Authors in Conversation: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir & Elizabeth Hand
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30 pm
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Icelandic crime author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir joins American writer Elizabeth Hand in a conversation about their work, the current Scandinavian crime fiction renaissance, what drew them to the genre, and ideas for future Iceland-related crime stories.
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir debuted as a crime writer in 2005 with Last Rituals/Þriðja táknið, which so far has been translated into more than 30 languages. Her second crime novel about attorney Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, My Soul to Take/Sér grefur gröf, was published in 2006. It is already sold in 14 countries, including in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, Greece, Poland, Spain, and Scandinavia. Sigurðardóttir’s third crime novel, Ashes to Dust/Aska was published in 2007 and was a huge success. In 2008, her fourth crime novel, The Day is Dark/Auðin, sold more than 10,000 copies in hardcover in Iceland in only six weeks. Look at Me/Horfðu á mig (2009) was also a success, but in 2010 she broke her previous records when her novel Blessed are the Children/Ég man þig sold 16,000 copies in six weeks.
Sigurðardóttir previously wrote 5 novels for children and pre-teens, two of which have won Icelandic prizes for literature: the IBBY Award (2000) and the Icelandic Children’s Book Award (2003). All of them are exciting and entertaining tales, bursting with humor and the joy of storytelling.
She is married with two kids and leads two different lives; as a crime writer and a civil engineer.
Elizabeth Hand grew up in Yonkers and Pound Ridge, New York, before moving to Washington, D.C., where she was involved in D.C.’s burgeoning punk scene. She studied playwriting at Catholic University, got booted out after three years, but was re-admitted and eventually received a degree in cultural anthropology. She worked on the National Air & Space Museum’s pioneering videodisc project, archiving over 100,000 historic photographs, before quitting to write full-time. In 1988 she moved to the coast of Maine, where she lived in a 400-square foot lakefront cottage with no indoor plumbing or running water. It now has both, and remains her writing studio.