Gaute Heivoll made his debut in 2002 with the prose collection Liten dansende gutt [Small Dancing Boy], and since then has written poetry, children's books, short stories and novels. Heivoll was the recipient of the 2003 Tiden-prisen Prize. In 2006 he was the Norwegian representative to the Literary Festival Project Scritture Giovanni and his short-story Dr. Gordeau was translated into English, German and Italian.
Before I Burn (2013) was a bestseller in Norway. The novel won the Brage Prize and was nominated for the Critics Prize and the Booksellers' Prize, and has been sold in more than twenty countries.
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In a brief author note, Gaute Heivoll describes the incredible inciting events that propelled him to write Before I Burn
It all started with a forest fire at the beginning of May. A few weeks later two old stables burned down. In the end, there were in total ten fires, three of which were houses, and all were razed to the ground. Four people were a hair's breadth from death. All this occurred within a radius of ten kilometres from my childhood home. I was only a few months old at the time, so you could say with some justification I was born into this drama. All of a sudden a small parish of eight hundred inhabitants became national front page news. Even the national TV news carried a big splash when things were at their peak. The investigation involved the murder squad, and the police set up a base in the local village hall. In the weeks of the arson attacks people were likening the situation to wartime, and it really was like being at war. People sat guarding their houses, the church, with guns. Most assumed the perpetrator was someone from outside the area - after all, who would do this type of thing to their own?
Eight of the fires were started over three days, over a weekend, from a Friday morning until the Sunday...
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