The author Jón Björnsson fram Holt

Holt farm was a cultured home that had a fine collection of books. In 1907 a boy was born there by the name of Jón Björnsson. In later life Björnsson went on to become a well-known writer in Scandinavia. His first stories had already been published before he left for Denmark in 1930 to study Danish and literature.

The young man´s goal was to become a successful author writing in Danish. He was convinced there was no future for a writer with ambition in Iceland during the Depression years. Things went well for Björnsson in Denmark. He wrote for newspapers and magazines and his first novel Jordens magt, published in 1942, was very well received. Six years later the book was translated into Icelandic.
Björnsson returned to Iceland at the end of the Second World War and devoted his time to writing in Icelandic and translating his work into Danish. His novels would also be translated into a number of other languages.

In all, Björnsson wrote nine novels. Most of his work deals with real events from Icelandic history and in particular how the common folk suffered at the hands of both Icelandic and Danish officials.

As well as being an author, Jón Björnsson was the librarian at the National Library and literary critic for the country´s main daily newspaper. Björnsson died in 1994.

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Stories written by Lilja Magnúsdóttir           Translation and narration by Neil McMahon   (Photo LM)

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