Johan Bojer was born Johan Kristoffer Hansen on March 6, 1872, in the village of Orkdalspya near Trondheim, Norway. The son of unmarried parents, he grew up with foster parents in the Norwegian fishing village of Risen, across the fjord from Orkdalspya. Bojer learned early the realities of poverty. As a boy, Bojer fished, tended cattle, attended school two days a week, and went to church on Sundays. In the evenings, he absorbed the tales his foster mother told. Later these tales and experiences of rural life figured prominently in Bojer’s writing. After his biological father died, leaving him an inheritance, he took the name Bojer.