Solstad, Dag

Solstad, Dag
© Bjarne Thune

Born in Sandefjord in 1941, Dag Solstad is widely regarded as Norway’s most important contemporary novelist and a chronicler of his generation, whose career reflects the development of Norwegian society from the 1960s onwards. He is part of the first generation in Norway to have unrestricted access to tertiary education and, like many of his contemporaries, subsequently eschewed social democracy for a more radical politics. In his youth he was heavily influenced by the Polish novelist and dramatist Witold Gombrowicz, whose work shaped Solstad’s theories of social role-play. While at university in the 1960s, Solstad and a number of other young writers launched the “Profil-opprøret”― the Profil rebellion―in which they used the literary journal “Profil” to champion literary modernism. In the 1970s, the “Profil generation” adopted a dogmatic leftist political stance, which Solstad later abandoned in a famous essay published in 1980. Solstad made his literary debut in 1965 with a collection of symbolic, Kafkaesque short stories entitled “Spiraler”, but since 1969 the form that has preoccupied him is the novel. Together with fellow writer Jon Michelet, Solstad has also written five essayistic books covering five world championships in soccer.

Solstad's novels have been translated into more than 30 languages. In 1989 he received the Nordic Council's Literary Prize. Novel 11, Book 18 was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize in Great Britain in 2009.