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Álfrún Gunnlaugsdóttir


Álfrún Gunnlaugsdóttir was born in Reykjavík on the 18th of March, 1938. After highschool she went to Catalonia to study literature and philosophy. She finished Lic. En fil. Y en letras-exam from the University of Barcelona in 1965 and a Dr. Phil-exam from the University Autónoma de Barcelona in 1970. She worked on her Doktoral thesis at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland from 1966-70.

Álfrún was an Assistant Professor in Literature at the University of Iceland from 1971-77. She was Associate Professor in the same field from 1977-87 and was a Professor from 1988 until she retired in 2006. In autumn 2002 she sat as Head of Department at the Liturature- and Linguistics Department at the Philosophy division.

Álfrún published eight books of fiction, all to acclaim. She received the DV Literature Prize in 1985 for her second book, the novel Þel. Three of her novels have been nominated to the Nordic Council's Literature Prize, first Hringsól in 1991, then Hvatt að rúnum in 1995 and Yfir Ebrofljótið 2003. Yfir Ebrofljótið (Crossing the River Ebro) was also nominated to the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2001, and so was her novel Rán in 2008. Álfrún translated books from Spanish and wrote articles for academic journals.

In 2010 Álfrún was made honorary professor of the Icelandic and Cultural Division of the University of Iceland. In 2018 she was awarded The Knight's Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon, for her contribution to Icelandic literature and university level education in the field of literature.

Álfrún died September 15th 2021.


Author photo: Einar Falur Ingólfsson.