Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson was born on September 26, 1962 in Reykjavík. After graduation from highschool in 1982 he went abroad for further education and graduated as a physicist from Brandeis University in Massachusetts in The United States in 1985. Ólafur Jóhann started working for Sony in the States immediately after completing his studies. Ten years later he became the Assistant Director of the company and the President of Sony Interactive Entertainment. Ólafur was involved in developing the CD and while he was in charge, the company launched the PlayStation computer. In 1996 he started working for the investment-company Advanta and in 1999 he became Vice Chairman of Time Warner Digital Media.
In his years as a student, Ólafur Jóhann wrote articles appearing in science magazines. His first work of fiction was the short story collection Níu Lyklar (Nine Keys) published in 1986. His first novel, Markaðstorg guðanna (Marketplace of the Gods), appeared in 1988 and since then he has published a number of novels as well as plays. Fyrirgefning syndanna (Absolution) was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize in 1991 and the short story collection Aldingarðurinn (Valentines) won the same award in 2006. The play Fjögur hjörtu (Four Hearts) by Ólafur Jóhann premiered in Loftkastalinn theatre in Reykjavík in 1997 and an adaptation of his novel Sniglaveislan (Feast of Snails) premiered at the Akureyri Drama Society in 2001. The latter has also been staged in Britain. His novel, The Journey Home, will be filmed in 2007, directed by Liv Ullman. A number of Ólafur Jóhann's books have been translated into other languages.
Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson is married to Anna Ólafsdóttir and they have two sons. They live in the United States.