The Author

Rúnar Helgi Vignisson is the author of novels, short stories, essays and creative nonfiction. He was born in a small fishing town in northwestern Iceland in 1959. He earned a BA in English from the University of Iceland in 1981 and an MA from the University of Iowa in 1987. He also studied at the Université de Grenoble and at Goethe Institut.

Vignisson has earned various accolades for his writing, such as the DV Cultural Prize for Literature, a nomination for the Icelandic Literature Award and various grants from the Icelandic Ministry of Culture. He was nominated honorary artist of the town of Garðabær in 2006.

Vignisson is also a prolific translator of world literature and an editor of several anthologies of short stories. He has translated books by authors such as Amy Tan, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Elizabeth Jolley, Dave Eggers, Jhumpa Lahiri, William Faulkner and J. M. Coetzee. He won the Icelandic Translation Prize for J.M. Coetzee's Boyhood in 2006 as well as the Reykjavík City Children's Literature Award for Sunwing by Kenneth Oppel. He was nominated for the DV Cultural Award for his translation of Atonement by Ian McEwan in 2003 and for the Icelandic Translation Prize for As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner in 2013. His and Sigurlína Davíðsdóttir's translation of Waiting for the Barbarians won the Bookseller's Award in 2020.

Vignisson has served on the board of the Icelandic Writers' Union, he was co-founder and chairman of the Icelandic Translators' Association, he has sat on the board of the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature as well as the Association of Teachers of Icelandic, is co-founder and board member of the recently established Short Story Research Center at the University of Iceland, and chairman of the Institute for Research in Literature and Visual Arts at the University of Iceland. He is Professor at the University of Iceland and has been the director of the Creative Writing Program since 2008.

See also the website of Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature:

Icelandic Literature: Rúnar Helgi Vignisson.