Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

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Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and Erik Fosnes Hansen (March 2011)

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (born 1958) is an Icelandic professor of art history, a novelist, playwright and poet.

Early life[edit]

Born in Reykjavík, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir studied the history of art at Sorbonne, Paris.[1]


Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir works as an assistant professor of art history at the University of Iceland.[2] For a time, she was the director of the university's Art Museum.[3]

Her first novel Upphækkuð jörð (Raised Earth) was published in 1998. It set the stage for her future works in its fine dissection of the smaller things in life.[4]

Her book Rigning í nóvember (Butterflies in November) was lauded as a "moving, layered and optimistic piece of writing".[5] The book won the Tómas Guðmundsson Literary Award.[4]

In 2009, she published Afleggjarinn (The Greenhouse) to mixed reviews. It was described as meticulous and finely crafted, yet lacking a tension both in its language and friction in its emotion.[6] It was also described as a sweetly comic and wry observation of sex, manhood, death and parenthood.[7]



  • Upphækkuð jörð (Raised Earth), 1998
  • Rigning í nóvember, 2004, in English as Butterflies in November, in German as Ein Schmetterling in November [8]
  • Afleggjarinn, 2007, in English as The Greenhouse, also translated into French, Spanish, Dutch and Italian[9][10]
  • Undantekningin (The Exception), 2012
  • Ör (Scar), 2016


  • Sálmurinn um glimmer (The Psalm of Glimmer), 2010


  • Swans mate for life (National Theatre of Iceland, 2014)[11]


  • Tómas Guðmundsson Literary Award of the City of Reykavik, 2004.
  • Menningarverðlaun Award, 2008
  • Prix Page des Libraires, 2010

Personal life[edit]

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir has revealed that her sojourn in Catholic countries and her deep interest in their art and music led her to convert to Roman Catholicism.[12]


  1. ^ Peras, Delphine (May 5, 2014). "Audur Ava Olafsdottir, Islandaise d'exception". L'Express. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir". Pushkin Press. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ Dagsdóttir, Úlfhildur (2011). "Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir". Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Interviews with Icelandic Authors: Auður A. Ólafsdóttir". Icelandic Literature Center. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ Berwick, Isabel (December 27, 2013). "Butterflies in November, by Audur Ava Olafsdóttir". The Financial Times. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ Schottenius, Maria (March 23, 2015). "Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir: "Rosa Candida"". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ Kyzer, Larissa (December 5, 2011). "Three Percent Review: The Greenhouse". Three Percent. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ DNB entry for Schmetterling in November
  9. ^ Worldcat entry for The Greenhouse
  10. ^ Worldcat entry for Rosa Candida
  11. ^ Walton-Lange, Lucy (November 7, 2013). "Exclusive interview with Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir". Female First. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ Guerrera, Antonello (July 16, 2013). "Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir - "Il vero segreto? Sconfiggere la crisi con lo humour"". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved June 28, 2015. 

External links[edit]