Reuter, Bjarne (B.) 1950-

views updated

REUTER, Bjarne (B.) 1950-

PERSONAL: Born 1950, in Broenshoej, Denmark. Education: Graduated from teachers' college, 1975.

ADDRESSES: Agent—International Children's Book Service, Skindergade 3 B, DK-1159 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

CAREER: Teacher, c. 1975-80; full-time writer, beginning 1980.

AWARDS, HONORS: Children's Book Award, Danish Ministry of Culture, 1977, for En dag i Hector Hansens liv; Children's Book Award, Danish Bookseller Employees, 1981, for Kys stjernerne; Herman Bang grant, 1983; UNICEF Prize for best children's film, 1984, for Buster's World; named with Thoeger Birkeland as "The Children's Choice" by Danish School Librarians, 1985; Robert Prize, 1985, for screenplay of Twist and Shout; Copenhagen Association for Culture Prize, 1987; Roede Kro Prize, 1988; Golden Palm Award for best film, Cannes Film Festival, 1988, Golden Globe Award for best foreign-language film, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1989, and Academy Award for best foreign-language film, American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1989, all for Pelle the Conqueror; Golden Laurels, Danish Booksellers, 1989; Culture Prize, Danish Labor Unions, 1989, for Maanen over Bella Bio; Mildred Batchelder Award for best children's book in translation, Association for Library Service to Children, 1990, for Buster's World; "highly commended" citation for Hans Christian Andersen Medal, International Board on Books for Young People, 1990; Danish Library Associations Prize, 1990.



Busters verden (novel; also see below), Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978, translation by Anthea Bell published as Buster's World, Andersen Press (London, England), 1988, Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.

Kys stjernerne (novel), Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1980, translation by Anthea Bell published as Buster, the Sheikh of Hope Street, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Da solen skulle saelges (retelling of a Chinese folktale), illustrated by Svend Otto S., Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1985, translation by Joan Tate published as The Princess and the Sun, Moon, and Stars, Pelham (London, England), 1986, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

Drengene fra Sankt Petri, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1991, translation by Anthea Bell published as The Boys from St. Petri, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994.


Kidnapning, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1975.

Rent guld i Posen, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1975.

En dag i Hector Hansens liv, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1976.

Ridder af Skraldespanden, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1976.

Rottefaengeren fra Hameln, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1976.

Eventyret om den tapre Hugo, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Skoenheden og Udyret, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Det skoere land, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Den stoerste nar i verden, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Tre engle og fem loever, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Zappa (also see below), Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1977.

Drengen der ikke kunne blive bange, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978.

De seks tjenere, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978.

Slusernes kejser, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978.

Den utilfredse prins, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1978.

Boernenes julekalender, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Den fredag Osval blev usynlig, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Rejsen til morgensroedens hav, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Stoevet paa en sommerfulgs vinge, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1979.

Kolumbine & Harlekin, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1980.

Suzanne & Leonard, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1980.

Knud, Otto & Carmen Rosita, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1981.

Skibene i skoven, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1981.

Det forkerte barn, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1982.

Hvor regnbuen ender, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1982.

Oesten for solen og vesten for maanen, Hernov (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1982.

Casanova, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1983.

Naar snerlen blomstrer (also see below), Part 1: Efteraar 1963, Part 2: Foraar 1964, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1983.

Maltepoes i den store vide verden, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1984.

Tropicana, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1984.

Bundhu, FDF/FPF, 1985.

Shamran, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1985.

Den dobbelte mand, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1987.

Droemmenes bro, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1987.

Os to Oskar . . . for evigt!, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1987.

Maanen over Bella Bio, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1988.

Vi der valgte maelkevejen, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1989.

Mig og Albinoni, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1990.

Den skaeggede dame, Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1990.

Tre til Bermudos, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1990.

Lola, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1991.

En Rem af Huden: Roman, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1992.

Seven. A, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1992.

Den korsikanske Bisp, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1993.

Johnny & the Hurrycanes: Roman, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1993.

Langebro med lobende figurer, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1995.

Kaptajn Bimse & Kong Kylie, illustrated by Annette Reuter, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1996.

Ved profetens skaeg: Roman, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1996.

Fakiren fra Bilbao, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1997.

Mordet pa Leon Culman: Roman, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1999.

Under kometens hale, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1999.

Prins Faisals ring, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 2000.


(With Bille August) Zappa (film; based on Reuter's novel of the same title), Kaerne, 1983, Spectra-film, 1984.

Buster's World (film; based on his novel of the same title; originally broadcast in Denmark as a television miniseries), Metronome, 1984.

(With Bille August) Tro, hab, og karlighed (film; based on Reuter's novel sequence Naar snerlen blomstrer), Kaerne, 1984, released under English title Twist and Shout, Miramax, 1986.

(With Bille August and Per Olov Enquist) Pelle erobreren (film; based on Volume 1 of the novel by Martin Andersen Nexo), Kaerne, 1987, released under English title Pelle the Conqueror, Miramax, 1988.


En dag i Hector Hansens liv [and] Busters verden [and] Kom der lys i neonroret, gutter? (plays), Branner and Korch (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1984.

En tro kopi, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1986.

Den cubanske kabale, Gyldendal (Copenhagen, Denmark), 1988.

Also author of additional plays and of radio programs for children. Reuter's works have been translated into Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish.

SIDELIGHTS: Danish author Bjarne Reuter is one of that country's most beloved children's writers, creator of almost sixty titles, only four of which have been translated into English. Winner of the prestigious Mildred Batchelder Award in 1990 for the translated edition of his children's novel Buster's World, Reuter was also a recipient of an Academy Award in 1989 for the script of the film Pelle the Conqueror. Other movie collaborations from Reuter include the 1983 Zappa, and its 1984 sequel, Tro, hab, og karlighed, released in English as Twist and Shout.

Born in Denmark in 1950, Reuter was trained as a teacher and worked in education until 1980 when his growing list of publications allowed him to pursue writing full time. He was already well-known in his native Denmark when he entered into a collaboration with the film director Bille August in the adaptation of several of his novels into the two films Zappa and Twist and Shout. These films deal with the lives of a pair of teenagers—Bjoern and Mulle—during the 1960s. The two are a good-natured pair but wind up getting in over their heads in a gang in Zappa. The leader of the gang, Sten, is a tyrant, bullying the members into committing crimes. Finally, however, Mulle and Bjoern break away from him. Bjoern is featured again in Twist and Shout, set some time after the action in Zappa. Here the teen undergoes typical experiences of his age, enjoying the music of the Beatles, and finding and then painfully losing a first love. In collaboration with the adult novelist Per Olov Enquist, Reuter and August next adapted a volume of the Danish classic Pelle the Conqueror for film, dealing with Pelle's impoverished youth in Denmark in the nineteenth century. Winner of the Cannes Golden Palm Award, Pelle the Conqueror also took home an Oscar for best foreign-language film.

At about this time, Reuter had his first juvenile novel translated into English and published by Dutton. Buster's World, originally appearing in Denmark as Busters verden, is "an episodic, seriocomic tale of a modern Danish schoolboy's trials and tribulations in a world no longer kind to performers," as a critic for Kirkus Reviews described the title. Buster is indeed a natural performer and buoys himself with a repertoire of magic tricks learned from his magician father. His teachers, however, do not appreciate his antics and are more interested that he should get a formal education. Equally unsympathetic, his classmates tease and taunt him because he is poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother who has grown increasingly dependent on her young son. Having to bring his father home from the bars is, unfortunately, not uncommon for Buster, and his family is always on the verge of dispossession. Despite this, however, Buster retains a positive attitude and a resilient spirit. He plots ways to get back at the school bullies and discovers love. While the Kirkus Reviews contributor asserted that "Buster's life and times stay with the reader," a Horn Book writer also lauded this title, dubbing it "a lively and effervescent story of the perils and raptures of a likable and amusing young boy."

More of Buster's adventures are presented in Kys stjernerne, published in English as Buster, the Sheikh of Hope Street, in which the hero hopes to play the lead in the school play. Again, Reuter uses telling details of Buster's life—fetching his dad from the pub, having to share a bed with his sister—to show the youth's difficult situation. Buster, however, meets life's hardships with determination if not plain mischief. Not chosen to play the part of the sheik in the school play, he seeks revenge by convincing the boy who did get the part to let him do his make-up. The result is that the new sheik—a privileged boy—goes on stage with a green face. Phyllis G. Sidorsky, writing in School Library Journal, was not as impressed with this title as she was with Buster's World, pronouncing the sequel "not a winner." However, a critic for Kirkus Reviews was more enthusiastic, writing that Buster, the Sheikh of Hope Street was "a moving story that captures childhood's essence in a rare blend of unblinking realistic detail, pathos, and rollicking, roguish humor."

Reuter turned his hand to a children's picture book with Da solen skulle saelges, published in English as The Princess and the Sun, Moon, and Stars, a "well-written folktale and a felicitous collaboration," according to School Library Journal critic Judith Gloyer. In the tale, an emperor dreams that his daughter's suitor will offer her the most precious thing in the universe. His dream seems to come true as a succession of likely wealthy men offer the moon, the stars, and then the sun. Set in China, the story is based on a traditional tale in which the daughter, despite all the power of the wealthy suitors, finally finds the one man she loves. Though disapproving of the somewhat "pat" ending, Gloyer found the story's drama "builds well with lyrical passages." More praise came from a contributor for Junior Bookshelf, who termed the book "a really enjoyable story for reading aloud."

With the 1994 Drengene fra Sankt Petri, appearing in English as The Boys from St. Petri, Reuter returns to the novel form to tell a World War II story about a group of young men who find ways to thwart the German invaders in Denmark. These adolescents include Lars and his older brother, Gunnar, sons of Minister Balstrup. At first, the boys pull pranks on the Nazi invaders, such as stealing their license plates, but soon they escalate to more sophisticated and dangerous resistance activities. With the help of another youth, Otto—whose mother has a series of affairs with German soldiers—the group breaks into a train station to post anti-German flyers. Otto, during the raid, sets fire to the station, raising the stakes in their deadly game against the invading army. Increasingly, the boys become consumed with their resistance mission, limiting contact with friends and family, and plan to derail a German ammunition train. Difficulties also mount, including the threat to a Jewish friend who has been taken under the wing of the Balstrup clan. Meanwhile, their activities are being traced by a German soldier who gets closer and closer to their true identities just as the time draws near for the final attack on the train. Horn Book's Maeve Visser Knoth commended the "pace and tension" of this tale, commenting favorably on the "dramatic, powerful conclusion." "The tension," according to Knoth, "is heart-stopping." Booklist's Hazel Rochman felt that the novel "takes a while to get going," but "what will hold readers is the action." More laudable words came from a critic for Kirkus Reviews, who called the novel "tightly focused," and added that the last pages of the book "are suffused with the elation of victory and the success of their last defiant act." For Betsy Hearne, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, the novel is "involving," as well as "one that shows how courage changed . . . young lives."



St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th edition, edited by Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.


Booklist, February 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of The Boys from St. Petri, pp. 1001-1002.

Book Report, September-October, 1994, Daniel Harvey, review of The Boys from St. Petri, p. 44.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 1994, Betsy Hearne, review of The Boys from St. Petri, p. 232.

Horn Book, September, 1989, review of Buster'sWorld, p. 623; March-April, 1994, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of The Boys from St. Petri, pp. 206-207.

Junior Bookshelf, October, 1986, review of The Princess and the Sun, Moon, and Stars, p. 183.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1989, review of Buster'sWorld, p. 919; November 1, 1991, review of Buster, the Sheikh of Hope Street, p. 1407; February 1, 1994, review of The Boys from St. Petri, p. 149.

New York Times, April 3, 1984; May 16, 1984; September 26, 1986; September 20, 1988; December 21, 1988.

School Library Journal, March, 1988, Judith Gloyer, review of The Princess and the Sun, Moon, and Stars, p. 184; September, 1989; February, 1992, Phyllis G. Sidorsky, review of Buster, the Sheikh of Hope Street, p. 89; February, 1994, Tim Rausch, review of The Boys from St. Petri, p. 120.

Variety, March 30, 1983; October 31, 1984; December 19, 1984; December 23, 1987.*