Gabriel Scott, Norwegian Author (March 2010)

Norwegian author, Gabriel Scott (1874-1958) was the subject of the March meeting program, to be presented by his grandson, Jan Scott.  Altogether Gabriel wrote some 60 novels and several plays.

Jan, heir to Gabriel’s writings and memorabilia, showed a slideshow of photos and talked about his Grandfather Scott's parents, his birth in Scotland and personal life in Norway.  Jan lives with his wife, Astri Mai Myhre, at Lovettsville, Virginia. 

Gabriel Scott: Author, Poet, Playwright

Gabriel Scott Jensen was born in 1874 in Leith, Scotland where his father served as pastor of the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission. Pastor Jensen was later assigned to London and from there to the parish church of Høvåg on the southern coast of Norway in 1881. Here Gabriel became known as “Gabriel the Priest”, and events in his life here are reflected in several of his books. His style, the use of local dialects, his descriptions of the beauty of nature, the struggle of farmers and fishermen to make a living, and the inclusion of actual historical events in his novels soon earned him the title “The Poet of the South”, a title he did not accept, as neither of his parents were born in that part of Norway. 

In 1890 at the age of 16, Gabriel was sent to Kristiansand  to attend high school. With few friends and feeling very much alone, he started writing poems. He sent poem after poem to the local newspaper where they were rejected until one was finally accepted and printed. The 17 year old was ecstatic even though his name was not mentioned. After six months of loneliness (and to the great dismay of his educated, intellectual parents), he moved to Arendal where he became a machinists apprentice . Two years later he was accepted as a student at an engineering school in Porsgrunn, and later at the Engineering Academy in Kristiania (now Oslo). A few months later, he dropped out of school hoping to make a living from his writings. It was a proud day when he was able to triumphantly inform his astonished parents that “My first book of poems ‘Digte’ will be published in a few days”. The following years saw Gabriel travelling frequently between the capital (when he had money) and his parents’ home in the south (when he was broke).
Gabriel Scott wrote 60 novels and several plays. His first novel ,“Islands in the West”, was published in 1896 when he was 22. Four of his novels were dramatized and filmed. Best known is “Tante Pose”, a Christmas story that is shown annually on Norwegian TV at Christmastime. (More info@ www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Scott)