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Pétur Gunnarsson


Pétur Gunnarsson was born in Reykjavík on June 15, 1947. He received his Masters degree (maitrise) in phylosophy from Université d'Aix-Marsaille in France in 1975.

In his career as a writer, Pétur has taken part in numerous cooperative projects. In 1977 he wrote the play Grænjaxlar for The National Theatre of Iceland along with the actors and the music group Spilverk þjóðanna. He wrote the lyrics for the LP Lög unga fólksins, also in 1977 and the play Krókmakarabærinn in the same year in cooperation with the Icelandic Drama School. Pétur has also done work for radio and television, for instance he wrote the script for a documentary on Halldór Laxness in 1988.

Pétur sat on the board of Alliance francaise in Iceland from 1977 – 1981, and was president of the society in 1980 – 1981. He sat on the editorial board of the literary magazine Tímarit Máls og menningar for years and became president of the Writer's Union of Iceland in 2006. Pétur has written a number of articles on literature and culture for magazines and newspapers, and has also published newspaper articles on social matters, as well as speaking on various subjects at different occasions.

His first work, the poetry book Splunkunýr dagur (A Brand New Day) was published in 1973, but before then poems by Pétur had been published in Tímarit Máls og menningar. The novel Punktur punktur komma strik appeared in 1976 to acclaim, the first of four books about the boy Andri. A film based on the book by Þorsteinn Jónsson also became highly popular in Iceland. The last book about Andri, Sagan öll (The Whole Story), was nominated for the Nordic Concil's Literature Prize in 1987. Pétur has sent forward a number of other novels, three of which have been nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize, as well as his non fiction book about the writer Þórbergur Þórðarson. He has also translated work by foreign authors, among them Flaubert's Madame Bovary and a part of Proust’s A la recherce du temps perdu. Pétur received the DV Cultural Prize in 1996 for the translation of Madame Bovary. In 2023 Pétur received the Icelandic Translators' Prize for his translation of Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Les Confessions).

Author photo: Jóhann Páll Valdimarsson.