This Thursday the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair opens its doors to the public. This year's Country Focus is Iceland whereby the public will have the opportunity to discover the rich literary scene of what some might call 'the most western of all European countries'. The program line-up promises a host of poets, novelists, illustrators and academics who will meet with the visitors and sit for book signings.
Here are some not to miss sessions:
Book author and iIlustrator Áslaug Jónsdóttir: (Sat. 9 May, 14:00 – 14:45)
She is an illustrator and children’s book writer from Iceland. She studied visual arts in Reykjavik and Copenhagen and graduated as illustrator and graphic designer in 1989. Her first children’s book was published in 1990 and since then she has written and illustrated numerous picture books and taken part in exhibitions in Iceland and abroad. Moreover, she has written children’s plays for The National Theater in Reykjavík, where she also was responsible for the stage design. Áslaug has received numerous awards for her works, including the Dimmalimm Prize, on two occasions. Her work has twice been selected for the IBBY Honour List, and she has received nominations for the Nordic Children’s Literature Prize and the Hans Christian Andersen Awards. In 2014 Áslaug received a nomination to The ALMA award 2015, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for her illustrations. Áslaug Jónsdóttir lives and works in Reykjavik.
Jon Kalman Stefansson: (Sat. 9 May, 20:15 – 21:00)
He is an Icelandic novelist, born in Reykjavík in 1963, who has created an individual and enchanting fictional world in a series of related novels and short stories. Two of these works, Summer Behind the Slope, and Of Tall Trees and Time were nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Prize. In Summer Light, Enter Night Jón Kalman continues to expand his fictional world, this time with an unusual collection of related stories and fragments. The setting is a small village in the west of Iceland where one inhabitant after another wanders bewildered among the labyrinthine paths of the human heart. Jón Kalman was awarded the 2005 Icelandic Literature Prize for this novel. In 2011 he awarded the prestigious P.O. Enquist Award. Over the last years Jón Kalman has been working on the trilogy consisting of Himnaríki og helviti (Heaven and Hell) (Bjartur, 2007) and Harmur Englanna (The Sorrow of Angels) (Bjartur, 2009) and Hjarta Mansinns (The Heart of Man) (Bjartur 2011). The third and final book in the trilogy won the Bookseller’s Prize 2011 and was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize. Stefánsson has most recently won the Italian Grinzane Bottari Lattes Prize for the second instalment in the trilogy Heaven and Hell.
Lani Yamamoto: (Mon. 11 May, 17:15 – 18:00)
Has written and illustrated Albert, Albert 2, Albert 3, and Albert 4, a series of philosophical picture books for young children. The books have been translated into 12 languages. Her most recent book, Stína Storasæng, was nominated for the 2014 Nordic Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature, and won two awards in Iceland in the same year. Lani has a BA in psychology from Bryn Mawr College, a diploma in filmmaking from the London Film School, and a M.St. in the Study of Religion from the University of Oxford. She has a background in documentary film and has designed experimental creative learning workshops for children in collaboration with artists, scientists, and educators. Originally from Boston, Lani lives in Reykjavik with her husband and two teenage children.
Yrsa Sigurdardottir: (Mon. 11 May, 19:45 – 20:30)
She is an award winning international bestselling crime writer from Iceland. Yrsa has written six books in a series about her protagonist, the lawyer Thora, in addition to three stand-alone thrillers. Her horror novel, I Remember You is presently being adapted for the big screen and the Thora series for English language television. The latest book to be published in the UK is Silence Of The Sea, preceded by Someone To Watch Over Me, chosen by the Sunday Times as the best crime novel published in the UK in 2013.
Ragnar Jónasson: (Sun. 10 May, 18:45 – 19:30)
He is the author of the bestselling Dark Iceland crime series, set in the northernmost town in Iceland. He also currently works as a lawyer and is a teacher at Reykjavik University Law School. The first two titles in the series, Snowblind and Nightblind, will be published in English by Orenda Books in 2015 and 2016. Two books in the series have also been published by Fischer Verlage in Germany, Schneebraut and Todesnacht. Before becoming a writer, Ragnar translated fourteen Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had short stories published in Germany, UK and USA. Ragnar is the co-founder of Iceland Noir International Crime Festival in Reykjavik. He has taken part in panels at festivals in England, Scotland, USA and Iceland and in 2015 he will appear at Edinburgh International Book Festival, Crimefest in Bristol, Newcastle Noir, Bloody Scotland and Shetland Noir.