Every year, the Icelandic Literature Center allocates publishing grants to local publishers to support the publication of new works in Icelandic. These grants are awarded with the intention of supporting works that have particular cultural and epistemological value.
This year, the Center funded 54 works, for a total of ISK 28 million [$208,986; €200,856] in funding. A total of 72 applications were received, requesting ISK 75 million [$559,743; €537,806] in grant funding. The topics of this year’s grantees range significantly, from an 18th century murder case, architecture, the history of communism in Iceland, the kings of Iceland, contemporary LGBTQIA+ art and more.
Growing Interest in Icelandic Literature Abroad
The Icelandic Literature Center also allocates funding to foreign publishers to support the translation of Icelandic literature into other languages. Allocations for these grants are made twice a year, in February and September. In February, the Center allocated 54 grants for translations into 22 languages. Translated works included contemporary novels, poetry, children’s books, biographies, and medieval sagas.
“It is notable that Icelandic books are now travelling abroad almost as soon as they are published in Iceland,” the announcement on the Center’s website reads. “For example, Fríða Ísberg’s debut novel, Merking, which will be published in English and German this year, and Úti by Ragnar Jónason will be out in English next fall.”
The largest grants were given to The San Francisco Ballet, for their forthcoming publication of Þorvaldur Kristinsson’s biography of Helgi Tómasson, and for a German-language translation of Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s Fjarvera þín er myrkur. The latter will also be published in Danish and Dutch soon.
Fans of Icelandic crime fiction also have much to look forward to in the near future, with English translations forthcoming of authors Eva Björg Ægisdóttir, Lilja Sigurðardóttir, Sólveig Pálsdóttir, and Ragnar Jónasson.
See all of February’s translation grants here.