On November 16, join us for a virtual book talk on the new fiction anthology The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction, out November 11 from Comma Press! Authors Kristín Eiríksdóttir & Björn Halldórsson and translator Larissa Kyzer will discuss the novel and its translation, as well as the themes explored in the book, with moderator Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir.
Iceland is a land of stories; from the epic sagas of its mythic past, to its claim today of being home to more writers, more published books and more avid readers, per head, than anywhere in the world. As its capital (and indeed only city), Reykjavik has long been an inspiration for these stories. But as this collection demonstrates, this fishing-village-turned-metropolis at the farthest fringe of Europe has been both revered and reviled by Icelanders over the years. The tension between the city and the surrounding countryside, its rural past and urban present, weaves its way through The Book of Reykjavik, forming an outline of a fragmented city marked by both contradiction and creativity.
Edited by Becca Parkinson & Vera Juliusdottir and featuring stories by Friðgeir Einarsson, Kristín Eiríksdóttir, Þórarinn Eldjárn, Einar Már Guðmundsson, Björn Halldórsson, Fríða Ísberg, Auður Jónsdóttir, Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, Andri Snær Magnason & Ágúst Borgþór Sverrisson, as well as an introduction by award-winning Icelandic author Sjón, The Book of Reykjavik has been hailed as “a fine anthology of tales that illuminate the character of the city, urban identity, the complications of life, dysfunctional relationships, second beginnings, looking for love and the impressions of the past” (NB Magazine).
This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the chat or send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above.
About the Speakers
Kristín Eiríksdóttir is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, and playwright from Reykjavík, Iceland. Her original edition of A Fist or a Heart won the Icelandic Literary Prize 2017 as well as the Icelandic Women’s Literature Prize 2018, and was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2019. The novel took second place for the Icelandic Booksellers’ Prize and was selected as one of the best novels of 2017 by the Icelandic National Radio. Eiríksdóttir has published seven books and had three plays staged. Her short fiction has appeared in Best European Fiction 2011. A Fist or a Heart is her first novel to be translated into English.
Björn Halldórsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1983. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East-Anglia in Norwich and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow. Along with working as a writer, translator and journalist, he has directed panels at festivals such as the Reykjavík Literature Festival and the PEN World Voices Festival in New York.
Halldórsson’s short stories have been published by literary journals in Iceland and the UK and have also appeared in translation in English, German, Italian and Hebrew. His first book, a short story collection titled Smáglæpir (“Misdemeanours”), was published in 2017. His second book, Stol (“Loss”), a novel, was published in early 2021 by Icelandic publisher Forlagið.
Larissa Kyzer is a writer and Icelandic to English literary translator. Her translation of Kristín Eiríksdóttir’s A Fist or a Heart was awarded the American Scandinavian Foundation’s 2019 translation prize. The same year, she was one of Princeton University’s Translators in Residence. In 2020, Larissa cofounded Eth & Thorn, a chapbook press dedicated to Icelandic poetry and short fiction in translation. She is co-chair of PEN America’s Translation Committee and runs the virtual Women+ in Translation reading series Jill!
Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir (b. 1988) has worked with culture in one way or the other for the past 10 years, as a writer and a culture journalist for radio and newspapers. She’s mostly focused on literature, visual arts and cultural analysis.
She is also a writer herself, with her most recent work being Quiet Game (2020) for which she was awarded the Maístjarnan prize for the best Icelandic poetry book published in 2020. She has also written for theater, both stage and radio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and a masters degree in creative writing.