Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir


Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (b. 1958) is an Icelandic author of prose, plays, and poetry. She also writes art criticism for newspapers and magazines and teaches art history at the University of Iceland, where for some time she was the director of the art museum. She lives and works in Reykjavik.

Auður Ava debuted in 1998 with Upphækkuð jörð (Raised Earth; Mál og menning). Since then she has published three other novels, the most recent of which is Undantekningin (The Exception; Bjartur, 2012). Her work is characterized by an original perspective on minor everyday events and by the way she portrays her unconventional characters. Icelandic culture and the unique Icelandic landscape figure centrally in her storylines.  

Her work has been translated into languages including English, French (Zulma), and Dutch (De Bezige Bij) and received great international acclaim. She has been nominated for awards such as the Prix Fémina (2010) and the Prix du roman Fnac (2010) and won various prizes, such as the Tómas Guðmundsson Literature Prize (2004) and the Icelandic Women's Literature Prize (2008). Her novels The Greenhouse (AmazonCrossing, 2011) and Butterflies in November (Grove Press, 2015) have been published in English translation.  

In 2010, Auður Ava published her first volume of poetry, Sálmurinn um glimmer (Hymn on Glimmer; Salka), which explores themes such as language, passion, death, rebirth, and the power of beauty. In February 2014, her play Swans Mate for Life was performed in the National Theatre of Iceland.

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir will stay in the Passa Porta writers' flat at the Porte de Hal in April 2016.   


Photo © Anton Brink  

Porte de Hal
28.03.16 > 24.04.16

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