Lectures & Literary upcoming

Woman, Captain, Rebel: The Extraordinary True Story of a Daring Icelandic Sea Captain Book Talk with Margaret Willson

Sat—2-18-2023
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SAT— February 18—2:30 PM, free

On Saturday, February 18, join us for a talk with Margaret Willson on her book Woman, Captain, Rebel: The Extraordinary True Story of a Daring Icelandic Sea Captain, out January 21 from Sourcebooks!

A daring and magnificent historical narrative nonfiction account of Iceland’s most famous female sea captain who boldly defended men and women alike against injustice—and who also solved one of the country’s most notorious robberies. History would have us believe the sea has always been a male realm, the idea of female captains almost unthinkable. But there is an exception, so notable she defies any expectation.

Captain Thurídur, born in Iceland in 1777, lived a life that was both controversial and unconventional. Her first time fishing, on the open unprotected rowboats of her time, was at age 11. Soon after, she audaciously began wearing trousers. She later became an acclaimed fishing captain brilliant at weather-reading and sea craft and consistently brought in the largest catches. In the Arctic seas where drownings occurred with terrifying regularity, she never lost a single crew member. Renowned for her acute powers of observation, she also solved a notorious crime.

In this extremely unequal society, she used the courts to fight for justice for the abused, and in her sixties, embarked on perilous journeys over trackless mountains. Weaving together fastidious research and captivating prose, author Margaret Willson reveals Captain Thurídur’s fascinating story, her extraordinary courage, intelligence, and personal integrity. Through adventure, oppression, joy, betrayal, and grief, Captain Thurídur speaks a universal voice. Here is a woman so ahead of her times she remains modern and inspirational today. Her story can now finally be told.

“Meticulously researched and evocatively written, Woman, Captain, Rebel provides not only a captivating insight into 19th-century Iceland, but also introduces readers to the inspirational, real-life fishing captain Thurídur, a tough and fiercely independent woman who deserves to be a role model of determination and perseverance for us all.” — Eliza Reid, internationally bestselling author of Secrets of the Sprakkar

About the Author

Anthropologist and writer Margaret Willson has traveled extensively, in Brazil, Papau New Guinea, Mongolia, Australia, Europe and Iceland. Her eclectic nonacademic jobs have included abalone diving and being a deckhand on fishing boats off the south coast of Tasmania. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and is currently an Affiliate Associate Professor with the Departments of Anthropology and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington.

She is also a Senior Associate Scientist at the Stefánsson Arctic Institute in Iceland. Her previous books include Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge and Dance Lest We All Fall Down: Breaking Cycles of Poverty in Brazil and Beyond. She lives in Seattle with her partner and their cat Mister.