Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) was born on this day in 1885

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ISAK (EE-sawk)

Isak Dinesen: Danish author best known for Out of Africa
Common clues: "Out of Africa" writer Dinesen; Danish author Dinesen; Meryl's role in “Out of Africa”; Storywriter Dinesen
Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year
Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen

God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road ~ Isak Dinesen

Isak Dinesen (April 17, 1885 – September 7, 1962) was a pen name for the Danish author Karen Blixen. Blixen wrote works both in Danish and in English. She is best known, at least in English, for her account of living in Kenya, Out of Africa.

Karen Blixen in Kenya, 1918

She was born into a Unitarian aristocratic family in Rungsted, and was schooled in art at Copenhagen, Paris, and Rome. She began publishing fiction in various Danish periodicals in 1905 under the pen name Osceola. Her younger brother Thomas Dinesen won the British Victoria Cross and French Croix de Guerre while serving with the Canadian army in the First World War.

In 1914 she married her cousin, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, and the couple relocated to Kenya where they operated a coffee plantation. After several infidelities on the husband's part, the couple separated in 1921, and the Baron returned to Denmark. The divorce was finalized in 1925. Karen Blixen remained in Kenya and continued to operate the plantation until the collapse of the coffee market in 1931 forced her to abandon the project.

She returned to Denmark and began writing in earnest, publishing Seven Gothic Tales (a collection of short stories) in English in 1934. She would go on to publish several other works simultaneously in Danish and English, mostly collections of short stories; she also wrote a novel entitled The Angelic Avengers, under the pseudonym of Pierre Andrezel. She was awarded the Tagea Brandt Rejselegat in 1939.

She died in Rungsted, apparently from malnutrition. She had suffered for many years from syphilis contracted from her husband.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Isak Dinesen".