Ólafur Gunnarsson was born in Reykjavík on July 18, 1948. He completed a commercial diploma from The Commercial College of Iceland in 1968. Ólafur worked for merchant Ásbjörn Ólafsson hf. from 1965-1971 and was the driver of the Reykjavík medical emergency from 1972-1978. Ólafur has worked as a writer since 1974.
Poetry by Ólafur Gunnarsson had appeared in newspapers and magazines before his first novel, Milljón-prósent menn (Million-Percent Men), was published in 1978. He has published novels, short stories and children's books as well as a travel story about his road trip with author (and co-author of the book) Einar Kárason in the U.S.A. in 2006. His novel, Tröllakirkja (Troll's Cathedral, 1996) was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Award in 1992 and the English translation was furthermore nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literature Award in 1997. An adaptation for the stage premiered at The National Theatre in 1996. He received the Icelandic Literature Prize for his novel, Öxin og jörðin (The Axe and the Earth), in 2004. The film rights for both Öxin og jörðin and the novel Vetrarferðin (Winter Journey, 1999) have been sold.
Some of Ólafur's work has been translated into other languages, the children's book Fallegi flughvalurinn (The Beautiful Flying Whale, 1999) has been published in Britain, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and The Faeroe Islands, and was nominated to the Nordic Children's Literature Award in 1990. Some of his novels for adults have been translated to English, German and French. Ólafur has in addition to this, translated novels and plays into Icelandic.
Ólafur is married to Elsa Benjamínsdóttir. They have four sons and live in the Reykjavík suburb Mosfellsbær.
Author photo: Jóhann Páll Valdimarsson.Back