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Authors   >   Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen was born Karen Blixen at her family’s estate near the town of Rungsted, Denmark, in 1885. An imaginative and artistic child, she attended the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and also studied in England, Switzerland, Italy and France. Dinesen wrote in English and then translated her stories into her native Danish, resulting in unusually beautiful prose that emphasized her self-declamation as a fortaellerske—an oral storyteller. In 1914, she married Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke and traveled to Kenya, where they started a coffee plantation. The marriage was difficult, and the couple eventually divorced. While in Kenya, Dinesen met Denys Finch Hatton, and the two maintained a romance until his death in an airplane accident in 1931. Soon afterward, Dinesen returned to Denmark and began to write in earnest. She was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in literature, and her memoir Out of Africa as well as Babette's Feast have been adapted into Academy Award-winning films. She continued to write until her death at the age of 77 in 1962.

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