Sigurður A. Magnússon was born on March 31, 1928 at Móar in Kjalarnes near Reykjavík. He graduated from highschool in 1948 and then went on to study theology, Greek and religious history at the University of Iceland untill 1950. In 1950 Sigurður went to Copenhagen to study theology and literature at the University of Copenhagen for a year. He studied history and literature at the University of Athens untill 1952. After that Sigurður moved to Sweden where he studied literature at the University of Stockholm. He completed a B.A. degree in comparative literature at The New School for Social Research in New York in 1955.
Sigurður was a teacher at the Iceland School of Navigation and the Austurbær Children's School from 1948 and 1950. He was a radio-lecturer for the United Nations and taught Icelandic at The City College of New York from 1954 - 1956. He was a lecturer in Old Icelandic Literature in The New School for Social Research in 1955-1956. After that Sigurður returned to Iceland and became a journalist for the daily Morgunblaðið from 1956 - 1967 and the editor of Lesbók Morgunblaðsins (a cultural supplement) from 1962 - 1967. He was the editor of Samvinnan magazine from 1967 - 1974 and the Headmaster of the Correspondence School from 1974 - 1977.
Sigurður A. Magnússon has been an active participant in social activities and been the chairman of many societies and clubs. He was chairman for the Society of Icelandic Theatre Critics from 1963 - 1971, The Writers Association of Iceland 1971 - 1972 and The Writers Union of Iceland, the former from 1972 - 1974. Sigurður was the first chairman of The Writers Union of Iceland in the years of 1974 - 1978. He was the chairman of the Nordic Writers Council in 1976 - 1977 and the Icelandic department of Amnesty International 1988 - 1990 and 1993 - 1995. Sigurður sat on an international committee for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1986 and the committee for the Nordic Literary Award from 1990 - 1998. Sigurður A. Magnússon has written numerous essays on social- and educational matters for newspapers and magazines. He has in addition worked as a guide in Asia, Greece, India, Nepal, Japan and Brazil.
Sigurður has written a number of books in Icelandic and English, among them novels, poetry, plays, travelogues, autobiographies, collections of articles and books about the Icelandic horse. His first book was the travelogue Grískir Reisudagar (Travels in Greece) published in 1953. Sigurður has worked to promote Icelandic literature abroad and thus edited readers and translated Icelandic poetry. He has also translated a number of works from Danish, English, Greek and German, for example works by H.C. Andersen, Bertolt Brecht, Gíorgos Seferis, Pandelis Prevalakis, Walt Whitman, James Joyce, Nagíb Mahfúz, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Fowles and Ernest Hemingway.
Sigurður A. Magnússn lives in Reykjavík. Back