Icelandic Literary Prize winner
Icelandic author Hallgrímur Helgason started out as a painter and has held over 30 exhibitions. His best known books are 101 Reykjavik, which has been translated into 16 languages and inspired a movie released in 2000 to international acclaim, The Hitman’s Guide to House Cleaning, Helgason’s only book written in English that has been sold in 15 countries and became an Amazon bestseller in 2012, and Woman at 1,000 Degrees, published in 12 countries. It won the Best Translated Book Prize in France in 2014, has inspired theatre versions in two countries, and will be published in English in 2018. Hallgrímur’s novel The Author of Iceland received the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2001 and three of his novels have been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize.
His latest novel, published by Forlagid in 2015, is the autobiographical Seasick in Munich. Simultaneously published in Icelandic and German, it was selected as one of “The Ten Best Books of 2015” in the German newspaper Die Zeit, and nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize 2015. In 2016 Helgason published his first book of poetry, titled Lucky Walks, after his dog Lucky, as well as his Icelandic translation of Shakespeare’s Othello, which premiered at the National Theatre in December 2016 and won the Icelandic Translation Prize the same year.
2021 Virtual Book Chat:
Insiders Out, Outsiders In: Reading Iceland
A short introduction to Icelandic literature in three 21st century books.
Advance reading: Bloodhoof, by Gerður Kristný, A beautifully written modernist poem that reworks, in the most feminist way, an old Norse myth about the heathen fertility god Freyr and his attempt to marry Gerdur, the daughter of giants.
Miss Iceland, by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, A short and sharp novel about a young woman author who struggles to get her writings accepted and published in 20th century Iceland when its literature and media were men only.
The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning, by Hallgrímur Helgason, A dark comedy about a Croatian mafia hitman who accidentally lands in Iceland, the world’s most peaceful and feminist society, disguised as an American televangelist.