The Icelandic Literary Prize 2012 was awarded at the presidential residence Bessastaðir on February 6, In the category of fiction and poetry Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl received the prize for his novel Illska (lit. Evil), published by Mál og Menning. The nonfiction award went out to the historian Gunnar F. Guðmundsson for Pater Jón Sveinsson – Nonni, a biography on Nonni, published by Opna.
Five titles were nominated for the prize in each of the categories. The final meting out of the prize was decided by a panel of three judges;
Fiction and Poetry:
Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir: Undantekningin. Publisher: Bjartur.
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl: Illska. Publisher: Mál og menning.
Gyrðir Elíasson: Suðurglugginn. Publisher: Uppheimar.
Kristín Ómarsdóttir: Milla. Publisher: JPV útgáfa.
Sigurjón Magnússon: Endimörk heimsins. Publisher: Ormstunga.
Einar Már Jónsson: Örlagaborgin. Brotabrot úr afrekasögu frjálshyggjunnar. Fyrri hluti. Publisher: Ormstunga.
Gunnar F. Guðmundsson: Pater Jón Sveinsson – Nonni. Publisher: Opna.
Gunnar Þór Bjarnason: Upp með fánann. Baráttan um uppkastið 1908 og sjálfstæðisbarátta Íslendinga. Publisher: Mál og menning.
Jón Ólafsson: Appelsínur frá Abkasíu. Vera Hertzsch, Halldór Laxness og hreinsanirnar miklu. Publishers: JPV útgáfa.
Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir: Sagan af klaustrinu á Skriðu. Publisher: Sögufélagið.
Some select praise for Illska:
“To put it briefly, the book is good. I don’t remember having read a better book in Icelandic. Haven’t I said enough? What on earth should I add to that? I’m telling you to read the book. If you want to know more you can just take my advice.” Óli Gneisti Sóleyjarson / Gneistinn, truflun.net blog
“Smashing … Really great book any way you look at it … magnificent work … constant tension … ” Egill Helgason / Kiljan, National Broadcasting Service
“It is written somewhere that fascism has no sense for irony, and therefore irony must be a useful tool in the fight against it. Having finished Evil one at least wishes to believe that it is so, and even though it weren’t to turn out true, this is certainly still a beautiful and grand work of fiction, a great feat, I dare say, about deeply hurt people who are dragged through a sick world in all its sadness – and glory.” Björn Unnar Valsson / bokmenntir.is
“I doubt I will read a better novel this fall … significantly well done … gripping through out … ” Thröstur Helgason / Kiljan, National Broadcasting Service
* * * * * (5 stars out of 5)
“Crazy book. Read it! … Informative, entertaining, sad and funny. It combines history, love story, philosophical pondering and humour … So masterfully done, original and fantastic that it is just frightening.” Thórunn Hrefna Sigurjónsdóttir / Frettabladid daily
“A major work in every sense … very strong impact … masterly well written … kept me in its grip …” Friðrika Benónýsdóttir / Kiljan, National Broadcasting Service
“An absolute pleasure … As a political work Evil is a pure masterpiece … Anyone wishing to face the truth about Iceland and the world around it simply must read this book.” Jón Bjarki Magnússon / DV Newspaper