Jostein Gaarder

Jostein Gaarder

Gaarder in 2009
Born (1952-08-08) 8 August 1952
Oslo, Norway
Occupation novelist, short story writer
Nationality Norwegian
Genre Children's literature, fiction
Notable works The Solitaire Mystery, Sophie's World, 'The Orange Girl'
Notable awards See below
Spouse Siri Dannevig
Children 2

Jostein Gaarder (Norwegian: [ˈjuːstaɪn ˈɡɔːrdər]; born 8 August 1952) is a Norwegian intellectual and author of several novels, short stories and children's books. Gaarder often writes from the perspective of children, exploring their sense of wonder about the world. He often utilizes metafiction in his works and constructs stories within stories. His best known work is the novel Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy (1991). It has been translated into 60 languages; there are over 40 million copies in print.


Gaarder was born and raised in Oslo. His father was a school headmaster and his mother was a teacher and author of children’s books. Gaarder married Siri Dannevig in Oslo in 1974. They moved to Bergen, Norway in 1979 and have two sons.[1]

In 1997, Gaarder and Siri Dannevig established the Sophie Prize. It was an environmental development prize of (USD 100,000 = 77,000 ), awarded annually until 2013, when it was announced that it would no longer be awarded due to lack of funds. It was named after the novel.


Gaarder attended Oslo Cathedral School and the University of Oslo, where he studied Scandinavian languages and theology. He was a high school teacher in Bergen, Norway, prior to his literary career.[1]

Awards and prizes

Environmental activism

Jostein Gaarder has been involved in 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. Through the Sophie Prize, Gaarder contributed over $1.5 million to worthy environmental causes. The final Sophie Prize was awarded in October 2013 to Bill McKibben.

Political advocacy and religious controversy

Jostein Gaarder is active politically. The focus of his concern is the plight of Palestinian refugees, and he has vehemently criticized the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In August 2006, Gaarder wrote a controversial op-ed titled God's Chosen People that was published in the largest daily newspaper in Norway, Aftenposten.[5][6] Gaarder wrote it in response to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. He argued in favor of "recognizing the State of Israel of 1948, but not the one of 1967".

God's Chosen People had a broader scope than conflicting territorial claims. Gaarder described Judaism as "an archaic national and warlike religion", contrasting it with the Christian idea that the "Kingdom of God is compassion and forgiveness". Gaarder disputed allegations of anti-Semitism.

List of works


  1. 1 2 Radiawati, Ririn (19 October 2011). "The Wordy, Wonderful Craft of Curiosity". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  2. "Albo d'Oro" (in Italian). Premio Bancarella. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  3. "Gaarder, Jostein" (in Norwegian). NRK. November 8, 2002. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  4. "'Sophie's World' author Jostein Gaarder and TCD Medical Officer for 30 years among distinguished recipients of Honorary Degrees at TCD". Trinity College, Dublin. December 16, 2005. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
  5. "God's chosen People". Aftenposten. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-07.
  6. Gaarder, Jostein. "God's Chosen People" Retrieved on 2006-08-25
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