Klaus Rifbjerg

1970 Klaus Rifbjerg, Denmark: Anna (jeg) Anna

About the author

Photo: Morten Holtum 2006

Klaus Rifbjerg (1931 - ) - Denmark

Klaus Rifbjerg has been active for more than 50 years, publishing two-three titles every year in a wide variety of genres: novels, children’s books, short stories, TV manuscripts, collection of poems, plays, essays, travel books – the list is long. His quick understanding, limitless fantasy and disrespect for various rules and perceptions of the world are features that permeate Klaus Rifbjerg’s production cornucopia.

About the winning piece

Anna (jeg) Anna (Anna (I) Anna)

Published by: Gyldendal publishing company
Publication year: 1969

Anna (I) Anna tells the story in the first person about a diplomat’s wife who must go home to receive psychiatric treatment for severe obsessive compulsive neurosis. On the plane, she meets a hippie who is also heading home, but with a police escort. They flee together, and somehow she finds her own inner self in the Bohemian settings and social degradation. But what she finds is not an integral person in the conventional sense. On the contrary, she and the world surrounding her appear as ever-changing multifaceted patchworks. In depicting the dissolved feeling of Anna’s being, the novel anticipates in many respects a post-modern view of humans and understanding of their lives.

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

After a vote, the committee decided to award the Nordic Council Literature Prize 1970 to Klaus Rifbjerg for his novel “Anna (I) Anna”, a psychological life-study of a modern woman, created with empathy and rich imaginative language, which reflects the social and moral crises in bourgeois society.


- Selv om De ikke har noget pas og selv om De på forhånd synes det er idiotisk, så hør alligevel efter. Jeg rejser på rødt pas, d.v.s. piplomatpas. Det åbner visse muligheder. Når vi lander på Fiumicino sørger De for at „blive væk“ fra Christensen et øjeblik. Jeg skal nok distrahere ham. Når han opdager, De er væk, siger jeg at De gik på toilettet. Det ligger i den modsatte retning af udgangen fra transithallen til Rom. Men De er ikke på toilettet, De står ved udgangen og venter på mig. Det vil tage mig nøjagtig et halvt minut at forklare embedsmanden, at De rejser med mig, og at vi i fællesskab skal hente nyt pas til Dem i Rom.

- Årh, hold da kæft, siger Jørgen Schwer.
- Ja, siger jeg, det gør jeg også.

(s. 50, Gyldendal, 2000)

- Even if you don’t have a passport yourself, and even if you think it idiotic beforehand, listen anyway. I’m travelling on a red passport, that is, diplomatic passport. That opens certain possibilities. When we land in Fiumicino try to get away from Christensen for a moment. I’ll distract him. When he discovers you’re gone, I’ll say that you went to the men’s room. It’s in the opposite direction from the transit hall to Rome. But you won’t be in the men’s room, you’ll be standing by the exit waiting for me. It’ll take exactly half a minute to explain to the official that you’r[e] travelling with me and that together we will get a new passport in Rome.

- Agh, shut up now, Jørgen Schwer says.
- Yes, I say, I’ll do that too.

(p. 50, Anna (I) Anna, translated by Alexander Taylor, Curbstone Press, 1982)

See all nominated in 1970  


  • Inger Christensen - Det
  • Klaus Rifbjerg - Anna (jeg) Anna


  • Paavo Haavikko - Audun ja jääkarhu
  • Tito Colliander - Vaka


  • Hannes Pétursson - Innlönd
  • Agnar Þórðason - Hjartað í borði


  • Kåre Holt - Kongen: Hersker og trell
  • Astrid Tollefsen - Mot et hemmelig mål


  • Sven Lindqvist - Slagskuggan
  • Verner Aspenström - Inre