Steinunn Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavík. She studied psychology and philosophy in Dublin. With her poetry debut »Sífellur« (1969; tr. Continuances) she made a name for herself already at the age of 19. Sigurðardóttir was a reporter and news correspondent for the Icelandic Radio until the 1980s. She wrote TV plays and radio plays. Her extensive work for TV includes interviews with Halldór Laxness, Dame Iris Murdoch and Björk. Her literary oeuvre includes eight novels, which have been translated into many languages, as well as poems, short stories, a biography of the former President of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and a children’s book. She translates poetry and prose.
Like other famous writers of her generation Steinunn Sigurðardóttir has transcended the Icelandic tradition of modernity, which determined her early works of poetry, in order to adopt an increasingly self-conscious ambivalence, and an independent and more playful approach. Her more recent texts combine existential issues and humour, a laconic style and the pleasure in narration. Her plots go for the trivial as well as for the serious. Steinunn Sigurðardóttir’s debut novel is about the life of a woman who is touched by a love as powerful as the elements. »TímaÞjófurinn« (1986; tr. The Thief of Time) oscillates between poetry and prose, and tells the story of an excessively self-assured, unmarried teacher, who cannot cope with the end of a passionate affair and the experience of being rejected. A movie based on the novel was produced with Emmanuelle Béart and Sandrine Bonnaire in France in 1998. Overpowering love is also the theme of »Ástin fiskanna« (1993; tr. The Love of Fishes), which reveals, in critical and funny portraits and with some irony that undermines even its mythological world, the numerous facets of modern life in Iceland. Her novel »Hjartastaður« (1995; tr. Place of the Heart) about a single mother, who wants to save her drug-addicted daughter by relocating her from the dangerous city of Reykjavík to the idyllic landscape of her youth, is in a similar vein. »Jöklaleikhúsið« (2001; tr. Glacier Theatre) tells the story of an amateur theatre troupe whose production of Chekhov’s »The Cherry Orchard« plunges a whole village into turmoil. In »Sólskinshestur« (2005; tr. Sunshine Horse) a woman unrolls her life when she meets the love of her youth again − 25 years later. Her memories become a kind of requiem for a childhood without love. In the autumn of 2011, the German translation of Sigurðardóttir’s »Der gute Liebhaber« (tr. The Good Lover) will hit the market. This is a story about a man who returns home after many years abroad and tries to reconquer the love of his youth, with unexpected help from his illustrious psychiatrist friend Doreen Ash. Also due in 2011 is a German translation of her latest poetry book, »Ástarljóđ af Landi«, »Sternenstaub auf den Fingerkuppen« (tr. Stardust on your Fingertips), which explores love of man, love of the land, past and present. After seven years in Paris and the south of France Steinunn Sigurðardóttir now divides her time between Berlin and Reykjavík.
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