Monday, September 6, 2010

The Scandinavian Series #3 - Anne-Cath. Vestly

Anne-Cath. Vestly (1920 – 2008), was a Norwegian author of children’s literature whose stature in Norwegian society can somewhat be compared to Sweden's famous children's book author Astrid Lindgren among Swedish people. I believe she is one of the most photogenic beret wearers of our times as well!
She was born Anne Catharina Schulerud in Rena, Åmot in Hedmark. Her first book, Ole Aleksander Filibom-bom-bom, eventually developed into a series of twelve books. She challenged the traditional gender roles in the "Aurora" series (1966–1972), in which she depicts a family where the mother works as a lawyer, while the father, an ancient history Ph.D. candidate, stays at home with their two children.

Her most famous work Eight Children and a Truck (Åtte små, to store og en lastebil in Norwegian) concerns a family with eight children living in a small apartment in Oslo. It was the first in a series of nine books, the last of which was published in 2000 about the children’s grandmother. The series is known as the "Eight Children" series in English ("Mormor og de åtte ungene" in Norwegian) and was published in English translation by Methuen. It is one of the most famous Norwegian children's book series. Methuen has also published several of Vestly's other children's books, including those of the "Aurora" series.

Vestly also worked as an actress, playing Grandma in the television and screen versions of Grandma and the Eight Children (Mormor og de åtte ungene). She also co-starred with Alf Prøysen in Kanutten og Romeo Klive (1963), a popular children's television show.
She married Johan Vestly in 1946, who illustrated all her books until his death in 1993 (although some of the English translations were illustrated by John Dyke).

Anne-Cath. Vestly was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2006. She spent her final years living in a nursing home in Mjøndalen, where she died on 15 December 2008 at the age of 88.

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