Pedro Gunnlaugur Garcia Gets the Icelandic Literary Prize Skip to content

Pedro Gunnlaugur Garcia Gets the Icelandic Literary Prize

By Erik Pomrenke

icelandic literary prize
Photo: Steingrímur Steinþórsson – Facebook.

The Icelandic Literary Prize was awarded last night, January 24, at a ceremony in Bessastaðir.

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson awarded the Icelandic Literary Prize, as well as the prize for best crime thriller, known as the “Blood Drop” award, the best non-fiction, and the best youth literature.

This year’s recipient of the Icelandic Literary Prize is Pedro Gunnlaugur Garcia for his novel, Lungu (Lungs), published by Bjartur.

According to the verdict by the award panel, Lungu is a sweeping family history of many generations from different corners of the world, which plays out in contemporary Iceland, but also stretches far into the future, culminating in a virtual reality where these generations mingle. Here, a new tone is struck in Icelandic fiction writing with a magical narrative that effortlessly and smoothly moves between the deepest emotions and conflicts to adventurous moments of joy with a mythical twist – so that even the greatest tragedies benefit from the joy. Relationships between lovers and generations are broken and damaged, but stories and memories illuminate fateful moments in their lives, showing the reader the very spark of life, and capturing the essence of a long life,” says the jury’s review.

At the ceremony, Pedro Gunnlaugur Garcia stated: “It is gratifying, strange, and frankly overwhelming that the book has reached readers, touched some people, and now won an award. I didn’t expect this at all; it was a distant dream at best.”

Other recipients this year included Skúli Sigurðsson for his crime thriller Stóri Bróðir (Big Brother), Arndís Þórarinsdóttir for her children’s book Kollhnís (Somersault), and Ragnar Stefánsson for his non-fiction Hvenær kemur sá stóri: Að spá fyrir um jarðskjálfta (When Is the Big One Coming: Predicting Earthquakes).

The Icelandic Literary Prize was founded in 1989 on the 100-year anniversary of the Association of Icelandic Book Publishers. Recipients of the award receive ISK 1 million [$6,930;  €6,360], provided by the Association of Icelandic Book Publishers.




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