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Jón Kalman Stefánsson


Jón Kalman Stefánsson was born in Reykjavík on December 17th 1963. He lived there for the first 12 years of his life, then moved to Keflavík and returned to Reykjavík in 1986 with his higschool diploma. From 1975 – 1982 he spent a good deal of his time in West Iceland, where he did various jobs, worked in a slaughterhouse, in the fishing industry, doing masonry and for one summer he worked as a police officer at Keflavík International Airport. Jón Kalman studied literature at the University of Iceland from 1986 until 1991 but did not finish his degree. He taught literature at two highschools for a period of time and wrote articles and critique for Morgunblaðið newspaper for a number of years. Jón lived in Copenhagen from 1992 – 1995, reading, washing floors and counting buses. He worked as a librarian at the Mosfellsbær Library near Reykjavík until the year 2000. Since then he has been a full time writer.

Jón Kalman’s first published work, the poetry collection Með byssuleyfi á eilífðina, came out in 1988. Since then, he has published other collections of poetry, short stories and a number of novels. His novel Sumarljós, og svo kemur nóttin (Summer Light, and then Comes the Night) won the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2005. Three of his books have also been nominated for The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize. Some of Jón Kalman’s work has been translated to other languages, German, French, English and the Scandinavian languages among them.

Author photo: Ragnar Axelsson.