Obrestad, Tor 1938–

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OBRESTAD, Tor 1938–


Born February 12, 1938, in Nærbø, Norway; son of Jon R. (a farmer) and Sofi Obrestad; married Merja-Riitta Stenroos (a professor and poet), February 11, 2000; children: Pål, Audun, Ådne, Sofi Obrestad Halling, Magnus, Hulda Stenroos. Ethnicity: "Norwegian." Education: Attended University of Oslo, 1964, 1966.


Home and Office—Stavanger, Norway. E-mail[email protected]


Full-time writer, 1967-90; journalist, 1990-2005. Military service: Norwegian Army, King's Guard, skiing company, 1961.


Writer's Union.


Norwegian Debut Prize, 1966.


Kollisjon (poetry; title means "Collision"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1966.

Vårt daglige brød (poetry; title means "Our Daily Bread"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1968.

Vind (novellas; title means "Wind"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1968.

(Editor, with Paal-Helge Haugen and Einar Økland) Moderne prosa: Arbeidsbok frå eit literaturseminar, Samlaget (Oslo, Norway), 1968.

Marionettar (novel; title means "Puppets"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1969.

Den norske løve (poetry; title means "The Norwegian Lion"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1970.

Sauda og Shanghai (poetry), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1973.

Sauda! Streik! (novel; title means "Sauda! Strike!"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1973.

Stå saman (poetry; title means "Stand Together"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1974.

Tolken (novellas; title means "The Interpreter"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1975.

Stå på: Roman om ein arbeidskonflikt (novel; title means "Go On"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1976.

Baba Anastasia, og andre tekster, Norske bokklubben (Oslo, Norway), 1976.

Oljearbeidarar: Bilete frå Nordsjøen, illustrated by Helge Aarrestad, Grøndahl (Oslo, Norway), 1977.

Songar: Dikt i urval, 1966-1978, illustrated by Karen Rød, Oktober, Duplotrykk (Oslo, Norway), 1978.

Vinterdikt (poetry), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1979.

Ein gong må du seie adjø (novel), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1981.

Sjå jæren, gamle jæren (short stories), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1982.

Olje og lyng: Litteratur frå Jæren og Stavanger, Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1984.

Kamelen i Jomarskogen (juvenile), illustrated by Svein Solem, Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1985.

Tenningar: Skrivestykke gjennom 20 år, Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1986.

Misteltein (poetry), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1987.

(Editor) Raymond Carver, Men sjela er også ein glatt daevel (poetry), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1988.

Seks netter, seks dagar (novel; title means "Six Nights, Six Days"), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1989.

Arne Garborg: Ein biografi (biography), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1991.

Hulda (biography), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1992.

Menneske i vindens rike: Noveller i utval, Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1993.

Forsøk på å halda fast tida: Nye noveller (short stories), Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1993.

Mimosa, myosotis, rosmarin (poetry), Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

Om "Fred" og nihil: Ei nylesing av "Fred" (essay), Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1994.

Sannhetens pris: Alexander Kielland, en beretning (biography), Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1996.

Jæren: Fire and Sky; A Collection of Poetry in Words and Pictures, translated by Ren Powell, Rogaland (Norway), 1997.

To par: Brevvekslingen mellom Alexander L. Kielland og Louise og Viggo Drewson (correspondence), Cappelen (Oslo, Norway), 1998.

(Editor) Ord av Kielland, Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 1998.

Bernhards mor: En drøm, Wigestrand (Oslo, Norway), 1998.

Ohrid: Reisedagbøker (poetry), Wigestrand (Oslo, Norway), 1999.

Brev frå Labråten, Aschehoug (Oslo, Norway), 2001.

Krokodillen Alexander og navigator emeritus, Reinert i Sjøhusgaten (novel), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 2001.

Kvinnene i Casablanca (novellas), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 2002.

(Translator) Bohumil Hrabal, Dansetimar for eldre og vidarekomne, 2003.

(Coauthor) Den lengste historia: Rogaland 10.000 f.Kr. 1350 e.Kr. (nonfiction), Wigestrand (Oslo, Norway), 2004.

Søk (literary articles), Gyldendal (Oslo, Norway), 2005.

Vi skal kle fjellet med menneske og våpen (novel), 2006.

Translator of poems by Mao Tse-tung, Ho Chi Minh, William Blake, Robert Bly, Dylan Thomas, Raymond Carver, and others. Editor of Arne Garborgs' diary. Contributor to periodicals, including Micromegas.


Sauda! Streik! was made into a movie.


Tor Obrestad told CA: "My primary motivation for writing is to tell things about myself and the world, things that I know that nobody else knows so precisely as I do, and things that may be interesting for other people to read. Influences on my work? My impressions, experiences, reflections, and dreams; other people's experiences and thoughts; history, politics, books, and some few other writers. My work has been inspired by some Norwegian classical writers, and by William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf, and Raymond Carver. I have also been inspired by my childhood, contemporary political events, my surroundings, what I read and what I see and what I'm listening to.

"I have three writing processes. As a journalist I see, report, interpret what is happening here and now; I am very accurate and down to earth. As a scientist I sum up what other people have seen and reported, study the documents, talk with people, and be there on the spot where the event happened. As a dreamer or man of visions, I am the guy who follows the inner light and the mysteries of revelations."

Obrestad later told CA: "My interest in reading and writing stems from my grandparents. They taught me to read and write when I was four years old, and my mother's father was a great storyteller. I wanted to be like him.

"What influences my work? People I meet, life in general, and history. Contemporary history, the business of the day, and in the traditional meaning, what is behind there. My inner life is a great source. My writing process is a never ending story. It goes along inside the mind, I may have an idea in the freezer for years and then it suddenly crops up, and I write. I study documents and books and store it inside until is is boiling, then I write. Normally I do most of the business inside my body, and serve the dinner when the meat is ready. When I worked as a journalist I usually wrote my articles striding by foot to the office for some twenty minutes. When I reached the machine, I wrote the thing down.

"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is the dimension of one's brain. It is really immense, and you can never stop developing its potential. Now I see things that were printed in my brain some sixty years ago turn up to be marvels for me as a writer. I hope that somebody will read my book and have pleasure by doing it."



Norsklaeraren, Volume 17, number 2, 1993, Per Buvik, "Biografi, hagiografi og moralpreike: Ein kritisk merknad til Tor Obrestads boker om Arne og Hulda Garborg," pp. 30-33.

Vinduet, Volume 25, number 1, 1971, Walter Baumgartner, "Obrestad/Holmas—to politiske poeter," pp. 54-59.

World Literature Today, autumn, 1990, Sverre Lyngstad, review of Seks netter, seks dagar, p. 652.