Literary awards

On Reykjavík City Library’s website, you can find a list of Icelandic literary prizes and which authors have received them. The information is in Icelandic, but here is a brief description of each prize and by clicking on the links, you will see the winners for each prize, listed by years, as well as those nominated (Tilnefningar).

Reykjavík Children’s Literature Prize

Reykjavík City’s Educational Council hosts this prize. A committee picks out one original children’s book and one translated one each year, and the Mayor of Reykjavík hands out the prize in April.

The Blood Drop

A crime fiction prize, hosted by Crime Writers of Iceland. The novel that receives the prize becomes the Icelandic novel nominated for the Glass Key, an award given annually to a crime novel from one of the Nordic countries – Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The Children’s Choice Book Prize

Icelandic children, from age 6 – 12 pick out their favourite books each year. The prize is hosted by Reykjavík City Library with the participation of other public libraries in Iceland, as well as school libraries throughout the country. Thousands of children in Iceland take part by sending in their votes, and two books then receive the prize, one originally written in Icelandic and one translated from another language.

The Halldór Laxness Literature Prize

The publishing company Vaka-Helgafell (now an imprint of Forlagið) founded the prize in 1995, in cooperation with Laxness’ family. The main purpose of the prize is to support Icelandic prose fiction. The prize is handed out in the fall and Vaka-Helgafell publishes the novel at the same time, as the award is linked to a competition where writers send in unpublished manuscripts for novels and short story collections. The prize however hasn’t been given out since 2004.

The Booksellers Prize

Since the year 2000, Icelandic booksellers have hosted a prize where bookstore staff select what they consider to be the best books of the year in several categories. The categories are original Icelandic novels (besta íslenska skáldsagan), translated novels (besta þýdda skáldsagan), original Icelandic children’s book (besta íslenska barnabókin), translated children’s book (besta þýdda barnabókin), poetry (besta ljóðabókin), biography (besta ævisagan) and non-fiction (besta handbókin / fræðibókin).

The Tómas Guðmundsson Poetry Prize

The City of Reykjavík hosts a poetry prize, named after Reykjavík poet Tómas Guðmundsson. A panel of three judges chooses between unpublished manuscripts, which are subsequently published by some of the local publishers.

Fjöruverðlaunin – The Women’s Literature Prize

This prize, which has been given out annually since 2007, is for published books by women, both fiction and non-fiction.

The Icelandic Children’s Literature Prize

This is a prize hosted by publisher Vaka-Helgafell. It is the result of a competition, where writers hand in unpublished manuscripts and the winner, chosen by a panel of judges, is consequently published.

The Icelandic Literature Prize

The Association of Icelandic Publishers hosts this prize, handed out by the President of Iceland in the beginning of each year. There are two categories, fiction and non-fiction. Two panels of judges shortlist five books in each category, and the winning ones are then chosen by the third committee.

The Icelandic Translation Prize

The President of Iceland hands out this prize on the International Day of the Book in April each year. The prize is hosted by the Association of Translators and Interpreters, with the support of The Writer’s Union of Iceland and the Association of Icelandic Publishers.

The Guðmundur Böðvarsson Poetry Prize

The Guðmundur Böðvarsson Memorial Fund has been hosting this prize since 1994. Guðmundur was a poet and farmer in west Iceland. The prize is given out every third year.

DV Cultural Prize for Literature

The daily newspaper DV hands out culture prizes in seven fields every year, literature being one of them. Panels of three judges select five candidates in each field and the winners are announced in late February.

RUV Writer’s Fund

The Icelandic Broadcasting Service, RUV, hands out a writer’s award on New Years Day each year. The fund’s board is put together of five people, the chairman is nominated by the Ministry of Culture, two by the Writer’s Union of Iceland and two by RUV.

Þórbergur Þórðarson’s Stylistic Prize

This award was given for excellence in style and originality in the use of the Icelandic language. The author could be a fiction or non-fiction writer. The prize has now been discontinued.

Sögusteinn – IBBY Iceland’s Children’s Literature Prize

IBBY Iceland (International Board on Books for Young People) has hosted this prize since 2007. It is given to writers and / or illustrators of children’s books who have enriched Icelandic children’s literature with their oeuvre.

Hagþenkir Non-Fiction Prize

Hagþenkir, the Association of Non-Fiction and Educational Writers in Iceland, has hosted this prize since 1987. It is awarded for non-fiction and educational material of all sorts, as well as for research.

Icelandic Writers Nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize