22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sverre Henmo

Sverre Henmo was born in 1968 in Bærum, Norway. After graduating in Sociology, Music and French in Oslo, he decided against a career as a musician – he was later to become a teacher and author – and opted for writing instead. Nowadays he teaches writing courses and is involved, practically and at an institutional level, in the mediation of literature. During his readings, he decidedly engages his audiences in active discussions. He has also served as the chairman of Norwegian Writers for Children since 2008.

His début as a writer of children’s literature with the novel »Sammen er vi én og én« (1999; tr. Together We are One and One), is the love story about two adolescents on the brink of adulthood. It was followed by further books for children and young adults on typical issues of importance in youth culture: friendship, family – including the loss of a close relative in »Når dinosaurer gråter« (2003; tr. My Grandpa Forever) – school, and dealing with central peer groups. His book »Gutten til venstre« (2006; tr. Big brother, Little Brother) deals with the relationship between a student and his younger, handicapped brother, and is also about dependency and independence. Aside from its treatment of first love and the emotional emancipation from one’s parents, the novel is also surprising in its depiction of the bizarre social-artistic experiments conducted by Adrian’s best friend Otto, which the author uses to examine normative social codes. Henmo is thereby less concerned with a direct discussion of the theme of disability than with analysing the influence that everyday life with a mentally and physically disabled relative can have on family structures. From his protagonist’s perspective, Henmo observes the alienation of the parents, whose lives have been entirely subjugated to the needs of their younger child and who seem to have forgotten their own lives. Christina Rademacher highlighted this quality of the book in her review in »1000 und 1 Buch«: »It’s admirable how the Norwegian author manages to transform the weighty matter of this theme into something which is easy to read – without trivialising it. On the contrary: with his ability to approach the matter in a gentle but thorough manner, Henmo reveals associations between the lines: he describes his characters with a comprehensible realism over the course of a year in which crises provide chances to escape into another life.«

»Gutten til venstre« was nominated for the Norwegian Critics’ Award in 2005. Sverre Henmo lives with his family in Oslo.