Icelandic literary prizes and awards in the past year: a summary

15. March, 2021 News

Works of Icelandic literature and their authors have received a range of prizes and awards in the past year. All published Icelandic books of the previous year in the relevant field are eligible.

The Icelandic Literary Prize

President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson presented the Icelandic Literary Prizes for 2020 at a ceremony at the presidential residence, Bessastaðir, on 26 January 2021. The event was televised live on RÚV national TV.

Elísabet Kristín Jökulsdóttir received the prize for fiction for her novel Aprílsólarkuld (The Chill of the April Sun); Arndís Þórarinsdóttir and Hulda Sigrún Bjarnadóttir were the winners in the children's and youth books category for Blokkin á heimsenda (The Island on the Edge of the World), and Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson in the academic and general book category for Í fjarska norðursins: Ísland og Grænland – viðhorfasaga í þúsund ár (The Far North. Iceland and Greenland - Millennia of Representations).

See report on all nominations to the Icelandic Literary Prizes.

Hagþenkir Award

The award made by Hagþenkir: the Association of Non-fiction and Educational Writers, was presented on 10 March 2021. The winner was Pétur H. Ármannsson, for his Guðjón Samúelsson húsameistari (Guðjón Samúelsson State Architect). Publisher: Icelandic Literary Association.

From the judges' statement: “A high-quality and detailed account of the life and work of Guðjón Samúelsson. A worthy memorial to the man who shaped the architecture and planning of the newly-independent state of Iceland.”

Verlaunahafar-2021Fjöruverðlaun Women's Literature Prize

The Fjöruverðlaun Women's Literature Prizes were presented on 8 March 2021.

Prizes were awarded for Hetjusögur (Heroes) by Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir (publ. Benedikt) in the literature category, for Konur sem kjósa: Aldarsaga (A Century of Women Voters) by Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir, Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir, Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir and Þorgerður H. Þorvaldsdóttir (publ. Sögufélag) in the category of academic and general books, and for Iðunn & afi pönk (Idunn & Grandpa Punk) by Gerður Kristný (publ. Forlagið) in the category of children's and youth literature.

See all nominations here.

2021Icelandic Translators' Prize

Poet Guðrún Hannesdóttir won the Icelandic Translators' Prize for her translation of The Door (Az ajtó) by Hungarian author Magda Szabó. Publisher Dimma. The prize was awarded by President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson at Gljúfrasteinn, the home and workplace of Halldór Laxness, on 20 February 2021.

In their statement the judges said that Guðrún has translated the book into remarkably nuanced and succinct language, so that one might believe that the story had been written in Icelandic.

Maístjarnan Poetry Prize

The Maístjarnan Poetry Prize was awarded to Reynir Gunnarsson for his poetry book Þvottadagur (Washing Day). The prize was awarded at the National and University Library on 20 May 2020.

The prize is awarded by the Writers' Union and the National and University Library. All Icelandic poetry books published in 2019 were eligible.

Bloddropinn-2020Blóðdropinn Prize for crime fiction

Sólveig Pálsdóttir won the 2020 Blóðdropinn Prize for crime fiction for her book Fjötrar (Fetters).

The winning book goes on to be Iceland's candidate for the Glass Key Nordic crime fiction award. The Blóðdropinn prize was first presented in 2007.

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