Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian theatre director and playwright. One of the most influential and popular playwrights of his generation, Ibsen is credited with co-founding modernism in theatre, for which he is often called the father of realism. After William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen is the world's most often performed dramatist. His works have influenced other playwrights like George Bernard Shaw.
Jo Nesbø is a Norwegian writer, economist, musician, and former reporter and footballer. By 2021, Nesbø was declared the most successful Norwegian author ever when his translated works sold over 50 million copies; Nesbø's work has been translated into more than 50 languages. He is also associated with the band Di Derre where he is the main vocalist and songwriter.
Karl Ove Knausgard is a Norwegian author who achieved international prominence for writing six autobiographical novels named My Struggle. A critically acclaimed writer, Knausgård has won several prestigious awards such as the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature, Brage Prize, Jerusalem Prize, and Swedish Academy Nordic Prize.
Ari Behn was a Norwegian author, visual artist, and playwright. He achieved international recognition in 2017 when his artwork was widely exhibited all over the world. Although he was married to Princess Märtha Louise, he remained a private citizen and held no title or special status. Behn committed suicide at the age of 47 after struggling with mental health problems.
Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian author Knut Hamsun, a leading figure of neo-romanticism, is best remembered for his novel Hunger, which narrated the tale of a starving writer. With little education, he had started his career as a shoemaker’s apprentice. He supported the Nazi occupation of Norway and was later imprisoned.
Marianne Ihlen was a Norwegian woman best remembered as the girlfriend and muse of popular Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. Cohen dedicated many of his poems to Ihlen and their relationship, along with Marianne Ihlen's life and career, inspired the 2019 documentary movie Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love.
Linn Ullmann is a Norwegian journalist, author, and literary critic. Apart from writing popular novels, Ullmann also writes columns for leading Norwegian newspapers. Linn Ullmann is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Gold Pen, Amalie Skram Prize, and Norwegian Readers' Prize.
Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, the first Nobel laureate from his country, is regarded as one of The Four Greats of Norwegian Literature. He also penned the Norwegian national anthem and is known for books such as Absalom's Hair and short stories such as The Railroad and the Churchyard.
Johan Galtung is a Norwegian sociologist best known as the founder of a social science field called peace and conflict studies. He is also credited with founding the Peace Research Institute Oslo where he served as the director from 1959 to 1970. Renowned for his contribution to political science, economics, and history, Galtung won the Right Livelihood Award in 1987.
Sigrid Undset was a Norwegian novelist best remembered for her trilogy of historical novels, Kristin Lavransdatter. In 1928, she was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize for literature, which she donated on 25 January 1940 in order to support the Finnish war effort during the Second World War. A crater on Venus is named in her honor.
Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder, who specializes in children’s books, is perhaps best known for his work Sophie's World. He is also known for his signature use of meta-fiction in his works. He and his wife later also introduced the Sophie Prize, which was eventually discontinued due to lack of funds.
Best known for his sci-fi novels such as Epp and Lul, Norwegian author Axel Jensen had even penned manuscripts for animated movies and cartoon strips. Known for his unpredictable behavior, he had an unstable marriage with Marianne Ihlen, who later became Leonard Cohen’s muse. In his later years, he suffered from paralysis.
Apart from being a bestselling thriller author, Nigerian writer Anne Holt has also been a lawyer, a journalist, and Norway’s minister of justice. Mainly known for her Hanne Wilhelmsen series and Vik/Stubø series, she is a former US resident and now divides her time between Norway and France.
One of the most significant contemporary authors from Norway, Jon Fosse is best known as a playwright, but has also penned novels, short stories, poems, and children’s books. He has been journalist, has taught at a writing academy, and was also a consultant for the translation of the Bible into Norwegian.
Widely known as the Norwegian queen of crime, author Karin Fossum has penned award-winning masterpieces such as Don't Look Back and Calling Out for You, both part of her Inspector Sejer crime series. Initially a poet, she briefly also worked for drug rehabilitation campaigns in nursing homes.
Legendary Norwegian folklore writer Peter Christen Asbjørnsen is best remembered for his collaboration with Jorgen Engebretsen Moe. Initially a zoologist, he went on several expeditions but later deviated to theology and eventually to mythology and folk tales. Asbjørnsen and Moe re-told many old Norse tales, such as The Three Billy-Goats Gruff.
While Per Petterson had always wanted to be an author and was trained as a librarian, he initially worked at a factory and then a bookstore, before stepping into full-time writing. Best known for books such as To Siberia, he also won the Norwegian Critics Prize for Out Stealing Horses.
Born to working-class parents in Denmark, author Aksel Sandemose moved to Norway at 17 and then worked as a lumberjack in Newfoundland. He later taught and also became part of the Norwegian resistance movement. Known for his iconic novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, he also devised the fictional Jante’s Law.
Known for redefining Norwegian poetry, Henrik Wergeland is known for his iconic works such as Creation, Humanity, and Messiah and Jan van Huysum’s Flowerpiece. He fought for the constitutional rights of Jews and became a symbol of Norwegian independence, in spite of his early death at 37.
Dag Solstad is a Norwegian novelist and short-story writer who won the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1989. He also received the Norwegian Literary Critics' Award three times, becoming the only author to do so. He is the author of nearly 30 books. He is married to theater critic and journalist Therese Bjørneboe.
Norwegian author Hans Henrik Jæger led the Kristiania Bohemians, a politico-cultural movement. A supporter of sexual liberty, he penned the controversial book Fra Kristiania-Bohêmen, which was labeled as pornography, thus leading him to prison. He later fled to Paris and stayed there for most of his later life.
B. Andreas Bull-Hansen is a Norwegian blogger, novelist, and YouTuber. He started lifting weights as a teenager and eventually turned professional. He enjoyed a successful athletic career before moving on to writing. He runs a successful blog and has a YouTube channel that has accumulated millions of views. He is also a published author with many books to his credit.
Norwegian lexicographer and philologist Ivar Aasen developed the written standard of Nynorsk, or New Norwegian, one of the official languages of Norway. He broke away from the Danish-influenced Norwegian language and penned poems and plays in the other dialect. The Ivar Aasen Centre, named after him, now preserves the Nynorsk language.
Norwegian author Thorbjørn Egner is best remembered for his contribution to children’s literature. Trained as an artist, he initially worked at an advertising firm. He later soared to fame with books such as Karius og Baktus and often illustrated his own works. He has received several awards, such as the Cappelen Prize.
Jens Bjørneboe wasn’t just an author but also practiced painting and taught at a Waldorf school. Beginning his writing career as a poet, he later penned novels such as Moment of Freedom and plays such as The Bird Lovers. Struggling with depression and alcohol issues, he later committed suicide by hanging.
O. E. Rölvaag was a novelist well-known for his writings on the Norwegian American immigrant experience. Born in Norway, he emigrated to America as a young man and studied at St. Olaf College in Northfield. He then pursued an academic career and also devoted himself to writing. He wrote in the Norwegian language and portrayed the experiences of Norwegian immigrants.
One of The Four Greats of Norwegian literature, Alexander Kielland was a qualified lawyer and also managed his own brickyard. He later soared to fame with his works such as Gift and was a prominent part of the literary movement of Realism. He had also been a mayor of Stavanger.
Camilla Collett was a 19th-century Norwegian writer. She was one of the first contributors to realism in Norwegian literature. An outspoken and independent individual, she is often referred to as the first Norwegian feminist. She became an honorary member of the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights at the time of its inception in 1884.
Nordahl Grieg was a Norwegian poet, novelist, journalist, and political activist. He was both a popular writer and a controversial public figure. He studied at the Royal Frederick University and became a journalist. He was a staunch anti-Nazi patriot and served in World War II as a war correspondent. He was killed while on a bombing mission to Berlin.
Jonas Lie is regarded as one of The Four Greats of Norwegian literature. An eye defect prevented him from pursuing his naval ambitions, and he became a lawyer instead. Known for works such as The Family at Gilje, he was a major part of the literary movement of Realism.
One of the most prominent naturalists of Scandinavia, Norwegian author Amalie Skram had 2 unsuccessful marriages, which was later reflected in her feminist written works. People of Hellemyr and Constance Ring remain 2 of her best-known works. She initially wrote using the pseudonym Amalie Mueller.
Apart from being a fine poet, Arnulf Øverland was also a talented painter. His politically motivating poems, which inspired people to join the Norwegian resistance movement and oppose Nazism, got him arrested and later sent to a concentration camp. You Must Not Sleep! remains one of his best-known works.
Skalla-Grimr was a Norwegian poet and sailor. He is credited with leading a group of settlers from Norway to Iceland. Skalla-Grímr and his legacy form a major part of a famous Icelandic saga titled Egils saga.
Pola Gauguin was a Danish-Norwegian biographer, art critic, and painter. Apart from being a prolific painter, Gauguin was also the founder of his artist school in Oslo. He ran the school till 1924 and then lived through an artistic crisis during the 1920s. The crisis in him found expression through his literary works and he worked for many popular publications.
Best remembered for his hymns and topographical poems, such as The Trumpet of Nordland and The Norwegian Song of the Valley, legendary Norwegian poet Petter Dass was also a priest. He spent his entire life as a pastor in Alstahaug. Most of his works were published after his death.
Arne Evensen Garborg was a Norwegian writer who championed the use of Landsmål (now known New Norwegian) as a literary language. He began his career as a newspaperman and founded the weekly Fedraheimen in 1877. He also wrote many thought-provoking novels. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature six times. He was married to writer Hulda Garborg.
Lisa Aisato is a Norwegian visual artist, author of picture books, and illustrator. She is best known for her book Odd er et egg which was adapted into an award-winning animated short film titled Odd is an Egg. Lisa Aisato also contributes as an illustrator to newspapers and other authors. In 2019, she was honored with the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize.
Amal Aden is a Somali–Norwegian writer, lecturer, and lesbian activist. From being an illiterate street child to becoming a successful author, Amal Aden's story of grit and determination has been a source of inspiration to many. Over the years, she has been honored with prestigious awards such as the Zola Prize and Erik Bye's Memorial Prize.
Norwegian poet Johan Sebastian Welhaven is remembered for his marked dislike for extreme nationalism in the works of some of his contemporaries. He is best remembered for his criticism of Henrik Wergeland. Primarily a lyric poet, he penned works such as The Dawn of Norway. He also worked as a philosophy lecturer.
Professor and historian Peter Andreas Munch is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Norwegian nationalist school of historiography. He was also known for his translations of Norse legends and for his History of the Norwegian People. He believed in the racial superiority of Norwegians over Danes and Swedes.
Hans Olav Lahlum is a Norwegian crime author, historian, chess player, and politician. Well-known for his eccentricity and unconventional style, Hans Olav Lahlum was part of the longest interview ever in 2013, in which he was interviewed for more than 30 hours by Verdens Gang, setting a Guinness World Record.
Born to a poor farmer, Aasmund Olavsson Vinje struggled to get a law degree. Finding it difficult to sustain a living by teaching, he became a journalist and then launched his own newspaper. He is chiefly remembered for his poems and travel writing, such as Travel Memoirs from the Summer of 1860.
Pakistani actor Sonia Khan started her entertainment career as a child actor and later became one of the most prominent names of Lollywood. Known for her films such as Dhanak and Sahiba, she moved to Norway following her marriage, only to make a comeback later with the series Saya-e-Dewar Bhi Nahi.
Norwegian journalist Marcus Thrane launched Norway’s first labor movement, the Thrane movement, paving the way for the Norwegian Labour Party. Charged with sedition for his socio-political activities, he spent 4 years in prison. He spent his final years in the US, where he launched the Chicago-based newspapers Norske-Amerikanerne and Dagslyset.
Johan Herman Wessel was a Danish-Norwegian poet, playwright, and satirist whose works are characterized by the use of satiric wit and parody. One of his satirical plays titled Kierlighed uden Strømper is performed even today! Johan Herman Wessel is also credited with writing Anno 7603, which is widely regarded as one of the first fictional works that discuss time travel.
Sigbjørn Obstfelder was a Norwegian poet and writer whose debut collection of poems is cherished as one of the earliest and finest examples of modernism in literature in Norway. Widely regarded as one of the late 19th century's most prominent figures in Norwegian literature, Sigbjørn Obstfelder's works are considered to be the literary equivalent of Edvard Munch's paintings.
Kjartan Fløgstad is a Norwegian author best known for his novel Dalen Portland which earned him the prestigious Nordic Council's Literature Prize. One of the best-known exponents of magic realism in Norway, Kjartan Fløgstad's work often depicts the social and economic transitions of the country as it evolves from being an agricultural culture to a post-industrial society.
Johan Falkberget was a Norwegian author whose works earned him 36 nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Apart from his illustrious literary career, Johan Falkberget is also remembered for his contribution to the popular newspaper Fjell-Ljom.