Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson is both an author and an artist. He studied philosophy at the University of Iceland and holds a masters degree in fine arts from École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts d’Aix-en-Provence in France and a separate masters in creative writing from the University of Iceland. In these last years he has dedicated his life to writing. He has published fiction, poetry, plays and essays.
In the summer of 2013, Ragnar Helgi published his first novel Bréf frá Bútan (Letters from Bhutan). Soon after that followed a collection of short stories and a book of poetry. In 2015 Ragnar received the Tómas Guðmundsson Poetry Prize for the book of poems Til hughreystingar þeim sem finna sig ekki í samtíma sínum (A consolation to those who do not find themselves in the present). The collection of short stories Handbók um minni og gleymsku (A manual of recollection and oblivion) was published in the autumn of 2018 and was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize and the DV Cultural Prize for Literature. Bókasafn föður míns – sálumessa (My Fathers Library – a Requiem) was published a year later and it was also nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize.
Ragnar Helgi has for many years also been working on visual art and his works have been exhibited widely around the world in museums such as KIASMA in Helsinki, MoMA PS1-Colony in New York, TBA21 in Vienna and in the National Gallery of Iceland in Reykjavík. Ragnar has also worked in collaboration with other writers and artists including Douglas Edric Stanley, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir, Anne Carson and Ragnar Kjartansson.
Ragnar Helgi is also one of two representatives for the publishing house Tunglið which publishes books and poetry magazines. Tunglið also organizes various art functions and happenings both in Iceland and abroad. Alongside Ragnars creation of art he plays music and works with graphic design, for which he has had numerous acknowledgements, as well as for his visual art.
2021 Virtual Workshop:
The Poet’s Jacket
How does a person become a writer? How does a writer stay a writer? Does being a writer involve writing? Are there rules? And if so, what are they? …
Ragnar Helgi will try to answer these and other equally peculiar questions, coming at them from a number of expected angles. Can the attitude of the rock-and-roll guitarist be of help here? Or maybe the way of looking at the world proper to contemporary art? Are the concepts of pretentiousness and pretending of any use? Does wardrobe matter? And lastly: How does all of this connect to birdwatching and ornithology?