Jon Fosse

Jon Fosse
Writer Jon Fosse (cropped).jpg
Born (1959-09-29) 29 September 1959 (age 63)
Haugesund, Rogaland, Norway
OccupationPlaywright, writer
Alma materUniversity of Bergen

Jon Olav Fosse (born 29 September 1959) is a Norwegian author and dramatist.


Jon Fosse was born in Haugesund, Norway. A serious accident at age seven brought him close to death; the experience significantly influenced his adulthood writing.[1] He enrolled in the University of Bergen and studied comparative literature. His debut novel, Raudt, svart (Red, Black), was published in 1983, written in Nynorsk, one of the two written standards of the Norwegian language.[2] His first play, Og aldri skal vi skiljast (And We'll Never Be Parted), was performed and published in 1994. Fosse has written novels, short stories, poetry, children's books, essays and plays. His works have been translated into more than forty languages. He also played music (the fiddle),[2] and much of his teenage writing practice involved creating his own lyrics for musical pieces.

Fosse was made a chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite of France in 2003.[3] Fosse also has been ranked number 83 on the list of the Top 100 living geniuses by The Daily Telegraph.[4]

Since 2011, Fosse has been granted the Grotten, an honorary residence owned by the Norwegian state and located on the premises of the Royal Palace in the city centre of Oslo.[5] Use of the Grotten as a permanent residence is an honour specially bestowed by the King of Norway for contributions to Norwegian arts and culture.

Fosse was among the literary consultants to Bibel 2011, a Norwegian translation of the Bible published in 2011.[6]

Fosse was awarded the 2015 Nordic Council's Literature Prize for the trilogy Andvake (Wakefulness), Olavs draumar (Olav's Dreams) and Kveldsvævd (Weariness).[7]

Numerous of Fosse's works have been translated into Persian by Mohammad Hamed, and his works have been performed in Iran/Tehran main halls.[8][9]

In April 2022, his novel A New Name: Septology VI-VII, translated into English by Damion Searls, was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize.[10] The book was named a finalist for the 2023 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.[11]

Between working on his novels, Fosse works as a translator on other authors' works.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He lives part of the time with his second wife, a Slovak, in Hainburg an der Donau in Austria. He also has a home in Bergen and two homes in western Norway.[2] Originally a member of the Church of Norway (although he described himself as atheist before 2012), he joined the Catholic Church in 2012-2013,[6] and hospitalized himself to rehabilitate his long-term alcohol consumption.[2]



  • Raudt, svart (1983). Red, Black
  • Stengd gitar (1985). Closed Guitar
  • Blod. Steinen er (1987). Blood. The Stone Is
  • Naustet (1989). Boathouse, trans. May-Brit Akerholt (Dalkey Archive, 2017).
  • Flaskesamlaren (1991). The Bottle-Collector
  • Bly og vatn (1992). Lead and Water
  • To forteljingar (1993). Two Stories
  • Prosa frå ein oppvekst (1994). Prose from a Childhood
  • Melancholia I (1995). Melancholy, trans. Grethe Kvernes and Damion Searls (Dalkey Archive, 2006).
  • Melancholia II (1996). Melancholy II, trans. Eric Dickens (Dalkey Archive, 2014).
  • Eldre kortare prosa med 7 bilete av Camilla Wærenskjold (1998). Older Shorter Prose with 7 Pictures of Camilla Wærenskjold
  • Morgon og kveld (2000). Morning and Evening, trans. Damion Searls (Dalkey Archive, 2015).
  • Det er Ales (2004). Aliss at the Fire, trans. Damion Searls (Dalkey Archive, 2010).
  • Andvake (2007). Wakefulness
  • Kortare prosa (2011). Shorter Prose
  • Olavs draumar (2012). Olav's Dreams
  • Kveldsvævd (2014). Weariness
  • Trilogien (2014). Trilogy, trans. May-Brit Akerholt (Dalkey Archive, 2016). Compiles three novellas: Wakefulness, Olav's Dreams and Weariness.
  • Det andre namnet - Septologien I-II (2019). The Other Name: Septology I-II, trans. Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2019).
  • Eg er ein annan - Septologien III-V (2020). I Is Another: Septology III-V, trans. Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2020).
  • Eit nytt namn - Septologien VI-VII (2021). A New Name: Septology VI-VII, trans. Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2021).

Compilations in English

  • Scenes from a Childhood, trans. Damion Searls (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). Collects texts from various sources.
  • Melancholy I-II, trans. Damion Searls and Grethe Kvernes (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2023)


  • Nokon kjem til å komme (written in 1992–93; first produced in 1996). Someone Is Going to Come Home
  • Og aldri skal vi skiljast (1994). And We'll Never Be Parted
  • Namnet (1995). The Name
  • Barnet (1996). The Child
  • Mor og barn (1997). Mother and Child
  • Sonen (1997). The Son
  • Natta syng sine songar (1997). Nightsongs, trans. Gregory Motton (2002).
  • Gitarmannen (1999). The Guitar Man
  • Ein sommars dag (1999). A Summer's Day
  • Draum om hausten (1999). Dream of Autumn
  • Sov du vesle barnet mitt (2000). Sleep My Baby Sleep
  • Besøk (2000). Visits
  • Vinter (2000). Winter
  • Ettermiddag (2000). Afternoon
  • Vakkert (2001). Beautiful
  • Dødsvariasjonar (2001). Death Variations
  • Jenta i sofaen (2002). The Girl on the Sofa, trans. David Harrower (2002).
  • Lilla (2003). Lilac
  • Suzannah (2004)
  • Dei døde hundane (2004). The Dead Dogs, trans. May-Brit Akerholt (2014).
  • Sa ka la (2004)
  • Varmt (2005). Warm
  • Svevn (2005). Sleep
  • Rambuku (2006)
  • Skuggar (2006). Shadows
  • Eg er vinden (2007). I Am the Wind, trans. Simon Stephens (2012).
  • Desse auga (2009). These Eyes

Compilations in English

  • Plays One (2002). Someone Is Going to Come Home; The Name; The Guitar Man; The Child
  • Plays Two (2004). A Summer's Day; Dream of Autumn; Winter
  • Plays Three (2004). Mother and Child; Sleep My Baby Sleep; Afternoon; Beautiful; Death Variations
  • Plays Four (2005). And We’ll Never Be Parted; The Son; Visits; Meanwhile the lights go down and everything becomes black
  • Plays Five (2011). Suzannah; Living Secretly; The Dead Dogs; A Red Butterfly's Wings; Warm; Telemakos; Sleep
  • Plays Six (2014). Rambuku; Freedom; Over There; These Eyes; Girl in Yellow Raincoat; Christmas Tree Song; Sea


  • Engel med vatn i augene (1986)
  • Hundens bevegelsar (1990)
  • Hund og engel (1992)
  • Dikt 1986–1992 (1995). Revidert samleutgåve
  • Nye dikt 1991–1994 (1997)
  • Dikt 1986–2001 (2001). Samla dikt. Lyrikklubben
  • Auge i vind (2003)
  • Stein til stein (2013)

Compilations in English

  • Poems (Shift Fox Press, 2014). Selection of poems, translated by May-Brit Akerholt.


  • Frå telling via showing til writing (1989)
  • Gnostiske essay (1999)
  • An Angel Walks Through the Stage and Other Essays, trans. May-Brit Akerholt (Dalkey Archive, 2015).

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "I have to talk about it because it’s so fundamental to me: at the age of seven, I was close to death because of an accident . . I could see myself sitting here . . everything was peaceful, and I looked at the houses back home, and I felt quite sure that I saw them for the last time as I was going to the doctor. Everything was shimmering and very peaceful, a very happy state, like a cloud of particles of light. This experience is the most important experience from my childhood. And it has been very formative for me as a person, both in good and in bad ways. I think it created me as a kind of artist." ('Jon Fosse's Search for Peace'. The New Yorker, 13 November 2022)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Merve Enre (13 November 2022). "Jon Fosse's Search for Peace". The New Yorker. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b Fransk heder til Fosse,
  4. ^ "Top 100 living geniuses". 30 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Winje Agency". Winje Agency. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  6. ^ a b Kjell Kvamme (16 November 2013) Jon Fosse katolikk: Som å kome heim Archived 19 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine Vårt Land. Retrieved 16 November 2013 (in Norwegian)
  7. ^ NRK. "Fosse vant Nordisk råds litteraturpris". NRK. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Iranian actor Kianian to perform in Fosse play". Mehr News Agency. 4 November 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  9. ^ (1 January 2011). "IBNA - 2nd stage shortlisted works of Dramatic Arts". Iran's Book News Agency (IBNA). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  10. ^ Knight, Lucy (7 April 2022). "International Booker prize shortlist delivers 'awe and exhilaration'". The Guardian.
  11. ^ Varno, David (1 February 2023). "NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES FINALISTS FOR PUBLISHING YEAR 2022". National Book Critics Circle. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  12. ^ a b "Nynorsk litteraturpris". Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Jon Fosse (NORWAY)". AO International. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  14. ^ Store norske leksikon (2005–2007). "Doblougprisen". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Jon Fosse prisas av Svenska Akademien". (in Swedish). 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  16. ^ "Fosse får Akademiens nordiska pris". (in Swedish). 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
  17. ^ "2007 Archive". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Jon Fosse". Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Laureate 2014 (Press Release)" (PDF). City of Strasbourg. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Prize ceremony 2015". Retrieved 6 November 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Recipient of the Norsk kulturråds ærespris
Succeeded by