TALK: Icelandic Literature in a Global Context

Sjón (novelist, poet)
Monday, May 6 / 3:30 PM
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB

Well-known Icelandic author Sjón (his pen name means ‘sight’ or ‘vision’ in Icelandic) is one of the most interesting contemporary Icelandic novelists and poets. His visit to UCSB will mark the beginning of a future collaboration between Sjón and UCSB and aims at raising awareness about Scandinavian literature and Icelandic literature in particular. The event comprises a talk by the author about his work and Icelandic literature at large, a reading from his work, a dialogue with the audience and a book-signing event courtesy of Chaucer’s Bookstore.    Sjón (pseudonym for Sigurjón Sigurðsson) is a remarkably creative, at times startingly surrealistic novelist and poet. His work has been translated into many different languages, and he is well-known in Europe.     His prose is very lyrical and in his novels, three of which are available in the US (The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse  and From the Mouth of the Whale), he plays with history and myth.  The last novel The Whispering Muse makes ample use of the Golden Fleece myth; a beloved leitmotiv of his is exploring what it means to be an outcast (hence the collaboration with Lars von Trier for Björk’s song in “Dancing in the Dark”, for which he was nominated for an Oscar). His novels are clever, witty and profoundly human (for better or for worse). Because of these characteristics Helen Morales from the Classics Dept. has agreed to be a discussant in a dialogue between the author and the audience.  Sjón’s visit at UCSB marks the occasion of the renewal of a 10-year agreement between UCSB and the University of Iceland and its extension to the Humanities.

Sponsored by the Barandiaran Chair of Basque Studies, the Argyropoulos Endowment in Hellenic Studies, the Center for Complex and Nonlinear Science, the Comparative Literature Program, the Dept. English, the Dept. of Germanic, Slavic and Semitic Studies, the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, the Translation Studies Emphasis, and the IHC.

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