The Minister of Culture presented The Icelandic Literature Center's Grassroot Grants on a sunny day

Grassroot grants are awarded annually, with the aim of supporting publication of the work of newcomers on the writing scene and encouraging them to further endeavours


Img_3056On Wednesday May 30th the Icelandic Literature Center presented two new writers with “Grassroot grants”, in order to support publication of their work. Each grant amounts to 400.000 Icelandic krona and the grants were presented by Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture, to the writers at a ceremony held in Gunnarshús, the house of the Writers´ Union.

This is the eleventh year that the Icelandic Literature Center awards Grassroot grants. In total, a little more than fifty writers have benefitted from such a grant, since its inception. Among those are Fríða Ísberg, Arngunnur Árnadóttir, Bergur Ebbi Benediktsson, Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, Dagur Hjartarson, Halldór Armand Ásgeirsson, Kristín Ragna Gunnarsdóttir, Sigurlín Bjarney Gísladóttir and Sverrir Norland.

Grassroot grants are awarded annually, with the aim of supporting publication of the work of newcomers on the writing scene and encouraging them to further endeavours. In this sense, a work of literature can be a novel, a short story, a play, a poem and even something different than or beyond these.

This year, we received 58 Grassroot applications, a record number for the eleven years the grants have been on offer. The works the applications referred to are very varied; they are novels, plays, poetry, books for children and young adults, biographies, short stories, crime fiction. The writers are of every age. As stated before, the grants awarded this year are for a novel and for a poetry book. The recipients are picked by special literary consultants for the Icelandic Literature Center. 

The Grassroot Grants of the Icelandic Literature Center for 2018 go to the following works and authors:


A novel

Author: Benný Sif Ísleifsdóttir

Benný Sif Ísleifsdóttir (b. 1970) holds an M.A. degree in Folkloric Studies from the University of Iceland, as well as a diploma in Youth and Community Studies from Saint Martin´s College and a degree in Applied Icelandic Studies. Gríma is her first novel.

The consultants´ verdict:

“Gríma is an historical novel about the destinies of women in an Icelandic fishing village around the middle of the 20th century and onwards. The story is gripping and structurally strong and the characterization is powerful. The text is vivid and witty, yet the story is one of tragic events, described with extraordinary sensitivity. Great storytelling and a love for the subject are the defining characteristics of this fascinating novel.”


Clockwork (Gangverk)

A poetry book

Author: Þorvaldur Sigurbjörn Helgason

Þorvaldur Sigurbjörn Helgason (b. 1991) is currently working on his M.A. degree in creative writing at the University of Iceland. He also holds a B.A. degree in Theatre and Performance Making from the Iceland University of the Arts. Clockwork (Gangverk) is his Master´s Thesis in creative writing, supervised by Haukur Ingvarsson, and is based on the author´s personal experience of surviving with the aid of a pacemaker, after a cardiac arrest in 2007.

The consultants´ verdict:

Clockwork is a mesmerizing poetry book by a young poet who draws on a remarkable personal experience. The poems are different in form an method but they all deal with a personal experience in a strikingly sincere way, as well as referring to a more general context. The main motive is the language of the heart, in a medical as well as an emotional sense, which gives the reader a unique insight into the life and emotional landscape of the narrator.”





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