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Jostein Gaarder (born August 8 1952 in Oslomarker) is a Norwegianmarker 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 uses metafiction in his works, writing stories within stories.

Gaarder was born into a pedagogical family. His best known work is the novel Sophie's World, subtitled A Novel about the History of Philosophy (ISBN 0-425-15225-1). This popular work has been translated into fifty-three languages; there are over thirty million copies in print,.

In 1997, he established the Sophie Prize together with his wife Siri Dannevig. This prize is an international environment and development prize (USD 100,000 = 77,000 ), awarded annually. It is named after the novel.

Awards and prizes

In 1994, Sophie's World received the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.

In 1997, Gaarder was awarded the 1997 Buxtehude Bulle.

In 2004, he received the Willy-Brandt-Award in Oslo.

In 2005, Jostein Gaarder was awarded The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and later the same year he was awarded an Honorary degree at Trinity College, Dublinmarker.

Environmental and human rights activism

Jostein Gaarder has been involved in the promotion of human rights and sustainable development for several years, establishing the Sophie Prize in 1997.

He has also vehemently criticized the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the treatment of the Palestinians. In August 2006, Jostein Gaarder published an op-ed in one of the major daily newspapers in Norway, Aftenposten. This was written in response to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict and condemned certain aspects of Israelimarker politics and Judaism. Gaarder also argued against recognizing the state of Israel in its current form. The article described Judaism as "an archaic national and warlike religion", contrasting it with the Christian idea that "[T]he Kingdom of God is compassion and forgiveness". Gaarder disputed allegations of anti-Semitism, and sought to clarify that he didn't mean to offend anyone. He claimed that the piece was written in a state of moral outrage over the death toll in Lebanon. Like his initial piece, his attempts at clarification met with mixed reactions.


  • "The only thing we require to be good philosophers is the faculty of wonder." (from Sophie's World)
  • "It's fun at the Tivoli, and it's fun with a carousel, but sometimes I get the urge to jump off."
  • "There exists a world. In terms of probability, this borders on the impossible." (One of the manifesto's 52 parts, from Maya)

List of works

  • Diagnosen og andre noveller (The Diagnosis and Other Stories) (1986)
  • Froskeslottet (The Frog Castle) (1988)
  • Kabalmysteriet (The Solitaire Mystery) (1990) ISBN 0-425-15999-X
  • Sofies verden (Sophie's World) (1991) ISBN 0-425-15225-1
  • Julemysteriet (The Christmas Mystery) (1992) ISBN 0-374-12329-2 (1995 edition illustrated by Stella East ISBN 82-03-24090-9)
  • Bibbi Bokkens magiske bibliotek (Bibbi Bokkens magic library) (together with Klaus Hagerup(1993) ISBN 82-00-21210-6
  • I et speil, i en gåte (Through a Glass, Darkly) (1993) ISBN 0-7538-0673-8
  • Hallo? Er det noen her? (Hello? Is Anybody There?) (1996) ISBN 0-374-32948-6
  • Vita Brevis (Brief Life) (also appeared in English as That Same Flower) (1996) ISBN 0-7538-0461-1
  • Maya (1999) ISBN 0-7538-1146-4
  • Sirkusdirektørens datter (The Ringmaster's Daughter) (2001) ISBN 0-7538-1700-4
  • Appelsinpiken (The Orange Girl) (2004) ISBN 0-297-84904-2
  • Sjakk Matt (Checkmate) (2006)
  • De gule dvergene (The Yellow Dwarves) (2006)
  • Slottet i Pyreneene (The Castle in the Pyrenees) (2008)


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