My Father’s Library

In this course Ragnar Helgi will use his experience from writing My Father’s Library (nominated in 2018 for the Icelandic Literature Prize) to explore various themes connected to the intersection between fiction and non-fiction, linear and non-linear narratives. He will evaluate the pros and cons of using multiple genres within one work (autobiography, essay, local lore, book of jokes) as well as sharing his observations on “stealing” real people’s lives in literature.

Other themes involve the function of silence and white space in non-fiction and thoughts on how to write from particulars towards absolutes, unveiling underlying philosophical issues.

Structure will also be considered: Looking into the unexpected power of a fragmentary style as well as a the benefits of thinking of narrative form as a three dimensional object rather than a two dimensional and linear one.
Such a way of thinking involves a slight readjustment of the attitude of the writer towards his reader so in conclusion we will look into the concept of writing “as a message in a bottle written with invisible ink.”

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