Power To the People

City councillor Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir in City Hall by the Reykjavík city Pond

The Reykjavík City Hall welcomes a fresh newcomer this term in Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir. A majority of the newly appointed city council is comprised of women, none garnering more attention than newcomer Sanna. Sanna is in many ways in stark contrast with the typical city council member. She’s experienced a life of poverty, she’s young, she’s a person of colour, she’s an anthropologist, and last but not least… she’s a socialist. A founding member of Sósialistaflokkurinn (The Socialist Party), she has spearheaded the party’s foray into politics which culminated with 6.4% of the votes for the city council in Reykjavík. Born in 1992, Sanna broke a 44-year record by becoming the youngest city council member ever in Reykjavík. The person whose record she beat was Davíð Oddsson, a former prime minister and mayor of Reykjavík. I met Sanna in downtown Reykjavík, her new battling ground, and it’s safe to say Sanna proves a stark contrast to Davíð.

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Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?

Sauðfjárbúið að Hesti í Borgarfirði

If you venture outside Reykjavík and into the countryside, chances are you’ll come across a group of Icelandic sheep eyeing you suspiciously from the side of the road. Worse still, they could be casually standing in the middle of the road, licking it furiously as if they’re daring you to run them over. Those who witness this seemingly ill-advised activity on behalf of the sheep might be forgiven for assuming that they are perhaps not all there. And surely many Icelanders and travellers alike have done exactly that. But as it turns out, the sheep are licking precious salt from the road and accidents happen rarely enough that they’ve developed a devil-may-care attitude that sometimes rubs anxious drivers the wrong way. But lest we forget, the countryside has historically been the domain of sheep.

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A Widening Island – How Iceland’s Publishing is Embracing a Diversifying Society

Iceland’s immigrant population is growing. Today, over 10% of the country’s population is foreign-born, and that number continues to increase each year. It’s no surprise that Iceland is currently experiencing an influx of new culture, activities, and literature alongside its diversifying population. Part of this change are the inevitable challenges of adjustment and assimilation to a new reality – both on the part of the immigrants who must learn Icelandic and settle into their new home, as well as on the part of native-born Icelanders who are witnessing firsthand a shift in society as it comes to open its doors in new ways. For writers, these challenges extend to a lack of publishing opportunities in the country, as well as issues of underrepresentation.

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