Prime Minister Pens Crime Novel with Ragnar Jónasson

Best-selling author Ragnar Jónasson and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir have co-authored a crime novel together, RÚV reports. The book will be called Reykjavík.

This may seem an unlikely detour for the Prime Minister, but Katrín actually wrote her undergraduate thesis on Icelandic crime novels. She and Ragnar have, moreover, been planning their collaboration for some time. Two years ago, Katrín mentioned that the pair would be co-authoring a book together, but COVID scuppered those plans—at least temporarily. A year ago, however, Ragnar confirmed that they’d started writing.

Reykjavík is set in 1986 and deals with the disappearance of a young girl named Lára Marteinsdóttir from Víðey, a small island located in Kollafjörður Bay just off the capital’s coastline, some 30 years previous. For decades, Lára’s disappearance has weighed heavily on the Icelandic nation, but no concrete explanation of her disappearance has ever been furnished. That is, until a young reporter starts digging into the cold case with startling consequences.

“In this story, Katrín Jakobsdóttir and I are going to invite readers on a journey back to the summer when Reykjavík celebrated its 200th birthday, when Bylgjan and Stöð 2 [Iceland’s first privately-owned radio and TV stations] first started broadcasting, and Reagan and Gorbachev’s Reykjavík Summit was just around the corner,” wrote Ragnar in a Facebook post about the book on Friday. “And that summer is also when unexpected clues about Lára’s fate come to light.”

Reykjavík is set to be released in Iceland on October 25.

Iceland’s Low-Cost Electricity in High Demand as Energy Prices Skyrocket in Europe

Low cost of electricity in Iceland compared with the rest of Europe

There is an increasing demand amongst foreign companies to base their operations in Iceland due to favourable energy prices, but the demand far exceeds what the country’s power plants can produce. RÚV reports that Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company of Iceland, says there’s a pressing need for increased electricity production.

‘New, potential customers are knocking on the door’

With Russia cutting off petrol pipelines to Europe, energy prices on the continent are skyrocketing. Meanwhile in Iceland, energy prices have remained almost unchanged. “It’s our renewable energy that makes this possible,” says Tinna Traustadóttir, Executive Vice President of Sales at Landsvirkjun. And as gas prices continue to rise, it’s not only consumers, but also companies, that are suffering. This has led to many enterprises—not least energy-guzzling aluminium smelters—going under as a result.

The state of Europe’s changing energy landscape is “reflected in high demand from existing customers,” explains Tinna, “and we also feel that there are new, potential customers knocking on the door.” At present, however, Iceland has no electricity to spare.

“As it stands now, you could say our electricity system is at full capacity, or as close to that as possible. And of course, it takes time to generate a new supply, but the situation is a pressing one,” says Tinna.

‘We will need to prioritize…but it’s clear we need to accelerate’

As a result, many foreign companies are clamouring to relocate their operations in Iceland, but the demand not only far exceeds the country’s current energy supply, it also exceeds Landsvirkjun’s plans for future  electricity production.

“We will need to prioritize,” says Tinna, listing off Landsvirkjun’s competing energy interests. “Domestic energy exchange, domestic food production, technological progress, supporting our current customers. But it’s clear we need to accelerate.”