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Gerdur Kristný  [ Island ]

Biography

Gerdur Kristny
© Hartwig Klappert

Guest 2011.

Bibliography

Die letzte Nacht des Jahres
Bloomsbury
Berlin, 2011
[Ü: Karl-Ludwig Wetzig]

Gerður Kristný (Guðjónsdóttir) was born in Reykjavík in 1970. She studied French and Literature at the University of Iceland, and graduated with a paper on the aesthetics of Charles Baudelaire’s »Fleurs du mal«. A columnist at her country’s best-circulating daily »Fréttablaðið« she focused on the issue of gender equality in Icelandic society. After retiring from her position as editor in chief of »Mannlíf« magazine she became an independent writer. Since 1994 she has published 18 books »of rampant diversity« (says the web portal »Fabulous Iceland«), including novels, short stories, children’s books, a biography, a travelogue, poems and various texts for anthologies.
Her debut collection of poems »Ísfrétt« (1994; tr. Ice News) deals with medieval Icelandic literature, and in particular with the »Poetic Edda«. The poem »Til Skírnis« (tr. To Skírnir) refers to the eddic »Poem of Skírnir« about the God Freyr, who – when sitting on Odin’s throne without permission and watching the world of giants – sees Gerður and falls in love with her. He sends his messenger Skírnir, who manages to bring Gerður to Asgard, the home of the Gods. »Blóðhófnir« (tr. Blood Hoof), Kristný’s poetry collection of 2010, uncovers the blind spots of the eddic poem, and reveals the massive threats Skírnir used to intimidate Gerður, so that the giant would agree to accompany him to Asgard in order to become a maid of the men there. For »Blóðhófnir« the author received the most prestigious Icelandic Literary Award in 2011. Her children’s book »Garðurinn« (2010; tr. The Garden) gained her the West Northern Children’s Book Award. The Gothic-style novel tells the story of a girl named Eyja, who moves to Western Reykjavík with her parents. From the window of her room in their new home, Eyja can see an old cemetery. She is afraid, and when her father falls ill, she suspects that the mysterious armchair that the family recently bought is involved. Together with her new friend Sölvi she enters the cemetery in order to solve the riddle.
Gerður Kristný received numerous awards, including the Icelandic Children’s Book Award (in 2003) for »Marta Smarta« (tr. Smart Marta), the Halldór Laxness Literary Award (in 2004) for her novel »Bátur með segli og allt« (tr. A Boat with a Sail and All), the Jón úr Vör Poetry Award (in 2010), and the Guðmundur Böðvarsson Poetry Award (in 2010). The author lives in Reykjavík.

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