“Icelandic crime author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir joins American writer Elizabeth Hand in a conversation about their work, the current Scandinavian crime fiction renaissance, what drew them to the genre, and ideas for future Iceland-related crime stories.
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir debuted as a crime writer in 2005 with Last Rituals/Þriðja táknið, which so far has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her second crime novel about attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, My Soul to Take/Sér grefur gröf, was published in 2006. It is already sold in 14 countries, including in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Spain, and Scandinavia. Sigurðardóttir’s third crime novel, Ashes to Dust/Aska was published in 2007 and was a huge success. In 2008, her fourth crime novel, The Day is Dark/Auðin, sold more than 10,000 copies in hardcover in Iceland in only six weeks. Look at Me/Horfðu á mig (2009) was also a success, but in 2010 she broke her previous records when her novel Blessed are the Children/Ég man þig sold 16,000 copies in six weeks.
Sigurðardóttir previously wrote 5 novels for children and pre-teens, two of which have won Icelandic prizes for literature: the IBBY Award (2000) and the Icelandic Children’s Book Award (2003). All of them are exciting and entertaining tales, bursting with humor and the joy of storytelling.
She is married with two kids and leads two different lives; as a crime writer and a civil engineer.
Authors in Conversation:
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir & Elizabeth HandElizabeth Hand is the multiple-award-winning author of eleven novels and three collections of short fiction, including Available Dark, sequel to her Shirley Jackson Award-winner Generation Loss. She is also a longtime critic and contributor to numerous publications, including The Washington Post, Salon, The Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, and DownEast magazine, among others. She divides her time between the coast of Maine and North London, and is at work on the third Cass Neary thriller, Flash Burn.