This fall, join us for a virtual literary series with the nominees of this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize! Awarded since 1962 alongside other prizes from the Nordic Council in music, film, and environment, the Literature Prize is selected annually for a work of fiction (poetry, prose, or drama) written in one of the Nordic languages. Created to generated greater interest in the sense of Nordic cultural community and to recognize unique artistic endeavors, each year’s prize is selected by the Nordic Adjudication Committee, made up of two members from each of the Nordic nations.
One of this year’s nominees from Iceland, Elísabet Jökulsdóttir’s Aprílsólarkuldi follows Védís, who, on the brink of adulthood loses her father and is unable to cope with the resulting emotions. She has grown up using language to deceive herself and others – not saying what she means, and not meaning what she says — but there is nothing so dangerous as emotions. Moreover, it becomes complicated for her to mourn her father, whom she feels she actually lost long ago.
In the midst of a nervous breakdown, Védís meets Kjartan, and the love between them melts her inner ice. But their hunger, combined with overconsumption of intoxicants, also leads to associated obsession, fear, anxiety and depression. Védís soon begins to lose her hold on reality, believing she can see and hear various messages in her surroundings that are hidden to others.
Jökulsdóttir masterfully applies the methods of poetry to investigate what happened when, in the late 1970s, at the age of around 20, she suffered a bipolar disorder that she has since worked to penetrate and convey in her art. In today’s program, she will discuss her novel with translator Larissa Kyzer.
This event will take place as a Zoom webinar; please ask questions in the Q&A or send them in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration is required; please sign up at the link above. This conversation will be recorded and available later to stream on our Virtual Programming page and on our YouTube channel.
About the Speakers
Elísabet Jökulsdóttir (b.1958) has received several awards and recognition for her work, most recently the Icelandic Literary Prize for Fiction 2020, for The Chill of the April Sun – A Story of Love, Madness, and Solace. She’s also a two-time recipient of the Women’s Literature Prize, in 2007 for Advice of the Locksmith, and in the 2014 category for No Dance by Ufsaklettur, which became a nominee for the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2016. Jökulsdottir was also a candidate in the 2016 presidential election. She feels she has a handle on various styles, the absurdist as much as the realistic. She is nominated for the 2022 Nordic Council Literature Prize for The Chill of the April Sun.
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!