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Birgir Sigurðsson

Birgir Sigurðsson was born in Reykjavík on August 28, 1937. After finishing his middle school education, he became a fisherman at a herring ship, at the age of fifteen. For the next few years, Birgir did various jobs on land and see, until he took up his studies again. He received a teaching diploma from Iceland's Teacher Training College in 1961 and then became a journalist at the daily Tíminn until 1964. He was a teacher at the elementary school Mýrarhúsaskóli in Seltjarnarnes (a Reykjavík suburb) until 1967, after which he moved to Amsterdam to study singing. He had already studied at the Reykjavík School of Music for some years, on the side of his teaching job.

While in Amsterdam, Birgir started writing poetry, gave up his singing and returned to Iceland with the poetry book Réttu mér fána (Pass me a Flag) in his suitcase. Birgir became a headmaster at the elementary level, first in Gnúpverjahreppur from 1968 – 1975 and then on the island Hrísey from 1977 – 1979. He also taught at Þingholtsskóli in Kópavogur the winter of 1975- 1976. Birgir was the vice president of The Writer's Union of Iceland from 1982 – 1986, president of the Association of Icelandic Artists from 1985 – 1987 and was a member of the Reykjavík Art Festival committee 1985 – 1987 and Reykjavík Cultural City of Europe in 2000. Birgir has written poetry, plays, novels as well of non-fiction works. He has also been a translator and done documentaries. His play, Dagur vonar (A Day of Hope) received much acclaim and was hugely popular when staged by the Reykjavík Theatre Company in Iðnó in 1987. It appeared on print in the same year. Plays by Birgir Sigurðsson have been staged at the National Theatre, The City Theatre and the Akureyri Theatre Company. They have also been performed on National Radio. Abroad, his plays have been staged in Los Angeles, London, Copenhagen, Åleborg, Thorshavn, Vaasa and Stockholm. His first novel, Hengiflugið (The Precipice), was published in 1993 and another one, Ljósið í vatninu (The Light in the Water) appeared in 2000.

Birgir Sigurðsson lives in Reykjavík and Edinburgh.


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