Icelandic Literary Prize awarded

The Icelandic Literary Prize was awarded yesterday for the 29th time at Bessastaðir, the residence of the President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, who also delivered the prize. The winners of the year 2017 are: Kristín Eiríksdóttir, Unnur Þóra Jökulsdóttir and Áslaug Jónsdóttir along with her Swedish and Faroese coworkers Kalle Güettler and Rakel Helmsdal.  

Eiríksdóttir, a respected young poet, won in the fiction category for her novel Elín, ýmislegt, (Elín, various things). Jökulsdóttir who is a prolific author of traveling books, won the prize in the non-fiction and general content category for her nature book: Undur Mývatns – um fugla, flugur, fiska og fólk (The wonders of Lake Mývatn - of birds, flies, fishes and people). Áslaug Jónsdóttir, one of the nation's best children's books' illustrator and author, won in the category children and young adult books for the picture book: Skrímsli í vanda (Monster in trouble), which is the latest book in the popular Monster books series that Jónsdóttir co-authors with Kalle Güettler and Rakel Helmsdal. Each winner receives the prize of one million Icelandic Krónas, about 10,000 USD or 8,000 EUR.

The fact that the majority of winners this year are women has received attention. That has only happened once before and that was last year. The only time in the history of the Icelandic Literary Prize when all the winners were women, was in the year 1994.  

Grateful and honored

The winning authors were all both happily surprised and grateful for the distinction of receiving the prize. Eiríksdóttir said she did not expect her novel Elín - ýmislegt to be this succesful, but only two weeks ago she received Fjöruverðlaunin, the Women's Literary Prize, for the same novel. She is currently working on her next book that will most likely be published in 2019.  

Jökulsdóttir did also receive the same Women's Literary Prize, and has already made a contract with a respected publishing company in Berlin. "There is a stronger tradition for nature book in other countries, so many people will read the book without actually visiting the places," she said hoping that Undur Mývatns will reach these readers, and also encourage Icelandic writers to write more about nature. 

„I'm very happy that a picture book got the prize this year," Jónsdóttir said, but since the category children and young adult books was added to the prize's categories in 2013, only chapter books have won the prize. Skrímli í vanda is therefore the first picture book to receive the Icelandic Literary Prize.  

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