Miss Iceland



The extraordinary new novel from Nordic Council Literature Prize-winning Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman.

After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces's Ulysess and a Remington typewriter, Hekla heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. She moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theatre, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla's opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or her job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. The two friends feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world.

And yet that world is changing: JFK is shot and hemlines are rising. In Iceland another volcano erupts and Hekla meets a poet who brings to light harsh realities about her art. Hekla realizes she must escape to find freedom abroad, whatever the cost.

Miss Iceland is a novel of extraordinary poise and masterful acuity from one of our most celebrated Icelandic writers.

Product Details

$16.00  $14.72
Grove Press, Black Cat
Publish Date
June 16, 2020
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

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 have been translated into over 25 languages and among them are The Greenhouse and Butterflies in November. Her last novel, Hotel Silence, won the Nordic Council Literature Prize and the Icelandic Literary Prize. Her forthcoming novel Miss Iceland won the Icelandic Bookseller's Prize. Auður Ava lives in Reykjavik.


Winner of the Prix Médicis étranger

Winner of the Icelandic Bookseller's Prize

Praise for Miss Iceland

"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 End We Start From

International Praise for Miss Iceland

"Delicate, melancholic and powerful...a luminous portrait of a young woman in search of freedom."--Lire

"If you have never read Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, get Miss Iceland immediately"--Vanity Fair (France)

"Her best work. A work that will live on."--Fréttablaðið

"Each new novel by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir is like a meeting with a marvelous friend that immediately makes you feel like you have never parted."--Madame Figaro

"With Miss Iceland, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir relishes us with all the best things literature can offer.''--Morgunblaðið

"A wonderful novel about freedom, creation and accomplishment."-- Marie Claire (France)

"Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir relishes us with all the best things literature can offer." -Júlía Margrét Alexandersdóttir, Morgunblaðið
"Ólafsdóttir's specialty is the small journeys we take to save ourselves and the ones we care for. She is the heart's finest map-maker."--Sjón

Praise for Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir:

"Olafsdottir's writing is at once profoundly Icelandic -- focusing the reader on all the particularity of life on that isolated island -- and universal...her authorial voice is immediate and intimate, yet it feels remote from the Anglophone world."--Financial Times
"Ólafsdóttir upends expectations."--New York Times