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Sigurður Pálsson


Sigurður Pálsson was born on July 30, 1948 at the farm Skinnastaðir in North Iceland. He completed primary education in 1963 and graduated from highschool in 1967. He studied french in Toulouse and París from 1967 to 1968 and drama and literature in Sorbonne, first from 1968 to 1973, completing a D.U.E.L.-degree and the firsth part of a Maîtrise-degree in drama studies. He returned to his studies in Sorbonne in 1978 and finished the Maîtrise-degree and a D.E.A. (first part of a doctorial degree) in 1982. At the same time he completed his studies as a film director at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français.

Sigurður took various jobs over the years. He lectured at the Drama School of Iceland the first three years after its foundation in 1975. He also worked as a foreign correspondent and guide, lecturer at the University of Iceland, and worked on television and film. He devoted the later part of his life to writing and translation. Sigurður was the President of Alliance Française from 1976 to 1978 and the President of the Writers Union of Iceland from 1984 to 1988.

Sigurður was one of the so-called Bad Poets (Listaskáldin vondu), a group of poets that emerged in 1976. Sigurður published many books of poetry, the first of which appeared in 1975, Ljóð vega salt (Poems in Balance). The poetry collection Ljóð námu völd (Poems Mine Power) was nominated for the Nordic Literature Prize in 1993; Sigurður was awarded the Icelandic Literature Prize for the book of recollections Minnisbók (Book of Memory, 2007), having previously been nominated for the books of poetry Ljóðlínuskip (Ship of Poems, 1995) and Ljóðtímaleit (Search For Poetry Time, 2001). Minnisbók was his first book of recollections, followed by Bernskubók (Book of Childhood, 2011) and Táningabók (Book of Teenage, 2014). He has written three novels: Parísarhjól (Pariswheel, 1998), Blái þríhyrningurinn (The Blue Triangle, 2000) and Næturstaður (An Overnight Place, 2002). He also wrote a number of works for the theatre, as well as manuscripts for television and radio and texts for the opera. His books of poetry have been translated into a number of languages, among them Bulgarian and Chinese. In 1994 a bilingual edition of his poetry was published by Editions de la Différence in Paris and in 2014 a collection of his poems in English translation was published under the title Inside Voices, Outside Light.

Sigurður was the City Artist of Reykjavík from 1987 to 1990; he was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French cultural minister in 1990; and honored with the Chevalier l’Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France in 2008.

Sigurður died on September 19th 2017.

Publisher: JPV-útgáfa

Author photo: Jóhann Páll Valdimarsson.