23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Louis Jensen

Louis Jensen was born in Nibe, Denmark, in 1943.  An architect and town planner by profession, Jensen has been working as a freelance writer of children’s, youth and adult literature since 1993. He made his debut in children’s and youth literature in 1983 with the short story ‘Insektmanden’ (Engl: The Insect Man), which was published in the collection ‘Fantastiske Fortœllinger’. His four part book series, ‘Krystalmanden’ (Engl: The Crystal Man) was published at the end of the 1980’s.  The first part tells the tale of a motorcycle trip through Denmark, of growing up and of homecoming.  With this book Jensen proceeded to become one of Denmark’s most highly regarded authors of children’s and youth literature.

For readers as well as critics, Jensen is considered a “storyteller in a new guise”.  He feels at home in the world of allegorical-phantasmagorical creatures as well as in that of the teenage video dealer.  In his modern tales, stories and novels, Jensen uses understatement, humour and his secure grasp of young people’s lived realities to roam the labyrinths of youthful consciousness.  Sensitively and poetically, he tells of good and evil, light and darkness, love and suffering – occasionally sorrowful and serious, occasionally brave and witty, but always with a regard for the visible and invisible absurdities and magical moments in life.

Jensen’s original profession as an architect is also reflected in his children’s books. ‘Et hus er et ansigt’ (1998; Engl: A House is a Face) is an unconventional and strikingarchitectural picture book for children consisting of a series of textual and photographic impressions of life, community, and change.  Father and son roam their town, which is bathed in light and shadows, and contemplate roofs and niches, clouds and chimneys.  Jensen’s novel for young people ‘Skelettet på hjul’ (1992; Engl: The Skeleton on Wheels), originally a play, belongs to the new classics of Danish children’s and youth literature and tells the tale of Martin’s search for the soul of his murdered dog.  Jensen’s ‘magnum opus’, a collection of 1001 short stories for children (most recently, „Hundrede helt & aldeles firkantede historier“, 2007; Engl: A Hundred Squared Stories).  In this compendiumof absurd, funny, serious and unbelievable stories one finds the sensitive tale of the love between a small loaf of rye bread and a French baguette, as well as stories about giants, rubber boots, hearts, star faces and dogs.

Louis Jensen has been awarded top literary awards for his work, including the Nordic Children’s Book Prize (1996), Denmark’s Skolebibliotekarforening (1998), and the prestigious Hans-Christian-Andersen-Stipend (1998). He was a member of the Danish Arts Foundation between 1994 and 1998.

Louis Jensen passed away on March 4, 2021.