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Janne Teller

By Mette Winge

In her writing Janne Teller looks out on the world. She writes of theatres of conflict, of war and political incursion, iniquity, brutality and violence, but also of love as the factor that makes life viable. Through this she explores a series of existential questions, those hard to provide with unambiguous answers.

Janne Teller has served as financial/political adviser to a number of international organisations, while living in Dar-es-Salaam, Brussels, New York, Maputo and other places. Her horizons are wide, her feeling for injustice deep.

Teller made her break-through with her first book, Odins Ø (Odinís Island) (1999). which differs radically from mainstream Danish novels. Here the sudden arrival of the ancient Norse god Odin gives rise to violent and tempestuous results. Nationalists and religious fanatics confront each other, producing a state of dangerous chaos, for if there is anything that destroys the peaceful harmony of a community it is a perilous mix of nationalism and religion.

The novel Kattens tramp (The Trampling Cat) (2004) depicts aspects of the Balkans during the 1990s. Sem, the protagonist, is a war surgeon and through his experiences and turbulent love story the reader is involved in this ill-starred and for those embroiled in it, destructive war. Thus the small personal ordeal is reflected in a larger one and the result is a heartbreaking tale in every way.

Janne Teller has also published books for children and young people, among them the novel for young adults, Intet (Nothing) (2000) and in this part of her oeuvre also she has skilfully shed light on various serious existential problems not often encountered in literature for young people.

Translated by Anne Born

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