9.3 On the Richter Scale

Andreas Norman

Just accepted to the Foreign Service Diplomatic program, Andreas Norman is sent to Thailand, only a few days after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. Totally unprepared, he finds himself in the crisis management following one of the worst natural disasters in modern times. Ten years after the disaster, he writes about his experiences, his sorrow and his anger.

During the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami catastrophy, he was one of the first on the ground as part of the Swedish crisis response. 9.3 on the Richter Scale is a widely acclaimed eyewitness story of the disaster that combines an essayistic clarity with a harrowing tale from the heart of crisis, told from a young diplomat’s perspective.

He describes the chaotic work, the handling of the dead and the meetings with survivors. It’s a story about how to deal with hopeless bureaucracy and an exploration of the mechanics of failure. It is also a hellish depiction, where Norman is not afraid to write about the most terrible events and about the powelessness he felt. It’s a story about a young man with a natural compass that he intends to follow.

A dramatization of 9.3 on the Richter Scale was made into a theater play at Malmö City Theater in 2015, directed by Sara Cronberg.


Sweden: Albert Bonniers

Film rights

Avanti Film, Sweden


“Andreas Norman portrays this chaos and this human state of emergency in a deeply touching and compassionate manner. Above all, there are scenes in the story that, with Norman’s gentle poetical gesture, that completely burns.”
Sydsvenskan / SWE

”How do you hold yourself together and accomplish something when everything falls apart? When Andreas Norman writes about his time in Thailand’s disaster, it is with sincerity that places the reader close to the contradictory feelings. For a less skilled writer it would have been overwhelming to write with such details and to go so close to the worst scenarios with such open eyes. But Norman, who was a poet before becoming a diplomat,  and who also has a high quality thriller on his cv, has just the right sensitivity for the values of the words required to invite the reader to hell.”
GöteborgsPosten / SWE

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