1987 Herbjørg Wassmo, Norway: Hudløs himmel

1987 Herbjørg Wassmo, Norge: Hudløs himmel

About the author

Herbjørg Wassmo was born on an island close to the polar circle in Norway. She made her debut in 1976 as a poet with the collection of poems, Vingeslag, and has since then enjoyed a unique career as a writer. In less than ten years, her books became part of literature teaching in all Norwegian schools and at the university. Her books have been translated into 14 different languages.

About the winning piece

Hudløs himmel is the third part of the trilogy launched in 1981 with The House with blind glass windows. Published in 1986, the second part is called Det stumme rommet. The protagonist of the suite of novels, Tora, grows up in a small fishing village in northern Norway after World War II. Early, she realises that a secret lies buried about her origins, and after some time she finds out that, shamefully, she is of German origin, her father a soldier in the German occupation army. Tora is being teased and bullied, she is sexually abused by her stepfather. Little by little, she ends up in denial of her own body, linguistic chaos and, finally, a full-blown psychosis. In the book, we follow Tora as she strives to find her adult self. The surrounding landscape with the barren fishing village in northern Norway lends character and weight to the people, sometimes violently so. The sky is raw.

Hudløs himmel

Published by: The publishing house Gyldendal Norsk Forlag 

Publication year: 1986

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

"Hudløs himmel" is the third in a series of novels about the ‘German kid’ Tora, the exploited, who wins strength by living through others. The novel is a remarkably nuanced portrayal of a young woman, written in a sensitive language yet with a dramatic reality.