Norwegian literature prize that is awarded annually by the Norwegian Book Prize foundation...

     Honorary Award
  • 1995 – Dobloug Prize
    Dobloug Prize
    The Dobloug Prize is a literature prize awarded for Swedish and Norwegian fiction. The prize is named after Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Birger Dobloug pursuant to his bequest. The prize sum is . The Dobloug Prize is awarded annually by the Swedish Academy.-Prize winners:...

  • 1991 – Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature for Et stort øde landskap
  • 1991 – Aschehoug Prize
    Aschehoug Prize
    The Aschehoug Prize is published annually by the Norwegian publishing house Aschehoug. The Aschehoug Prize is awarded Norwegian authors on the basis of the merit of a recent publication. It is awarded on merit, irrespective of the publisher, base on a binding recommendation from the Norwegian...

  • 1987 – Riksmål Society Literature Prize
    Riksmål Society Literature Prize
    The Riksmål Society Literature Prize is awarded annually by the Riksmålsforbundet for the outstanding publication in riksmål...

  • 1983 – Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature for Thomas Fs siste nedtegnelser til allmennheten
  • 1969 – Mads Wiel Nygaard's Endowment
  • Ikaros-prisen
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