Four Icelandic authors have been nominated for Nordic Council Prizes in literature this year. Arndís Þórarinsdóttir, Guðni Elísson, Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson, and Rán Flygenring are Iceland’s nominees in the categories of Literature and Young People’s Literature. The winners of the Nordic Council prizes will be announced at a ceremony tonight, October 31, broadcast from the Oslo Opera House in Norway. RÚV reported first.
Children and Young People’s Literature nominees
Arndís Þórarinsdóttir is nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize for her book Kollhnís (Somersault, not published in English), which the jury calls “a powerful and original novel about a difficult subject […] This is a story full of humanity and with a deep concern for its main theme – autism – and the complicated challenges accompanying it that both relatives and the individual face.” Arndís has previously been nominated for the same Nordic Council prize.
Rán Flygenring is also nominated for the Children and Young People’s Literature Prize for her picture book Eldgos (Volcanic Eruption, not published in English). “At first glance, Eldgos may seem like a lively and straightforward story about a mother, her son and oblivious nature, but it goes a lot deeper than that,” the jury states. “The story makes one think about prejudice, foolishness, danger and fear, and about the importance of taking responsibility for oneself in encounters with nature.” Rán has also been nominated for the same prize previously.
Guðni Elísson’s novel Ljósgildran (“The Light Trap”, not published in English) is one of the nominees for the distinguished prize. “Ljósgildran is an extraordinarily well-crafted literary work that is brimming with the joy of writing,” the jury statement reads. “The author exhibits an extremely skilful mastery of the text in this original contemporary story where literally everything is at stake.”
Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson is nominated for his poetry collection Laus Blöð (Loose Sheets, not published in English). Each copy of the book comes with a unique bookmark containing instructions on the order in which the poems in that copy should be read. “Looking up the next poem with the help of a page number makes for an entertaining reading experience, much like playing a game or hunting for treasure,” the jury writes, also praising the book’s design, which is “quite simply a work of art.”
The Nordic Council Literature Prize has been awarded since 1962 and is given to a work of fiction written in one of the Nordic languages. The prize is intended to generate interest in the literature and language of neighbouring countries and the wider Nordic cultural community. In total, eight Icelandic projects and works of art are nominated for Nordic Council Prizes this year.