Reading lists

Where to start reading Halldór Laxness

2022 marks 120 years since the birth of Halldór Laxness, the undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. To mark the anniversary, here is where to start reading his remarkable body of work.

Carmella Lowkis
Shelf of Halldor Laxness books next to a vase, with red Vintage Classics spines showing and Salka Valka standing upright to display cover.

Born near Reykjavik in Iceland on 23 April 1902, Halldór Laxness began writing at a young age: his first novel was published when he was just seventeen. A prolific author, he went on to write over 60 more books before his death in 1998.

Laxness was one of the outstanding novelists of the 20th Century, described as ‘a visionary’ by the Daily Telegraph and ‘a genius’ by the New York Review of Books. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955 ‘for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland’.

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