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Halldór Laxness

AKA Halldór Kiljan Gudjónsson

Born: 23-Apr-1902
Birthplace: Reykjavik, Iceland
Died: 8-Feb-1998
Location of death: Reykjavik, Iceland
Cause of death: Alzheimer's
Remains: Buried, Reykjavik Cemetery, Reykjavik, Iceland

Gender: Male
Religion: Other
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Iceland
Executive summary: Iceland's Bell

For his beloved novels of Icelandic farmers and fishermen, Halldór Laxness won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1955. He is best known internationally for the three-volume tragedy Islandsklukkan (Iceland's Bell), set in 18th Century Iceland and Denmark. He published his first novel, Barn Náttúrunnar (Child of Nature), when he was 17, then spent a decade traveling through Europe and America, even trying to find success in Hollywood, but instead he had his passport confiscated and was threatened with deportation. He converted to Catholicism, lived with monks in a Benedictine abbey, and wrote Vefarinn Mikli frá Kasmir (The Great Weaver from Kashmir), in which the protagonist comes to God, but the author eventually grew bored with Christianity. Returning to Iceland, he announced that he was a socialist, and wrote the two-volume Salka Valka, the story of a young woman in a fishing village and the growth of a labor movement there. He abandoned socialism after visiting the Soviet Union, later was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, and became a Taoist in his later years.

His daughter, Gudny Halldorsdottir, is an Icelandic writer and director, who won the Edda Award (the Icelandic equivalent of an Oscar) for her 1999 film adaptation of her father's Ungfrúin góða og húsið (The Honor of the House), starring Tinna Gunnlaugsdóttir and Ragnhildur Gísladóttir. Laxness's grandson is an Icelandic rap star, who performs under the stage name Dóri DNA.

Father: Guðjón Helgason (b. 1870)
Mother: Sigríður Halldórsdóttir (b. 1872)
Wife: Ingibjørg Einarsdóttir (div. 1936)
Wife: Auður Sveinsdóttir (m. 1945)
Daughter: Gudny Halldorsdottir (filmmaker)

    High School: Reykjavík Gymnasium, Reykjavík, Iceland (dropped out)

    Nobel Prize for Literature 1955
    Sonning Prize 1969

Author of books:
Barn Náttúrunnar (Child of Nature) (1919)
Undir Helgahnúk (Under the Holy Mountain) (1924)
Vefarinn Mikli frá Kasmir (The Great Weaver from Kashmir) (1927)
Salka Valka) (1932, two volumes)
Sjalfstaettfolk (Independent People) (1935)
Ljós Heimsins (The Light of the World) (1940, four volumes)
Islandsklukkan (Iceland's Bell) (1946, three volumes)
Atómstödin (The Atom Station) (1948)
Gerpla (The Happy Warriors) (1952)
Brekkukotsannáll (The Fish Can Sing) (1957)
Paradísarheimt (Paradise Reclaimed) (1960)
Kristnihald undir Jökli (Under the Glacier) (1968)
Innansveiterkronika (Domestic Chronicle) (1970)
Sagan af Brauddinu Dýra (The Bread of Life (1987, memoir)
Dagar hjá Múnkum (Days with Monks (1987, memoir)



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