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Håkon Øvreås  [ Norway ]

Biography

Portrait Ovreas
© Mona Vetrhus

Guest 2016.

Bibliography

Avstaden mellom hus

Cappelen Damm

Oslo, 2008

Grevlingvariasjonene

Cappelen Damm

Oslo, 2011

Kjærlighet er den Ting

Cappelen Damm

Oslo, 2014

Svartle

Gyldendal

Oslo, 2015

Super-Bruno

[Ill: Øyvind Torseter]

Hanser

München, 2016

[Ü: Angelika Kutsch]

Håkon Øvreås was born in Norway in 1974. He completed his master’s degree in comparative literature at the University of Oslo with a thesis on the relationship between an author and his work based on Arild Nyquist’s novel »Giacomettis forunderlige reise« (1988; tr. Giacometti’s wonderful journey).

He made his literary debut in 2008 with the volume of poems »Avstaden mellom hus« (tr. The distance between the houses), followed by another »Grevlingvariasjonene« (tr. Badger variations) in 2011. The author’s first children’s book, »Brune« (2013), immediately won the Norwegian Ministry of Culture’s and Nordic Council’s Literary Prize for Children and Young Adults. In addition to translations into numerous languages, such as Dutch (»Bruno wordt een superheld«, 2014; tr. Bruno is a superhero) and French (»Maarron«, 2015), the book appeared in German in 2016 under the title »Super-Bruno«. Still deeply saddened by the death of his beloved grandfather, the protagonist also has to deal with having the hut he built wrecked by three older boys. Faced with unsupportive parents, Bruno and his friends have no choice but to demonstrate their own courage by turning themselves into superheroes who stand up to their abusers with imagination and humor while meting out retributive justice. In a brown cape and mask, Bruno, assisted by his friends Matze (the black avenger) and Laura (the blue angel), paints one of the bullies’ bicycles brown. These wild adventures alternate with tender passages in which Bruno inwardly seeks advice from his deceased grandfather. Øvreås succeeds in entertaining the reader while also addressing complex topics such as identity, death and justice in an age-appropriate manner. A review in the »Süddeutsche Zeitung« thus described »Super-Bruno« as one of the books that you want to »hug and never let go« because the author manages to draw readers into the young protagonist’s emotional world with simple, almost incidental sentences—an effect that must also be credited to Norwegian illustrator Oywind Torseter’s exceptional drawings. Roland Hochstrasser, from »Kinder- und Jugendmedien Aargau« praised the story as being »charmingly and poetically told«, communicating the positive message that »friendship, humor and fantasy« are the things »that matter and make us stronger«. The journal »Buch & Maus« concluded that Øvreås’s work is »exciting and close to a child’s perspective and with a positive ending«, and »whets one’s appetite for a sequel«. In the meantime Øvreås has published a third volume of poetry, »Kjærlighet er den Ting« (2014; tr. Love is that thing).

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