Elísabet Street Coming to West Reykjavík

Golli. Elísabet Jökulsdóttir

A new street under construction in Vesturbær, the westernmost neighbourhood of Reykjavík, will be named after writer Elísabet Jökulsdóttir, mbl.is reports. The idea came from Elísabet herself, who lived in the area for 30 years and collected signatures in support of the initiative. Einar Þorsteinsson, chairman of Reykjavík City Council, confirmed the decision to Elísabet yesterday.

“I’m in seventh heaven and I’m just so grateful,” the writer told reporters just after returning from City Hall yesterday, where she had handed over a list of 1,100 signatures to Einar in support of the initiative. She compared Einar’s response to magic. “It was like he did a magic trick. He just snapped his fingers and said that it would be done, just one, two, three.”

Enough streets named after dead men

The street in question is being built between Sólvallagata and Hringbraut as part of an ongoing construction project involving a new building. It was originally to be named Hoffmann’s Street after Pétur Hoffmann Salómonsson, a fisherman and writer. But when Elísabet heard about the naming plans for the street, which is located by her former home of many years, she did not approve. She stated that there were enough streets named after dead men.

“I’m very grateful and touched and this is a great moment that the street can be named after a woman. It gives us women wind beneath our wings. And who knows what the city will look like in a few years. Maybe Hringbraut will be named after [female author] Þórunn Valdimarsdóttir and more in that vein. I’m paving the way,” Elísabet said happily.

Read Iceland Review’s recent interview with Elísabet Jökulsdóttir.

Swedish Academy’s Nordic 2023 Prize Awarded to Icelandic Writer Sjón

sjón iceland author

The Swedish Academy’s 2023 Nordic Prize is awarded to Icelandic author Sjón for his significant contributions to Nordic literature.

The award, to be presented April 12, carries with it a prize of 400,000 SEK [$39,000; €36,000].

Read More: Sjón Withdraws from Iceland Noir Festival

The Swedish Academy works for the promotion of the Swedish language and literature through awards that recognize authors, translators, critics, researchers, teachers, and librarians. The Academy also promotes Nordic and international literature more generally through such prizes.

Known for his poetic and surreal style, Sjón’s best-recognized works include MoonstoneCoDex 1962The Blue Fox, and From the Mouth of the Whale. He has previously been awarded the 2005 Nordic Council Literature Prize, the 2013 Icelandic Literary Prize, among others. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages.

Cinema-goers may also recognize his recent contributions to Lamb, a psychological folk horror film directed by Valdimar Jóhansson, and The Northman, a gritty historical drama directed by Robert Eggers. He is also known for his collaboration with other high-profile artists, including the song text for Björk in the Lars von Trier film, Dancer in the Dark.

Other recent recipients of the literary prize include Karl Ove Knausgård (Norway) in 2019, Rosa Liksom (Finland) in 2020, Eldrid Lunden (Norway) in 2021, and Naja Marie Aidt (Denmark) in 2022.

Read more about the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize here.






anna moldnúpur

Already suffering from nausea in anticipation of a long voyage at sea, a middle-aged, red-headed Icelandic country woman with a modest suitcase nervously climbed a narrow gangplank in Reykjavik harbour to board the Brúarfoss, an Icelandic passenger and cargo ship. It was a bright, calm evening in mid-July 1946 and Anna – a weaver by […]

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Author Gerður Kristný Receives Jónas Hallgrímsson Award

Gerður Kristný Icelandic writer

Writer Gerður Kristný received the 2020 Jónas Hallgrímsson Award yesterday at a ceremony streamed live from Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall. The award is bestowed annually on November 16, Icelandic Language Day, to an individual for their contributions to the Icelandic language.

Gerður has published books in a variety of genres including poetry, novels, short stories, and children’s literature. She previously worked as a journalist and editor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize for her poetry book Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof). The book and other works of hers have been translated into English, including her poetry collection Sálumessa (En. Reykjavík Requiem) and her fiction work Smartís (Smarties).

In her acceptance speech, Gerður described the Icelandic language as “a friend,” saying she wasn’t concerned about her survival. “I’m very close to her in my work and I am not worried about her, I know that she’s doing fine.” She added, however, that it was important to take care of Icelandic “like everything one cares about. This responsibility has always given me joy. I believe there’s a responsibility in being an Icelandic poet and writing in Icelandic and having written texts that foreigners want to translate into their own language. There are plenty of foreigners who want to translate our books into their languages. We must be doing something right.”

Author Visits Promote Literary Engagement Among Students

A new program launched by the Icelandic Literature Center will send prominent authors to visit upper secondary schools to meet students and discuss their books with them. Per a press release issued by the Center, these author visits are intended to encourage students to read as well as increase their understanding of what a writer actually does.

Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð, Menntaskólinn við Sund, Tækniskólinn, and Kvennaskólinn í Reykjavík are the four upper secondary schools that will be taking part in the initiative this spring. Each school chose one author to visit their campus, namely: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Kristín Helga Gunnarsdóttir, Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, and Sigríður Hagalín. Each author will hold a reading during their visit and then take part in a discussion with students. In preparation, students will read at least one pre-selected book by their guest so as to be able to ask questions and offer their own reflections on the text.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Icelandic Literature Center and both the Icelandic Writer’s Union and the Society of Icelandic Principals and is supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture.

If all goes well, four new schools will be chosen to take part in the author visit program for the coming fall semester and potentially even more schools in semesters after that.