Study Guide

Peter Høeg

Peter Høeg Biography

Biography (Short Stories for Students)

Peter Høeg was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 17, 1957. He graduated from Frederiksberg Gymnasium in 1976 and then studied literary theory at the University of Copenhagen, earning his master's degree in 1984. While at school, Høeg began writing his first novel, Forestilling om det tyvende arhundrede, which he worked on for six years, endlessly revising as he gained greater skill in writing. When the book was published in 1988, Danish critics were quick to praise it. His next book, Fortællinger om naten (1990), also received positive criticism and established him as the premier contemporary Danish writer. However, it was his third book, the novel, Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne (1992), which established Høeg's international fame. The book, translated into English as Smilla's Sense of Snow in 1993, became a bestseller in the United States.

Following this success, Høeg's existing works began to be translated into English along with his new works, creating an odd situation in which English-speaking readers were exposed to both the author's newest and oldest works in the same time period. In 1994, Høeg's De måske egnede (1993) was translated into English as Borderliners. In 1995, Høeg's first novel was translated as The History of Danish Dreams. In 1996, his novel Kvindenog aben and its English translation, The Woman and the Ape, were released. Finally, Høeg's second book, the short-story...

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Peter Høeg Biography (Novels for Students)

Peter Heg Published by Gale Cengage

Peter Høeg was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 17, 1957. His father was a lawyer and his mother a classical philologist. Høeg worked as an actor, dancer, drama teacher, and sailor before turning to writing in 1988. Høeg has also traveled extensively throughout the world, most notably in Africa. His wife, Akinyi, is Kenyan, and Høeg and his family visit Africa frequently.

Høeg’s first novel Forestilling om det tyvende arhundrede was published in Denmark in 1988. Translated as The History of Danish Dreams, the book was published in English in 1995. Critics praised the debut novel highly. However, it was not until the publication of his third novel, Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne, that Høeg became known internationally. Published simultaneously in 1993 as Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the United States and as Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow in England, the novel immediately won outstanding reviews from critics and readers alike. Tiina Nunnally, the translator of the American version and the primary translator of the English version, along with the pseudonymous “F. David,” also won high praise from reviewers for her brilliant rendering of the Danish novel into English. She received an award from the American Translators Association for her translation of the novel. Both Time and Entertainment Weekly selected Smilla’s Sense of Snow as their best novel of the year. In 1997, director Bille August released his film rendition of the novel. The novel also won a 1992 Glass Key award from the Crime Writers of Scandinavia. Since its publication, Smilla’s Sense of Snow has been translated into seventeen languages, testifying to its worldwide appeal.

Høeg’s other works include Tales of the Night, a collection of short stories, first published in Danish in 1990 and in English in 1997. Borderliners, a novel, was published in Denmark in 1993 and in the United States and England in 1994. Finally, The Woman and the Ape, a novel, was published in Denmark, the United States, and England in 1996. Høeg established a foundation with the profits from this book to aid women and children in third world countries. At present, Høeg lives in Copenhagen with his wife and two children.