“SEVEN STONES” AN OPERA BASED ON SJÓN’S POEMS IN THE MAKING
Czech composer Ondrej Adamek and Sjón have been commissioned by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence to write an opera based on Sjón’s poems from his poetry collection The Song Of The Stone Collector and new material specially written for the project. The idea for the opera which will be called Seven Stones was born during their visit to the festival in 2012 and developed further during the first week of July this year in a workshop with choreographer Eric Oberdorff and scenographer Eric Soyer and the four singers who will be in the main roles, Shigeko Hata, Landy Andriamboavonjy, Nicolas Simeha and Anne-Emmanuelle Davy. All are seen in the picture from the workshop along with the stage direction assistant Jean-Francois Kessler. Premier will be at the festival in July 2016.
FOREIGN RIGHTS TO ‘SKUGGA-BALDUR’ SOLD IN 30 LANGUAGES !!!
With the Greek publishing house Nefeli buying the rights to ‘Skugga-Baldur’ (a.k.a. The Blue Fox) the number of languages Sjón’s book has been sold to reaches thirty, making it one of the most widely read Icelandic literary novels of last decades. The rights have been handled by Trine Licht of the Licht&Burr agency in Copenhagen who has championed Sjón’s work since 2004. Skugga-Baldur has now been published in 14 of the 16 major literary languages with Japanese and Hebrew on the horizon. Three cheers for the wonder of translation that allows a small novel written in a language spoken by few to speak to readers all over the globe!
THE FINNO-UGRIC WORLD PREPARES FOR ‘RÖKKURBÝSNIR’
The publishing houses Magvetö in Hungary and Like in Finnland have bought the foreign rights for ‘Rökkurbýsnir’ (From the Mouth of the Whale). Sjón’s novel has already been sold to eleven countries – making the Finnish and the Hungarian editions the twelfth and the thirteenth – where it has been met with critical claim and nominations for literary prizes.
The HEADREAD Festival in Tallinn is the next stop for Sjón
HeadRead is a literary festival in Tallinn from 28th of May to 1st of June, bringing together writers from Estonia and abroad to spreading the message of the written word. A.S. Byatt, John Burnside, Jaan Kaplinski, John Banville, Lionel Shriver, Sjón and more will no doubt speak many a word of wisdom and wit about life and literature.
Sjón in conversation with his translator and journalist Askur Alas
Estonian Writers’ Union
Harju 1 – Tallinn
For the whole program go here.
SJÓN TAKES PART IN ‘COMÉDIE DU LIVRE’ IN MONTPELLIER
Apart from the interview and the panel with his Nordic colleagues Sjón will be around for book signings and talks with his readers.
Friday, the 23rd of May
GRAND ENTRETIEN LITTÉRAIRE AVEC SJÓN
11:30-12:30. A Literary Interview
Moderator: Catherine Pont-Humbert
Auditorium de La Panacée
Saturday, the 24th of May
AUX LISIÈRES DU FANTASTIQUE
18:00-19:30. “The edges of fantastic”
Sjón, Johanna Sinisalo and Lars Saabye Christensen
Moderator: Oriane Jeancourt
Salle Einstein, Corum
Go to the festival website for more information.
SJÓN WRITES ABOUT THE WHISPERING MUSE FOR THE NEW YORKER
As The Whispering Muse is published in paperback by FSG in the USA, and under the title Navegantes del tiempo by Nórdica Libros in Spain, Sjón has written an essay on the origins of the novel for The New Yorker. Read it here.
SJÓN TAKES PART IN THE WORLD VOICES FESTIVAL IN NEW YORK
PEN AMERICA’s great annual literary festival takes place all over New York City from the 29th of April to the 4th of May. The list of events and authors is amazing and Sjón’s participation is as follows:
Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 7:00pm
The Library, the Public Theater 425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
With Siri Hustvedt, Geert Mak and Josef Winkler
Saturday, May 03, 2014, 8:00pm
Invisible Dog 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
With Suzanne Brøgger, Francine Prose, Téa Obreht, Judith Thurman and Linn Ullmann
Sunday, May 04, 2014, 2:30pm
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, The Cooper Union 41 Cooper Square (Third Avenue at 6th Street), New York, NY
With Osama Alomar and Lydia Davis
For more information about the festival see here.
MÅNESTEN – DRENGEN DER ALDRIG VAR SHOWERED WITH STARS!
The Danish edition of Sjón’s latest novel receives much praise in Denmark, six star reviews and shouts like: “Novel of the Year!”. Sjón will visit Denmark in the autumn for readings and talks at the Louisiana.
LONDON BOOK FAIR 2014 SPECIAL
A brochure about Sjón’s new novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was can be downloaded here. The foreign rights have already been sold to Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA, S. Fischer Verlag in Germany, de Geus in the Netherlands, Rivages in France, Dybbuk in the Czech Republic, C&K Forlag in Denmark, Alfabeta in Sweden and LIKE Kustannus in Finland. The foreign rights are handled by Trine Licht at the Licht-Burr Literary Agency. For contact information regarding the foreign rights of Sjón’s works go here.
MOONSTONE IS AWARDED TWO MORE LITERARY PRIZES
Sjón’s latest novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was has received the DV Newspaper Literary Prize as the best novel of the year and The Red Raven’s Feather for ‘the most curious sex scene’ in a book published in Iceland in 2013.
SJÓN RECEIVES THE ICELANDIC LITERARY PRIZE
On the 30th of January Sjón’s novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was was awarded the most prestigious literary prize in Iceland. In the photo Sjón faces the press as he gives a thank you speech during the ceremony held at the president’s residence Bessastaðir. Moonstone has been a runaway success in Iceland in terms of sales and reviews, it will be published in Danish and Finnish in March and Swedish in the autumn. The English, German and French translations are due in 2015.
Sjón’s first collection of poetry in Swedish will be out in spring, published by Rámus Förlag and translated by John Swedenmark. Because of this Sjón will be appearing at the Umeå Internationella Litteraturfestival from 13th to the 15th of March and in Gothenburg and its neighboring cities from the 31st of March to the 3rd of April.
MOONSTONE ON THE MOVE!
Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was has been shortlisted for ‘The Icelandic Literary Prize’, chosen as ‘The Novel of the Year’ by the Icelandic Bookseller’s Association and picked up by three more international publishers with Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the USA, S. Fischer Verlag in Germany and Rivages in France joining Alfabeta in Sweden, C&K Forlag in Denmark and LIKE Kustannus in Finland.
SJÓN IN SOUTHEAST ASIA AND MUNICH
Sjón will be the guest of the ever growing Hong Kong International Literary Festival and the well established Singapore Writers Festival this November. For his appearance in Hong Kong go here. For his appearance in Singapore go here. This is a unique opportunity for readers and scholars of the area to meet the Icelandic author for lectures and discussions on all things “Sjónish” from his encounter with the folkloric Furry Trout to his sharing a country house with Lars von Trier.
And on the 15th of November Sjón will take part in the German premier in Munich of Ondrej Adamek’s composition Kameny based on Sjón’s poem an attempt to resuscitate du’a khalil aswad. Time and place can be seen here.
FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR 2013 SPECIAL
Now you can download a brochure about Sjón’s new novel Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was here. The foreign rights have already been sold to C&K Forlag in Denmark, Alfabeta in Sweden and LIKE Kustannus in Finland by Trine Licht at the Licht-Burr Literary Agency. For contact information regarding the foreign rights of Sjón’s works go here.
A MAGUS OF THE NORTH
A.S. Byatt writes a wonderful essay on Sjón’s works and ideas in the October 10 issue of New York Review of Books
It begins with the words: “Every now and then a writer changes the whole map of literature inside my head. The most recent has been the Icelander Sjón, whose work is unlike anything I had read, and very exciting.” Read the whole essay here.
STOP THE PRESS!
A new novel by Sjón will be published in Iceland the coming fall
Mánasteinn — Drengurinn sem aldrei var til (Moonstone — The Boy Who Never Was) is Sjón’s first novel since the acclaimed From The Mouth Of The Whale in 2008. It will be published by his Icelandic publisher JPV in November. The Icelandic cover text says:
The year is 1918 and from Reykjavik the erupting volcano Katla can be seen coloring the sky night and day. Life in the small capital carries on as usual despite the natural disaster, shortage of coals and the Great War that still rages in the big world.
The sixteen year old kid Máni Steinn lives for the movies. Asleep he dreams the pictures in variations where the tapestry of events is threaded with strands from his own life. Awake he lives on the outskirts of society. But then the ‘Spanish influenza’ epidemic comes ashore and forces thousands of the towns people into the sick bed, killing hundreds.
The shadows of existence deepen. The black wings in Máni Steinn’s breast beat faster. A chilling draught blows between worlds in a place where life and death, reality and imagination, secrets and revelations jostle for dominance.
THE FSG BOOK LAUNCH AT SCANDINAVIA HOUSE IS NOW ONLINE
A transcript of Björk’s praise of her old friend Sjón and her humorous expose of his wild surrealist years is to be found here.
A transcript of Sjón’s conversation with Hari Kunzru is to be found here.
THE REVIEWS ARE ROLLING IN (AND SOME INTERVIEWS AS WELL)
Sjón’s book tour of the US West Coast and the book launch in New York City was a great success with good attendance at his events in the various book stores and academic settings. And to the pleasure of his editor at FSG it resulted in some nice interviews on top of the good reviews that followed the release of the three books. (Photo by Steve Rhodes shows Sjón in serious storyteller mode at the Booksmith in San Fransico.)
US TOUR 2013
To celebrate the publication of three of his novels in the US, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sjón goes on a reading tour of the West Coast and visits New York for a singular book launch event.
Richard Hugo House, Seattle, Tuesday, April 30, at 7:00 pm
In talk with Ryan Boudinot. Musical intervention by the Redwood Plan.
See more here.
Powell Books, Portland, Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 pm
Author talk and booksigning. See more here.
Hilton SF Financial District, San Francisco, Friday, May 3 at 2:00 pm
In talk with Vendela Vida. See more here.
The Booksmith, San Francisco, Friday, May 3 at 7:30 pm
Author talk and booksigning. See more here.
Hilton SF Financial District, San Francisco, Saturday, May 4 at 1:30 pm
Panel discussion with Nordic colleagues Hanne Ørstavik, Steve Sem-Sandberg, Naja Marie Aidt and Rosa Liksom. See more here.
UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Monday, May 6 at 3:30 pm
In talk with professor Helen Morales. See more here.
Scandinavia House, New York, Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 pm
Book launch event. Sjón introduced by Björk. Talk moderated by Hari Kunzru.
See more here.
STOP THE PRESS!
From the Mouth of the Whale has been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Read all about it here.
A marine fable of rare beauty and originality
Two excellent reviews of The Whispering Muse have appeared this month. One in World Literature Today, see here, and the other in The Quarterly Conversation, see here.
The 29th of January will see a world premiere by the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart of a new composition by the Czech composer Ondrej Adamek to one of Sjón’s ‘stone’ poems.
The piece is called ‘kameny’ and the performance takes place in the Cité de la Musique in Paris at 20:00 hrs. The British composer George Benjamin conducts. Read more on the home page of the Ensemble Intercontemporain, here.
A new app featuring the song Björk wrote to Sjón’s poem ‘solstice’ is out as a free and jingling, interactive christmas card.
Find it in the iTunes store, here.
The covers for the Farrar, Straus & Giroux editions are in!
Next May FSG will publish The Whispering Muse in a hardback edition and Sjón’s other two novels translated into English, The Blue Fox and From The Mouth Of The Whale, will simultaneously be published as paperbacks.
Augu mín sáu þig/Tavo Akys Maté Mane/Made in Secret has been adapted for a puppet and object theatre in Vilnius. Adaption and direction is by Karolina Žernytė, music by Raimundas Eimontas, and the director herself performs with Rokas Petrauskas. The premiere is on the 26th of October in a performance venue named Menų spaustuvė/The Arts Printing House. See here.
This is the second time Sjón’s novel has been adapted for theatre. The first was a radio adaption made for RÚV (The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service) that in 2009 became a finalist for the Prix Europa, Radio Arts Prize.
The White Review interviews Sjón in its latest online edition.
The best-tasting puffin is soaked overnight in milk. ‘Then give the milk to the cat’, says Sjón. Read more about literature and exotic cooking here.
“Sjón is a magpie, taking myths and stories from disparate times and places, and weaving them together. The results are not whimsical – Sjón does not shy away from unpleasant truths, either in this world or the realms of myth – and there is a fierce intelligence behind the genial, seemingly rambling narratives.”
Kind words for “The Whispering Muse” from Lucy Dallas’ review in the 7th of September issue of The Times Literary Supplement. Read it here.
The acclaimed Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah names Sjón’s “The Blue Fox” as his “Book of a Lifetime” when asked by The Independent newspaper.
See his article here.
“In tight, sharp and, at times hypnotic, prose, Sjon mixes Greek legends with Icelandic myth to create a starkly original fable of his own”
“The Whispering Muse” is reviewed in the pan-European magazine Cafe Babel. Read it in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Polish.
The great American publishing company Farrar, Straus and Giroux has acquired the U.S. and Canadian English rights to Sjón’s latest three novels with plans to publish them in the late spring of 2013 with “The Whispering Muse” as a masthead.
“A playful mixture of myth and fish from a unique Icelandic voice …”
In The Guardian “The Whispering Muse” receives a warm recommendation from Michael Faber an author who more than knows his way on the borders of the fantastic and the real. Read here.
Upcoming events in the UK this summer, where Sjón talks about his novel “The Whispering Muse” that has just been published by Telegram Books:
Worlds Literature Festival, Norwich, 22nd of June at 2 PM. See here.
London Literature Festival, Southbank, 6th of July at 6:30 PM. See here.
Edinburgh International Book Festival, 13th of August. More soon.
Sjón has been in the UK talking about “The Whispering Muse”.
On the 9th of June Sjón was at the Hay Festival with Madeilen Miller, author of “The Song of Achilles” talking to Jim Naughtie about myths and why they matter. On the 11th of June he visited the wonderful Bath bookshop Mr. B’s Emporium and gave a talk on how he came to write “The Whispering Muse”. And on the 12th of June he met up with A.S. Byatt who recently published a marvelous retelling of the Nordic myths – Ragnarök – and the ever fertile Adam Thirlwell at the London Review Bookshop in London where the talk was also myths and how they inspire contemporary writing and thought. (As seen in the photo above. © artificebooks.wordpress.com.)
In May Sjón will be in AUSTRALIA as a guest of the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne and the Sidney Writer’s Festival.
On the 14th he will be in Melbourne and share the stage with Roddy Doyle as a part of the “10–Ten Writers, Five Double Bill” series: See here.
In Sidney he will take part in different events, among them a discussion about his work in different fields on the 17th and a panel discussion on myths, with American novelist Jesmyn Ward, on the 19th.
STOP THE PRESS!
“From the Mouth of the Whale” has been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012!
The £10.000 prize is divided between author and translator, in this case Sjón and the marvelous Victoria Cribb, should they be lucky. This year six books translated from German, Icelandic, Chinese, Hebrew and Italian are nominated, among them are Umberto Eco’s “The Prague Cemetary” and Yan Lianke’s “Dream of Ding Village”. See the whole list of nominations here.
“The Whispering Muse” (Argóarflísin) will be published on the 11th of June by Telegram Books in the UK. In his kind endorsement of the book the novelist David Mitchell says:
“THE WHISPERING MUSE is a quirky, melodic, ticklish, seamlessly-translated, lovingly-polished gem of a novel. Sjón’s work deserves space on any self-respecting bookshelf of European fiction.” (Order it here.)
“Something strange and wonderful has washed up on our shores for these long winter’s nights.”
So begins a splendid review about “From the Mouth of the Whale” in the Washington Post.
British Kashmiri author Hari Kunzru names “From the Mouth of the Whale” as his book of the year in an interview with the Booktrust
Read the whole interview with Hari about his own great novel “Gods Without Men”, aliens, deserts and gods in search of humans on the Booktrust’s website.
“A macskaróka” – as “Skugga-Baldur” is called in Hungarian – is chosen by a jury of literary critics as the fourth most interesting new translation published in Hungary in 2011.
If your skills in the Hungarian language allow you can read all about it in the online version of the current affairs magazine Magyar Narancs.
“From the Mouth of the Whale” is a fascinating, unsettling experience and Victoria Cribb is to be commended for capturing the author’s unique voice in her English translation
Or so it says in a glowing review of both book and translation in Publishing Perspectives.
“From the Mouth of the Whale” is one of The Scotsman’s Books of the Year, chosen by Nick Barley, director of the Edinburgh Book Festival
“Wild, hallucinatory and bleak, From the Mouth of the Whale, by Icelandic novelist and poet Sjón, is one of the most captivating and challenging books I read this year.” More in The Scotsman.
The foreign rights of “The Blue Fox” (Skugga-Baldur) are sold to China.
One of China’s biggest publishing house of foreign fiction, Yilin Press in Beijing, has aquired the rights to publish Sjón’s award winning novel in Chinese.
“From the Mouth of the Whale” is reviewed in the Publishers Weekly
According to the Publishers Weekly “From the Mouth of the Whale” is “a blithe, rhapsodic novel [...] a work charged with lyrical energy and metaphysical purpose”.
THE FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR
Sjón took part in diverse events at the Frankfurt Book Fair between
the 13th and 16th of October as Iceland was this year’s guest country of honor.
“Ásgerður Júníusdóttir and Sjón in der Blaue Sofa”
Interview on the ZDF about “Das Gleißen der Nacht”, poetic farmers and other things Icelandic, crowned with Ásgerður singing “Draumalandið” and “Litla flugan”.
“Icelandic Author Sjón on Myths and Crackpot Theories”
A Book Fair interview with the international trade magazine Publishing Perspectives.