Jóhann Hjálmarsson was born in Reykjavik on July 2, 1939. From 1956 to 1959 he studied printing at the Technical College of Reykjavik; and in 1959, and again in 1965, he studied Spanish at the University of Barcelona.
From 1967 to 2006, Jóhann worked as critic of both literature and theatre for the newspaper Morgunblaðið. Since 1990, he has also supervised literary broadcastings for the National Radio. Through the years Jóhann has been active in committees of the literary community, including serving on the Nordic Council Minister´s Committee from 1981-1990, acting as its chairman from 1987-1989.
Jóhann has written numerous poetry collections and his first book, Aungull í tímann, was published in 1956. His works have been translated into many languages and published in collections throughout the world. He has, in turn, translated poems and collections into Icelandic.
Jóhann lives in the Reykjavik suburb, Mosfellsbaer.