Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bjarni Bjarnason was born in 1965 and grew up In Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Sweden. His poems were published in national magazines and newspapers while he was still in his teens. He wrote his first play by the time he was twenty, and shortly thereafter a first volume of poetry titled »Upphafið« (e. The beginning). To date Bjarnason has written a collection of short stories, a collection of one act plays, three books of poetry, one collection of essays about literature and society, a dream-journal, and ten novels.

Before twenty years old he had lived in sixteen places in seven different family patterns. He started out as a underground, autodidact writer and created a name for him self as such, then became a part of the official literary scene. 

Nominated for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 1996, Bjarnason’s second novel »Endurkoma Maríu« (1996. e. »The Return of the Divine Mary«, 2014) tells of the grandson of an esteemed theologian who meets a mysterious young woman afflicted by visions, and around whom strange things happen. Her striking resemblance to the Blessed Virgin prompts the professor to declare that the Virgin Mary has returned, for which he is subsequently expelled from the university. Bjarnason has said that he initially had no intention of writing about the Holy Mother, but once he became aware of the similarities, the story took on a biblical dimension. All in all, this impressive work is part romance, part thriller and part theological speculation. It follows the Icelandic narrative tradition, which, according to Bjarnason, best reveals itself if it refrains from referring to Iceland as this mystical and exotic place; which is a myth in itself. 

For his novel »Borgin bak við orðin« (tr. The City Behind the Words) published in 1998, Bjarni Bjarnason received the Tómas Guðmundssonar Award. 

»Mannætukonan og maður hennar« (tr. The Cannibal Woman and her Husband) received the Halldór Laxness Literature Award in 2001. 

His works have been translated to Arabic, Faroese, German and English.

He has a baccalaureate degree in literature and has published several essays on literature, theology and various subjects. He is on the board of the Icelandic Writers Union and lives with his wife, Katrín Júlíusdóttir, a former minister and member of The Icelandic Parliament, and their four son´s in Garðabær, Iceland.