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Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir: Miss Iceland

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Translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon

Published 2019
Paperback 256 pages

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‘A potent, atmospheric story of creative frustration and fulfilment. I loved the wry, tender voice of Ólafsdóttir’s narrator.  I’m now going to read all of her other novels” Megan Hunter, author of The Harpy

Born in a remote part of Iceland, and named after a volcano, Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. She heads for Reyjkavik, with a Remington typewriter and a manuscript hidden in her suitcase, hoping to make it in the nation of poets. But this is the 1960s, and Hekla soon discovers that there’s more demand for a beauty queen than a woman writer in this conservative, male-dominated world. Along with her friend Jón John, a gay man who dreams of working in the theatre, she soon learns that she must conceal her true self to have any hope of success.

‘Such great writing here, poetic and raw in places. Only a great book can make you feel you’re really there, a thousand miles and a generation away. I loved it’ Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon

 Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir is an Icelandic prize-winning novelist, playwright and a poet. She is the author of six novels, a collection of poetry and four plays that have been performed at the National Theatre in Iceland and at the Reykjavik City Theatre. She also writes the lyrics for the Icelandic performance pop band Milkywhale. Auður Ava’s novels, including The Greenhouse and Butterflies in November, have been translated into 25 languages. She lives in Reykjavik. 

Brian FitzGibbon is a freelance writer and translates from Italian, French and Icelandic. His previous translations include Butterflies in November also by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir which was long-listed for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2014) and the Icelandic cult novel 101 Reykjavik by Hallgrimur Helgason (2002), which was praised by the New York Times for its ‘lucidity’, while the Guardian reviewer said this ‘lusciously deadpan narrative – dazzlingly translated by Brian Fitzgibbon – is more than funny.’

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