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Anne-Cath. Vestly
Anne-Cath. Vestly (1963)
Anne-Cath. Vestly (1963)
Born Anna Catharina Schulerud
(1920-02-15)15 February 1920
Rena, Norway
Died 15 December 2008(2008-12-15) (aged 88)
Mjøndalen, Norway
Occupation Children's book author
Nationality Norwegian
Period 1950s–2002
Spouse Johan Vestly
Children 2 sons

Anne-Cath. Vestly (15 February 1920 – 15 December 2008) was a Norwegian author of children’s literature. She is known for a wide range of children's books published from 1953 to 2004. Vestly was best known for her series about a grandmother (Mormor) who looked after and shared numerous adventures with a flock of eight children.


She was born Anne Catharina Schulerud in the village of Rena in Åmot municipality in Hedmark, Norway. She was the daughter of Mentz Oliver Schulerud (1877-1931) and Aagot Schulerud (1875-1957). Her father was a pharmacist and owned a hardware store. Her mother was a school teacher. She graduated artium at Lillehammer in 1939. She then moved with her mother to Oslo where she studied at the University of Oslo, attended trade school and became involved in amateur theater work.

She came into contact with radio programming in 1946 through her brother Mentz Schulerud who was employed as program secretary at Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). She soon started her career with children's entertainment on the radio and television. Most of her books were first presented as readings in on the NRK program Barnetimen for de minste. She also co-starred with Alf Prøysen in Kanutten og Romeo Klive (1963), a popular children's television show on NRK.

Her first book, Ole Aleksander Filibom-bom-bom, eventually developed into a twelve volume series. She challenged the traditional gender roles in the "Aurora" series (1966–1972), in which she depicts a family where the mother works as a lawyer, while the father, an ancient history Ph.D. candidate, stays at home with their two children.

Her most famous work Eight Children and a Truck (Åtte små, to store og en lastebil in Norwegian) concerns a family with eight children living in a small apartment in Oslo. It was the first in a series of nine books, the last of which was published in 2000 about the children’s maternal grandmother (Mormor). The series is known as the "Eight Children" series in English (Mormor og de åtte ungene in Norwegian) and was published in English translation by Methuen Publishing. Several of Vestly's books were filmed. Vestly also worked as an actress, playing the role of Grandma on television and in the screen versions; Mormor og de åtte ungene i byen (1977) and Mormor og de åtte ungene i skogen (1979).

Personal life

In 1946, she married Johan Vestly (1923-1993). They were the parents of two sons: Jo (born 1948) and Håkon (born 1957). Her husband illustrated all her books until his death in 1993. Vestly was the sister of author, radio personality and theatre director, Mentz Schulerud. She was also the aunt of Ingrid Schulerud who was married to Norwegian Prime Minister, later Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.

Anne-Cath. Vestly was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2006. She spent her final years living in a nursing home in Mjøndalen, where she died in 2008 at the age of 88.

Selected awards

  • Riksmålsprisen, 1977
  • Peer Gynt Prize, 1980
  • Alf Prøysens Ærespris, 1986
  • Norwegian Booksellers' Prize, 1986 (for the book Mormor og de åtte ungene på sykkeltur i Danmark)
  • Spellemannprisen 1991 (for the album Marte og mormor og mormor og Morten 1-4)
  • Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Knight, First Class) 1992
  • Norsk kulturråds ærespris, 1994
  • Brage Prize Honorary Award, 1995
  • Prillarguri Award, 2000
Preceded by
Erik Bye
Recipient of the Norsk kulturråds ærespris
Succeeded by
Ole Henrik Moe
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