Karl Ove Knausgaard in conversation with John Freeman

Recorded at Performance Works on October 22, 2014

While his earlier novels were well received in his native Norway, it was the 2009 publication of My Struggle, the first of six autobiographical novels, that made Karl Ove Knausgaard successful— and controversial. The greatest ever publishing phenomenon in Norway, the series exposed his family and friends, and provoked legal action and death threats. It also garnered glowing reviews and award nominations, including the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Three of the six volumes are now available in English. But his global success has come at a cost. “If I had known then what I know now, then no, definitely no, I wouldn’t dare,” Knausgaard says. “But I’m glad I did. I will never do anything like this again, though, for sure. I have given away my soul.”

This event was sponsored by Simon Fraser University Library Services.

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s first novel, Out of the World, was the first debut novel to win the Norwegian Critics’ Prize for Literature, and his second novel, A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven, was widely acclaimed. A Death in the Family, the first of the My Struggle cycle of novels, received the prestigious Brage Prize. The six novels of the My Struggle cycle can be read independently or as one hugely ambitious project. This breathtaking cycle has been the greatest literary sensation in Norway in decades.