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Sigurdur Pálsson Iceland

Sigudur Palsson
Sigudur Palsson

Sigurdur Pálsson poet, novelist, playwright and translator, was born in 1948 at Skinnastadur, Iceland. He has worked as a professor at the University of Iceland and the National Academy of Dramatic Art, and as a cinema producer.

Since 1975, Pálsson has published fifteen books of poetry, and has been nominated for many prizes – in 1993 for the Nordic Council Prize for Literature, in 1995 and 2001 for the Icelandic Literary Prize, and again for the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2008, this time winning with Minnisbók [Memoranda]. His poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages, with selections of his work being published in French in 1993, Bulgarian in 2005, Italian in 2006, in Spanish in 2008, in Bengali and Hindi in 2009 and in Arabic and again in Italian in 2013. In November 2013, a new and more comprehensive selection of his poems was published in French.

As well as poetry, Pálsson has written three novels a first book of memoirs, and eleven plays for the theatre, all of which have been staged, his most recent play, Utan gátta [Off Target], winning him the ITP Playwright of the year in 2008. He has also written an opera libretto, The Moonlight Island, which received its world premiere in Beijing in 1997, and a second book of memoirs, Bernskubók [Book of Childhood] which was published to huge critical acclaim in 2011.

Pálsson is a highly-regarded translator, having translated twenty-seven titles (poetry, plays and novels) from French into Icelandic, including works by Camus, Genet, Adamov, Arrabal, Ghelderode, Feydeau, Bailly, Carrère, Queffélec, Prévert, Éluard, Augé, Deforges, Châtelet, Vinaver, Anne, Kvaran, Schmitt and Cordelier, and two plays by Arthur Miller.

Recipient of numerous literary awards in his native Iceland, Pálsson was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, in 1990, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 2007 by the President of France.