Blixen, Karen

Blixen, Karen Image 1

Karen Blixen © Karen Blixen Museum

Author Karen Blixen, who wrote also under the name of Isak Dinesen, was born in 1885 at Rungstedlund, her family's estate to the north of Copenhagen. In 1914, she emigrated to Kenya together with her husband, Swedish nobleman Bror von Blixen-Finecke, who she divorced in 1924. Karen Blixen returned to Denmark in 1931 to once again live at Rungstedlund. Her first book Seven Gothic Tales was published in the USA in 1934 and became a huge success. It is however her book Out of Africa, 1938 that made her name known around the world (a American motion picture based on the book and with the same title came out in 1985). Blixen continued to write, in both English and Danish, until her death in 1962.  Much of her work was published posthumously.

In the early 1930's, during a difficult readjustment to living in Denmark, Karen Blixen prepared several stories, which she had been working on in Africa, to be sent to publishers. She offered the tales under the name Isak (meaning the laughing one) Dinesen, a name meant to sound like they were written by a man. She was afraid that, as a woman, her work would not be taken seriously.

She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1957.