Therese Tungen

Once they were wolves

Once they were Wolves is a collection of short stories about people who are confronting something new and unknown in their lives. The stories explores what happens when people are being pushed hard, by others, by themselves, by the unexpected ways life might take.

​The first sentence in the book sets the scene immediately: ”It had been raining for ten days. Thunder filled the air. The houses around his were dark and empty, and the moisture clung to his skin and made breathing difficult. Perhaps Inger-Marie and he were the only ones left in the village.”

Once they were Wolves came out in March 2017, and has already gotten much attention and critical acclaim, comparing her to Norwegian giants such as Olav Duun and Merethe Lindstrøm as well as classic masters of the short story, like Poe and Chekhov.

«Therese Tungen makes her debut with super-relevant and affecting short stories. [...]Her stories are long, but still concentrated. They stop exactly when they should. As if the writer lures the reader to the edge of a cliff, and then disappears, leaving the reader to herself.» 5/6

Brynjulf Jung Tjønn, VG

«These short stories are a welcome, mature and stylistically secure contribution to the Norwegian short story. Some of them are on par with our very best.”»

Janneken Øverland, Klassekampen

«In Therese Tungen’s excellent debut we follow people in extreme circumstances […] the inner lives of brains where cognition is about to break down is described in a language so fluid and alive that I feel like I’m reading my own thoughts.»

Bjørn Hatterud, Hamar Arbeiderblad

«We have been given a new, exciting short story writer. She can be mentioned along Merethe Lindstrøm …». 5/6

Vigdis Moe Skarstein, Adresseavisen

«The strength i Tungen’s short stories are … that they push through the barriers of social realism … it is well-written, brave and original …» 5/6

Live Lundh, Vårt Land

Therese Tungen

Tungen therese bw

Therese Tungen has worked as an editor for ten years, starting at the publishing house Oktober, where she among other things co-edited Karl Ove Knausgård's My Struggle. She later worked at Kagge forlag and is now an editor for non-fiction at Det Norske Samlaget. Tungen has also worked as a literary critic. She studied creative writing at Bø College and later at Aschehoug Forlag’s in-house academy.

Tungen comes from a rural area in the middle of Norway, the valley Gudbrandsdalen, and was born into a family of car sellers in a small working class town. She grew up in a safe and warm home, but several of the men in her environment, were heavy drinkers. When they weren’t working, they were drinking and behaving recklessly. Her experiences has made a clear imprint on her writing, and several of the short stories in Once They Were Wolves are inspired by the place she grew up.

Foreign rights

Thomas Mala
[email protected]
+47 46 67 61 55


Aschehoug's grant for debutants 2017.
Nominated to Youth Critic's Prize.

Edited January 22, 2018 by Northern Stories