About Karl Ove Knausgård

The Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgård will be the seventh and the first Nordic recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award as he will receive the 2020 edition of the prestigious award. The literature award has previously been awarded to Paulo Coelho, J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende, Sir Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami and most recently Dame A.S. Byatt in 2018. The award will be presented next year at a ceremony in Odense, Denmark.

The author behind the monumental autobiographical novel series My Struggle (2009-11), Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgård (b. 1968), has just been announced as the upcoming recipient of the prestigious “2020 Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award”.

The motivation of the award committee:

“Karl Ove Karlsgård is the recipient of the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award because of his intense renewal of the field between novel and autobiography, an area Hans Christian Andersen also explored to the fullest extent, and because he, like Andersen before him, has placed Scandinavia on the literary world map.”

The first Nordic recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award

Knausgård will be the first Nordic author to receive the award. Previously, the renowned literature award has been presented to Paulo Coelho, J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende, Sir Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami and most recently Dame A.S. Byatt.

Karl Ove Knausgård made his debut as a literary writer in 1998 with the novel Out of the World for which he received the Norwegian Critics Prize for Literature as the first newcomer ever. He released the follow-up novel A Time for Everything in 2004, which was similarly well-received both nationally and internationally.

A strong ambassador for Nordic literature

However, Knausgård is predominantly recognized for his colossal masterpiece My Struggle, which was released in six volumes from 2009 to 2011. The sales figures for the serialized novels climbed above half a million in Norway and has since been released in the rest of the Nordic countries and most of the Western world. Because of that, Knausgård has become a literary rock star – not only in the Nordic countries but in the United States and in the UK as well.

In My Struggle he describes his upbringing and family life meticulously and with great emotional intensity. Internationally, this has led to a heavy debate regarding the distinction between fiction and reality. However, in the end the novels have proven to be very relatable – for both male and female readers.

Since then, Knausgård has published a series of noteworthy essay collections, amongst them a four-volume seasonal book series dedicated to unborn daughter. In 2019 he published a novel titled Fuglene under himlen (The Birds Beneath the Sky), in which Knausgård returns to the world of fiction through a tightly composed story, which is the baseline for a theatre version of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. The novel includes references to the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

Along with the honor, Karl Ove Knausgård will receive the bronze sculpture The Ugly Duckling by sculptress Stine Ring Hansen, a prize of 500.000 DKK and the diploma The Beauty of the Swan.

Next year, Karl Ove Knausgård will be in Odense, Denmark to receive the award at a ceremony on October 25th 2020.

FOTO CREDIT: André Løyning