Aksel Sandemose (1899-1965) was born at Nykøbing Mors on the island of Mors in Denmark, the son of a blacksmith. His real name was Axel Nielsen, but in 1921 he took the name Aksel Sandemose, after the place where his grandparents lived. After finishing school, Sandemose went to sea, to America, Canada and India. He made his way as a gardener, teacher, clerk, farm worker, journalist.
From 1929 Sandemose lived in Norway and from 1931 he wrote in Norwegian (Bokmål). He is considered the founder of the modern Scandinavian novel. His work is influenced by Joseph Conrad, Jack London and the great psychological theories of the time; he gives deep insights into the psyche of his characters and does not spare radical criticism of social conditions. This and his unpredictable lifestyle earned him the reputation of a literary enfant terrible. Sandemose lived in exile in Sweden from 1941 to 1945. He died in Copenhagen in 1965, but was buried in Oslo.
His most famous novel is En flyktning krysser sitt spor (A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks, 1933).