Einar Bragi was born in Eskifjörður, east Iceland, on April 7, 1921. He was brought up in Eskifjörður and after completing school in Akureyri, north Iceland, in 1944, he studied literature, history of art and history of drama at the University of Lund, Sweden, from 1945-47 and the University of Stockholm from 1950-53.
He worked in herring factories in north and northeast Iceland, as a tourist guide in other countries, a journalist on Þjóðviljinn newspaper and, intermittently, as a teacher of Icelandic in various schools from 1944-87. His many positions of responsibility for the literary community include serving as chairman of the Icelandic Writers' Union 1968-70, chairman of the Icelandic Writers' Fund 1974, Iceland's representative on the Nordic Council of Ministers' Committee which compiled the rules for the Nordic Translation Fund 1972-74, and the Federation of Icelandic Artists' representative on the board of the Nordic House for many years. He founded the literary magazine Birtingur in 1953 and was on its board until it ceased publication in 1968.
Einar Bragi's first volumes of poetry, Eitt kvöld í júní (One Evening in June, 1950) and Svanur á báru (Swan on a Wave, 1952) were published while he was living in Sweden, and his third after he returned to Iceland in 1953. Since then he has published numerous books of poetry, novels, memoirs and collections of essays, as well as being a prolific translator of poetry and prose into Icelandic. Among his translations are the plays of August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen.
Books of Einar Bragi's poetry have been published in several translations and individual poems have been anthologized in many languages.
Einar Bragi passed away in Reykjavík in March 2005. Back