Per Olov Enquist, better known as P. O. Enquist, (born 23 September 1934 in Hjoggböle, Skellefteå, Västerbotten) is a Swedish author. He has worked as a journalist, playwright and novelist. In the nineties, he gained international recognition with his novel The Visit of the Royal Physician.
After a degree in history of literature at Uppsala University he worked as a newspaper columnist and TV debate moderator from 1965 to 1976. Because of his work he soon became an influential figure on the Swedish literary scene. From 1970 to 1971 Enquist lived in Berlin on a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service and in 1973 he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been working as an independent writer since 1977.
Enquist's works are characterized by a chronic pessimistic view of the world. They always describe the restrictions imposed by the pietistical way of living, especially in March of the Musicians (1978) and Lewi's Journey (2001). He gained international recognition with his novel The Visit of the Royal Physician (1999) where he tells the story of Johann Friedrich Struensee, the personal physician of the Danish King Christian VII.
Some of Enquist's works have been translated into English by Tiina Nunnally.
He was awarded the Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 1968 with a recounting of Sweden's deportation of Baltic-country soldiers at the end of the second world war. His recognition went on to include the Selma Lagerlöf Prize in 1977, the Dobloug Prize in 1988, and the Italian the Flaiano Prize in 2002. He also received the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize as well as the Nelly Sachs Prize in 2003 for Livläkarens Besök (titled in English translation as "The Visit of the Royal Physician"). In 2010, Enquist was awarded The Austrian State Prize for European Literature for his great storytelling. In 2010, he was awarded the Swedish Academy's Nordic Prize, known as the 'little Nobel'.
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