Thursday, July 28, 2005


Guðrún Helgadóttir is one of the most prominent writers of children's books in Iceland.

She received The Nordic Children's Book Award in 1992 and among her other awards are the Thorbjörn Egner Fund Prize and IBBY Iceland Award; she was also nominated twice for the H.C. Andersen Award. She has written nineteen children´s books, many of whom have been translated into foreign languages, three plays and a novel, "Oddaflug", published year 2000.

Guðrún represented the People's Alliance on Reykjavík City Council 1978-1982 and was a member of Alþingi, the Icelandic legislative assembly 1979-1995. She was Speaker of the Althing 1988-1991, the first woman to hold that position.

Here is a complete list (sorry, not available in English as yet!) of Guðrún´s works, translations of her books, awards and recognitions.

Two of Guðrún´s most popular books:

A Giant Love Story

(Ástarsaga úr fjöllunum, 1981)

One of Iceland's most popular children's books. It was first published in 1981 and has since been translated into several other languages. It is a story about Icelandic trolls, filled with love, compassion and humour which appeals to children all over the world. Beautifully illustrated by Brian Pilkington.

Sold to: Norway (Cappelen), Denmark (Sesam), USA (Charolrhoda), Japan (Kaisei-Sha), Sweden (Opal), Faroe Islands (Nàlendi)

The Angels' Christmas Tree

(Englajól, 1997)

While awaiting Christmas the angel-children decorate the most wonderful Christmas tree in the world - in their imagination. A wonderful fairytale with illustrations by Brian Pilkington, which has already aroused great interest in several countries. Available in English translation.

* * *

Thorbjörn Egner (1912-1990) is the author of the children´s book "Karius and Baktus" (teaching children the importance of brushing their teeth!) and the children´s musicals "Hakkebakke Forest" and "When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town" (The Singing Town) that have been very popular for many years in Iceland and have been staged (and restaged regularly) several times both in The National Theatre of Iceland and in theatres all over the country.

5 comments:

Risa said...

Ah... I love Torbjørn Egner! "Karius and Baktus" is just brilliant... I grew up with them and other stories by Egner :o)

Greta said...

Hej Risa,

I love him too. That´s why I was rather disappointed how little I could find about him on the internet (at least with Google, haven´t tried other searchmachines yet). That´s why I put what little I could find about him there in this post.

I was quite sure that some Norwegians must have made a nice page about him to honour his memory, with some information about him, his life and work, his wonderful,clever and funny songs and pictures!

I think this has to be amended.
Maybe it could be a project for you to work on? ;)

A Hairy Snail said...

Hi Greta! Long time. Tell me, any idea whether I can get some of these books in English? Online perhaps? Am into theatre and the idea of adapting non-english children's writers' stuff into english plays is interesting...

Greta said...

Hi Mel!

Seems you can buy "Karius and Baktus" from a Norwegian firm in USA. The link is in the part in my post about Thorbjörn Egner. Maybe Norwegian library-student Risa can tell you some more.
Two of Guðrún Helgadóttir´s books have been translated to English: "Flumbra: an Icelandic Folktale" and "A Giant Love Story". I know for sure that the love story is available in shops in Iceland, don´t know about the other one, it´s less famous.

Risa said...

Thorbjørn Egner's books can be baught from the Norwegian bookshop Norli. They ship worldwide... I recommend "When the robbers came to Cardamom town" and "Karius and Baktus".