Lise Nørgaard (born Elise Jensen; 14 June 1917 – 1 January 2023) was a celebrated Danish journalist and writer renowned for her insightful and often humorous depictions of Danish cultural life. Her literary contributions encompassed a wide range of genres, including novels, essay collections, and short stories. However, it was her captivating memoir of childhood, titled Kun en pige (Only a girl), that etched her name in literary history as it became a bestseller in 1992 and is widely regarded as her magnum opus. Such was the impact of her memoir that it was adapted into a feature film in 1995.

Life and Career

One of the standout achievements in Lise Nørgaard’s illustrious career was her role in creating and co-writing the television series Matador from 1978 to 1982. This series, set in the fictional town of Korsbæk between 1929 and 1947, focused on portraying typical Danish characters and their lives. Its immense popularity made it the most successful TV program in Danish history, solidifying Nørgaard’s status as a cultural icon.

Nørgaard’s journey began in journalism when she joined the esteemed Politiken newspaper in 1949. Her writing primarily revolved around topics related to households and women’s issues, contributing valuable insights to societal discourse. In 1968, she transitioned to Hjemmet, a weekly magazine, where she eventually assumed the role of managing editor from 1975 to 1977. Her columns in the magazine were characterized by their witty and critical observations of Danish life, earning her a devoted readership.

Throughout her career, Nørgaard received several prestigious honors that recognized her exceptional contributions. She was bestowed with the literary achievement award Publicistprisen by the National Press Club of Denmark. Her remarkable talent and influence within the Danish literary landscape were further acknowledged when she was named Danish writer of the year and received De gyldne Laurbær (The Golden Laurel). In 1994, Nørgaard achieved the esteemed knighthood in the Order of the Dannebrog, solidifying her legacy in Danish culture. Her remarkable life journey reached a remarkable milestone when she celebrated her 100th birthday on 14 June 2017, a testament to her enduring spirit and influence.

On 1 January 2023, Lise Nørgaard peacefully passed away in her sleep at the age of 105, leaving behind a rich legacy of literary brilliance and cultural insight that continues to resonate with readers and viewers alike.