Åsne Seierstad

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Åsne Seierstad
Asne Seierstad.jpg
Åsne Seierstad in 2007
Born (1970-02-10) 10 February 1970 (age 49)
Oslo, Norway
Occupation Broadcast Journalist, Author
Website morgenbladet.no/forfatter/asne_seierstad

Åsne Seierstad (born 10 February 1970) is a Norwegian freelance journalist and writer, best known for her accounts of everyday life in war zones – most notably Kabul after 2001, Baghdad in 2002 and the ruined Grozny in 2006. [1]

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Kabul Metropolis and municipality in Afghanistan

Kabul is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan, located in the eastern section of the country. It is also a municipality, forming part of the greater Kabul Province. According to estimates in 2019, the population of Kabul is 5.266 million, which includes all the major ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Rapid urbanization had made Kabul the world's 75th largest city.

Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".


Personal and professional life

Seierstad was born in Oslo, but grew up in Lillehammer, Norway to "a feminist author mother", Lector Frøydis Guldahl, and "a leftist politician father", Assistant Professor Dag Seierstad (b. 1936) [1] [2] She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Oslo where she majored in Russian, Spanish and history of ideas. From 1993 until 1996 she reported for the Arbeiderbladet in Russia and in 1997 from China. From 1998 until 2000 she worked for the national public broadcaster NRK where she reported from the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo. With Their Backs to The World: Portraits of Serbia , her first book, is an account of this time. (This book was extended and republished in 2004 when she again visited Serbia. The name was changed slightly, to Portraits of Serbia, signaling that Serbia’s back is no longer turned to the world.) [3]

Oslo Capital of Norway

Oslo is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city functioned as a co-official capital during the 1814 to 1905 Union between Sweden and Norway. In 1877, the city's name was respelled Kristiania in accordance with an official spelling reform – a change that was taken over by the municipal authorities only in 1897. In 1925 the city, after incorporating the village retaining its former name, was renamed Oslo.

Lillehammer Municipality in Oppland, Norway

Lillehammer is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of 2018, the population of the town of Lillehammer was 28 034. The city centre is a late nineteenth-century concentration of wooden houses, which enjoys a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen, surrounded by mountains. Lillehammer hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics and 2016 Winter Youth Olympics. Before Oslo's withdrawal from consideration, it was included as part of a bid to host events in the 2022 Winter Olympics if Oslo were to win the rights to hold the Games.

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

As a reporter, she is particularly remembered for her work in war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently Chechnya, as well as for her reports on the September 11 attacks in the United States of America. The Bookseller of Kabul , her second, bestselling book, is an account of the time she spent living with an Afghan family in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Her other books include One Hundred And One Days: A Baghdad Journal which describes the three months she spent in Iraq in the build-up to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003; Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya , an account of the time she spent in Chechnya after the war; and One of Us: The Story of Anders Breveik and the Massacre in Norway (2015), [4] which is the basis for the Netflix drama, 22 July. [5]

Afghanistan A landlocked south-central Asian country

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Much of its 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range at the western end of the Himalayas, separating the Amu Darya and Indus valleys. Kabul is the capital and largest city.

Chechnya First-level administrative division of Russia

Chechnya, officially the Chechen Republic, is a federal subject of Russia.

September 11 attacks Attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001

The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

Seierstad is fluent in five languages, and has "a good working knowledge" of another four. [2] She currently lives and works in Oslo.

She has two children with the Norwegian jazz musician and composer Trygve Seim (b. 1971). [6]

Trygve Seim Norwegian jazz musician

Trygve Seim is a Norwegian jazz musician (saxophone) and composer. He started to play the saxophone in 1985 after hearing Jan Garbarek's CD Eventyr.


There are contradictory accounts concerning Seierstad's legal battles with Shah Muhammad Rais (the bookseller portrayed in The Bookseller of Kabul ). According to the Irish Times, on 24 July 2010 Seierstad was found guilty of defamation and “negligent journalistic practices and ordered to pay damages to Suraia Rais, wife of Shah Muhammad Rais". [7] The UK's the Guardian published the same story, but later revised the tale online and in print. The revised version claims Seirstad was not found guilty of defamation or of negligence, but rather of invasion of privacy, the decision on damages would be taken later, and was finally 250,000 Norwegian kroner (£26,000). In relation to the book's influence on Rais's family members, the Guardian goes on to state, "The article also said the book's revelations of personal details caused several members of the Afghan family to move to Pakistan and Canada. We should have made clear this was an allegation made by the plaintiff's side in a case document." [8] Seierstad won her appeal of the judgment and the Supreme Court declined to review the appellate court's decision. [9]

<i>The Bookseller of Kabul</i> book by Åsne Seierstad

The Bookseller of Kabul is a non-fiction book written by Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad, about a bookseller, Shah Muhammad Rais, and his family in Kabul, Afghanistan, published in Norwegian in 2002 and English in 2003. It takes a novelistic approach, focusing on characters and the daily issues that they face.

Awards and honours


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  1. 1 2 "Åsne Seierstad Biography – Store Norske Leksikon". (in Norwegian)
  2. 1 2 "Åsne Seierstad Reporter on the Front Lines – March 2002 issue of World Press Review (Vol. 49, No. 3)".
  3. 1 2 3 "Åsne Seierstad inntar scenen med Trygve Seim (radio) – Cappelen Damm AS".
  4. 1 2 "Åsne Seierstad – The Guardian Books". London. 31 July 2010.
  5. Sippell, Margeaux (4 September 2018). "Paul Greengrass Recreates Norway Terror Attack in '22 July' Trailer". Variety. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  6. "Åsne Seierstad inntar scenen med Trygve Seim (radio) – iFrance.no". (in Norwegian)
  7. "Vindication for Bookseller of Kabul as court orders author to pay damages – The Irish Times".
  8. "Bookseller of Kabul author Åsne Seierstad: 'It's not possible to write a neutral story' – The Guardian Books". London.
  9. "Author wins over Afghan subject – Views and News from Norway".
  10. "Leipzig Book Award for European Understanding". City of Leipzig. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  11. Åsne Seierstad:One of Us The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway, Translated from Norwegian by Sarah Death, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015, ISBN   9780374277895