Guðbergur Bergsson was born on October 16, 1932, in Grindavík, Iceland. He pursued his education at the University of Iceland, where he earned a Teaching degree. Later, he went on to study literature at the University of Barcelona.
Career and Influence
In Barcelona, Bergsson crossed paths with Jaime Salinas Bonmatí, a publisher and writer, which proved to be an influential meeting for his career. He became one of Iceland’s leading translators of Spanish literary works.
His literary debut came in 1961, and over the years he published a total of twenty books, spanning genres from poetry to children’s literature.
Awards and Recognition
Bergsson was no stranger to accolades. He won the Icelandic Literary Prize twice and was also the recipient of the Swedish Academy Nordic Prize in 2004, sometimes referred to as the ‘little Nobel.’
Here is a list of his notable works:
- Músin sem læðist, 1961
- Tómas Jónsson, metsölubók, 1966 (Translated by Lytton Smith as Tómas Jónsson, Bestseller, Open Letter, 2017)
- Ástir samlyndra hjóna, 1967
- Anna, 1968
- Það sefur í djúpinu, 1973
- Hermann og Dídí, 1974
- Það rís úr djúpinu, 1976
- Saga af manni sem fékk flugu í höfuðið, 1979
- Sagan af Ara Fróðasyni og Hugborgu konu hans, 1980
- Hjartað býr enn í helli sínum, 1982
- Leitin að landinu fagra, 1985
- Froskmaðurinn, 1985
- Svanurinn, 1991 (Translated by Bernard Scudder as The Swan, Mare’s Nest, 1997)
- Sú kvalda ást sem hugarfylgsnin geyma, 1993
- Ævinlega, 1994
- Lömuðu kennslukonurnar, 2004
- Leitin að barninu í gjánni – Barnasaga ekki ætluð börnum, 2008
- Missir, 2010
- Hin eilífa þrá, 2012
- Þrír sneru aftur, 2014
In 2017, Icelandic film director Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir adapted one of Bergsson’s novels, Svanurinn, into her first movie titled The Swan.
Bergsson passed away on September 4, 2023, at the age of 90.
Guðbergur Bergsson leaves behind a rich tapestry of works that have not only shaped Icelandic literature but also made a considerable impact on the translation of Spanish literature into Icelandic. His contributions to literature will continue to be studied and cherished for years to come.