“I wrote Sophie's World in three months, but I was only writing and sleeping. I work for 14 hours a day when I'm working on a book.” – Jostein Gaarder
Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder, born on this date in 1952, is the author of numerous novels, short stories and children’s books. Also an intellectual, Gaarder is noted for writing books from a child’s perspective, often using metafiction (writing stories within stories). His biggest claim to fame is Sophie’s World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy, which has been translated into 53 languages and produced over 30 million copies.
Gaarder grew up in Oslo the son of two educators and the second generation of children’s book authors (his mother also had several children’s books published). That background helped develop a deep-rooted interest in reading, writing and teaching.
After several modest outings with his early works, he achieved his first big success in 1990 with The Solitaire Mystery, winner of the Norwegian Literary Critics’ Award and the Ministry of Cultural and Scientific Affairs Literary Prize. Then in 1991 he published Sophie’s World, which gained him worldwide acclaim.
Gaarder has been involved in both politics and the promotion of sustainable development for nearly two decades. He established the Sophie Prize in 1997, an international award bestowed on foundations and individuals concerned with the environment. And, he said, as a writer he seeks answers and doesn’t like to provide them, noting, “I am really more interested in questions than in giving answers.”
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