Olga Ravn, born 1986 in Copenhagen, studied at the Copenhagen Writers Academy Forfatterskolen and is now a novelist, poet, editor, and a translator for various authors, including Joan Didion.
Beginning in 2008, Ravn’s poems began appearing in various Danish literary journals. In 2012, she published her debut, the poetry collection »Jeg æder mig selv som lyng« (tr: I Eat Myself Like Heather), in which the author explores the female body and themes such as friendship, love, and sex. Ravn’s debut novel »Celestine« was published in 2015. The novel is a modern horror story in which a teacher at a Jutland boarding school gets lost in the story of the school ghost Celestine; the young noblewoman is said to have been walled up by her family in one of the school’s wings in the 16th century and now haunts it. The text is a highly condensed, image-rich psychogram of a woman whose unhappy family past continues to reverberate into the present, and who finds in a ghost someone who shares her grief, pain, and anger. »Den hvide rose« (2016; tr: The White Rose), the author’s second book of poetry, is, according to Ravn herself, a »grief book about total and heartbreaking loneliness« and describes the intimate relationship of a lover to someone who is seriously ill. »›Den hvide rose‹« is not a tired meta poem about the worn-out language of poetry, but a sensual book about illness and pain, the loss of love, and a testament to Ravn’s visually powerful lyrical language« (»Dagbladet Information«). In 2018, Ravn’s published her second novel »De ansatte« (Eng. »The Employees«, 2020). The book is set on a spaceship whose crew consists of humans and humanoids. After a series of mysterious objects arrive on board from an alien planet, all the crew members develop feelings towards them that call into question their relationship to their work. Ravn has designed the text as a string of short testimonies obtained by a commission on board to investigate the effects of the objects on the crew. »De ansatte« is not just a postmodern labour novel in the guise of a science fiction story about how much our lives are determined by work and productivity pressures. In light of the trans- and posthuman visions that define our present, Ravn also explores what it means to be human. »The Guardian« writes: »This clever, endlessly thought-provoking novel catches something of our recursive search for the nature of consciousness.« »De ansatte« was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2019. Ravn’s third novel, »Mit arbejde« (Eng. »My Job«, 2020), describes the fundamental experience of bringing children into the world and explores the relationship between motherhood and writing.
Olga Ravn lives in Copenhagen.