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Winners of literature prizes announced

27.01.2021 - 15:55
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Lárus K. Ingason - FÍBÚT
Elísabet Kristín Jökulsdóttir, Arndís Þórarinsdóttir, Hulda Sigrún Bjarnadóttir, and Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson have been announced as the winners of the Icelandic Literature Prizes 2020.

The awards were handed over in a ceremony at Bessastaðir, the presidential residence, yesterday evening.  

Elísabet Kristín Jökulsdóttir won in the fiction category for her novel Aprílsólarkuldi. She describes the book as a semi-autobiographical work of fiction that took her ten years to conceptualise but then only a few weeks to sit down and write. The judging panel concluded that the book describes the loss of a father, love, grief, and mental health issues in a deep and poetic manner. 

Arndís Þórarinsdóttir and Hulda Sigrún Bjarnadóttir won in the children’s and young persons’ category for their book Blokkin á heimsenda. Their book is about the real-life small community in Alaska, called Whittier, where almost everyone lives in the same apartment block. Their entertaining crime fiction takes place in this block. They say their motivation was just to have fun, and that they tried to write what they themselves would enjoy reading. The judges said the result is an interesting book which enjoyably builds on a simple initial idea. 

Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson, meanwhile, won the prize for educational or general non-fiction books for Í fjarska norðursins: Ísland og Grænland – viðhorfasaga í þúsund ár. In the book, Sumarliði investigates how the wider world views Iceland and Greenland, and why it matters. He started researching the topic several decades ago. The judges conclude that he succeeds in drawing together a thousand years of history, and how the world views the inhabitants of the two islands, in an accessible and clear manner. From a time when both were mysterious, possibly dangerous, or even mythical, lands to the far north, to a time when both have distinct identities and their own international agendas, the book is also praised for its design and choice of photographs. 

15 books were nominated for the prizes in December and the eventual winners were selected by a panel of four experts: Einar Örn Stefánsson, Hrund Þórsdóttir, Jóhannes Ólafsson, and chairperson Ingunn Ásdísardóttir. 

The ceremony was opened by President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and was televised live on RÚV. 

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