Peter Gotthardt is a Danish librarian by profession but has since 2006 worked full-time as an author. He has written over 60 books for children and has won several local awards. Gotthardt mainly writes fantasy and adventure stories.
Peter Gotthardt was born in Vanløse (Copenhagen). His parents instilled a love of reading in him by reading aloud and taking him to the Vanløse library.
"As a schoolboy, I was a bookworm, and I read everything — both novels and fairy tales and non-fiction about history, geography, nature, inventions, etc. It has meant a lot for my books that I have a reasonably good background knowledge of various topics. I got my reading material by walking on my feet from Vanløse to Valby library, which in the 1950s had something unique: an entire section of the library dedicated to children's books," Gotthardt says.
He started his career as a librarian in 1971. Part of his work as a children's librarian was to organize events for children, where he taught how to tell a story. Gotthardt found that kids liked the old Irish tales of Finn because they have a clear plot, lots of action, and some great lines that are fun to act out.
In 1984, Peter Gotthardt had a selection of Irish tales of Finn and his men published in the book Finn and His Men and the Red Witch (Finn og hans mænd og den røde heks). He then wrote The Black Spear (1987), also based on Irish legends.
After a couple more books, Peter Gotthardt took a long break from writing and was also a publishing editor for a couple of years. This gave him a good insight into the conditions for producing children's books in Denmark. He was also inspired in his work by Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, singer Katia Guerriero, and actress Liu Shi Shi.
Gotthardt started writing again in 1999 and stopped working as a librarian in 2006.
Some of his famous works include The Orphanage of Paradise, The Haunted Castle, and The Shadow in the Mirror. His books have been translated into English, Norwegian, Swedish, and others.
In addition to writing tales for children, Peter Gotthardt has also written books for young adults and has contributed to several anthologies.
Peter Gotthardt won several local awards in Denmark, including the Orla Award, the Ole Lund Kirkegaard Award, and the Danish Cultural Ministry's Children's Book Prize.
Peter Gotthardt now lives in Snerlehøj, Helsingør.
Photo credit: Forlaget Alvilda (www.petergotthardt.dk)