/ 29 March 2024

Versopolis Podcast #14: Icelandic literature today and tomorrow

Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl & Dr Lara Wilhelmine Hoffmann


Icelandic literature may be insular but is not a monolith. Even though the nationalistic movement in Iceland eliminated dialectical variation, the language is evolving in interesting ways due to an increased influx of immigrants. Dr Lara Hoffmann, a sociologist and a postdoctoral researcher, focuses on the linguistic and creative aspects of human migrations. The number of immigrants in Iceland increased nearly 5-fold in 19 years and for many, literature is one the seminal ways to retain their sense of identity and build community. Through participation in the multilingual collective and publisher Ós Pressan, writers from different cultures meet to share their prose and poetry. Also joining the podcast is Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl, an Icelandic poet and writer, whose participation in the Nýhil collective helped spark the Icelandic ‘pans and pots revolution’. Although activism and poetry have fundamentally different goals, Eirikur’s poetry demonstrates that dadaistic experiments may be more effective than mere political slogans.

Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl is an Icelandic experimental poet and novelist. His books have been published in over a dozen languages. For his novel Illska (Evil, 2012) he was awarded The Icelandic Literary Prize and The Book Merchant’s Prize, as well as being nominated for the Nordic Council’s Literary Award. He lives in Ísafjörður, Iceland, a rock in the middle of the ocean, and spends much of his time in Västerås, Sweden, a town by a lake.

Dr Lara Wilhelmine Hoffmann is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Iceland with a PhD in Sociology from the University of Akureyri in Iceland and an MA in Art Studies from the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests revolve around human migrations, particularly linguistic and creative aspects. She has been an active member of the literary collective and small publisher Ós Pressan since 2016.