The first Icelandic biography about the Icelandic author and Society of Jesus minister Jón Sveinsson (1857-1944), commonly known as Nonni, written in a period of eight years by historian Gunnar F. Guðmundsson, has been published.
Nonni’s books, including the children book series Nonni og Manni, inspired by memories from his youth in Iceland, have appeared around the world and translated to more than 30 languages, ruv.is reports.
“Two biographies about him were released in German and Czech decades ago but we have perhaps not paid enough attention to this man. We’re familiar with his books, of course, but we haven’t come close to the person,” stated Haraldur Þór Egilsson, director of the Akureyri Museum.
The museum also operates Nonnahús, an exhibition dedicated to the author’s life, facilitated inside the house where Nonni grew up.
Haraldur added that the biography shows that Nonni’s youth may not always have been as happy as he describes in his books. “We’re provided with a new perspective of the person, much more than through the adventures of the 12-year-old boy in Iceland as described in his books.”
The new information may influence Nonnahús; Haraldur said it is not unlikely that a new exhibition will be made based on the biography.
The book, Pater Jón Sveinsson – Nonni, has been nominated to the Icelandic Literature Award in the non-fiction category.
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