SEVEN STONES WINS A PRIZE ON THE EVE OF ITS PREMIERE
The opera Seven Stones by Czech composer Ondřej Adámek and Sjón has been awarded the prestigious Fedora-Generali Prize as the best new opera of the year in Europe. In the words of the jury:
This innovative opera, written by young Czech composer Ondřej Adámek and Icelandic poet Sjón, is an invitation to a thrilling journey through Argentinian, Icelandic, Japanese and French cultures. In this modern opera, everything is set to live an unprecedented experience that intimately combines sung, spoken and whispered voices and the monumental sound installations that create the scene. SEVEN STONES is a contemporary opera that will push boundaries.
Seven Stones will premiere on the 7th of July, 17:00, at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in Théâtre du Jeu de Paume. There will be further five performances of the opera in the coming two weeks, on the 8th and 15th at 17:00, and on 10th, 12th and 17th July at 19:00. For more information and tickets go here.
SJÓN JOINS ANNE CARSON ON STAGE IN REYKJAVÍK
After reading together in October in the Royal Festival Hall on the final day of Poetry International in London, Anne Carson and Sjón meet again in the media space Mengi in Reykjavík. Anne Carson and Robert Currie are in Iceland for a number of events and the publication of her first edition in Icelandic. The book is published by Tungl forlag, the mysterious publishers who only publish and sell their books on full moon and are known to burn the rest of the stock come morning.
The event with Anne, Bob, Sjón and young Magnús Sigurðsson vill be on the 29th of June at 21:00 hrs in Mengi at the center of town. For tickets go here.
SJÓN COMES TO BERLIN FOR EVENTS 20TH AND 21ST OF JUNE
To celebrate the new German edition of his poems, the book Bewegliche Berge from Edition Rugerup, Sjón will be a guest of the Icelandic Embassy in the Felleshus and meet Dr. Christiane Lange from Haus für Poesie for a talk about his poems and the world they were written in. He will read his poems in Icelandic and his publisher, Margitt Lebers, will read the German translations. The day after Sjón will join 20 other European authors to talk about the state of Europe at the invitation of Der Blaue Sofa as a part of the European Heritage Year.
BEWEGLICHE BERGE: 20th of June in Felleshus, 18:00. For information about how to register for the free event go here.
EUROPÄISCHER AUTORENGIPFEL, 21st of June at Unter den Linden 1, from 19:00–21:30. For more information go here.
ON THE THE 13TH OF JUNE A CELEBRATION OF THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE GREAT SWEDISH LITERATURE MAGAZINE 10TAL WILL TAKE PLACE IN STOCKHLOLM’S SCALATEATERN
Alongside a team of litérateurs such as the magazines main editior Madeleine Grieve and the scholar and multitalent, John Swedenmark, Sjón is a co-editior of the special issue that deals with Climate Change as Klimavrede (Climate-anger) as its main topic. Expect challenging poetry, prose and essays that bring you mind blowing experiences and ideas that hopefully will add to your understanding of what can be done about the great challenge that lies ahead for our human race. Sjón’s own essay deals with how we can benefit from using an ecological model to find the literary-bio-versity we need in the struggle against the effects of global warming.
Klubb 10TAL Klimatvrede
Wednesday, June 13 at 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM UTC+0 (Tickets here.)
A VISIT TO THE CITIES OF MIKHAIL BULGAKOV AND BRUNO SCHULZ
At the end of May, beginning of June, Sjón will visit the birthplaces of two of his favourite authors, Kiev and Drohobycz. In Kiev he will talk about the Ukrainian edition of Skugga-Baldur, handsomely published by Vydavnytstvo, visit the former home of Mikhail Bulgakov, author of The Master and Margarita, and have talks with Ukrainian colleagues. In Drohobych Sjón will pay homage to Bruno Schulz at the opening of a festival in his name. It is a literary pilgrimage.
30th of May, Arsenal Book Fair, 16:00 – 17:00
Presentation of the Ukranian edition of Skugga-Baldur and discussion:
“Myths about the future.”
31st of May, Arsenal Book Fair, 18:00 – 19.00
A discussion with Ukranian author Yuriy Andruchovych:
“Poems as lyrics. When poems become musical compositions.”
1st of June, Drohobych Local Theatre, 11:30-12:00
“Cinamon on Ice.”
Inauguration lecture of Schulzfest – The 8th International Bruno Schulz Festival in Drohobycz, a biannual festival honoring the work and life of the Polish genius who was born there to a Jewish family and murdered by a Nazi. His short story collections The Cinnamon Shops and Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourgalss had a deep influence on Sjón as a young writer as can be seen in his latest literary work CoDex 1962.
MALAGA 451 & LITERATURA EM VIAGEM IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
In mid May Sjón took part in the one day literary celebration Malaga 451 in the city of that name. There he gave a lecture on the relationship between music and literature under the title: Ice Flowers and Arabesques — Echoes from the North.
And few days later he was in the city Matosinhos, just north of Porto, at the Literature em Viagem festival talking about the relationship between Literature and Cities. When asked to describe his perfect imaginary city Sjón said:
“The perfect imaginary city is like a library turned inside out.”
SJÓN TALKS TO THE BIBLIOFILE ABOUT THE POETRY OF ICELAND, DREAMS, BOWIE AND MODERNISM (POST AND NOT.)
Whilst in Ottawa for VerseFest Sjón met up with Nigel Beale from the Bibliofile, a Canadian web based literary podcast. They sat down together in Sjón’s hotel room and went with the flow until the ideas were just about flowing over the balcony and down to the streets. And we can’t have that, not with the temperature below freezing point. But here it is for your pleasure.
NEOARCTIC AT A NORDIC ART FESTIVAL IN MONTREAL
If you are in Montreal on the 14th of April you can step into the new reality of the anthropocene in the award winning opera/oratorio NeoArctic at the Théâtre Maisonneuve. It is a chilling wonder of visuals, words and sounds. For tickets to the 8pm performance go here.
Earlier on the 14th, at 5pm, Sjón will meet up with renowned Canadian biologist Jean Lemire in the Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme for a discussion about climate change and art. It is a free event but information about it is here.
SEVEN STONES PREMIERES ON 7th OF JULY IN AIX-EN-PROVENCE
The world premiere of the opera Seven Stones by composer Ondřej Adámek and Sjón takes place this summer at the Aix-en-Provence opera festival. The libretto is by Sjón, adapted from his own poetry collection The Song of the Stone Collector. On the homepage of the festival (where you can also buy tickets, here) it says:
“A mineralogist-collector who has got lost down a snowy lane remembers: many years earlier, he had gone in search of the first stone – the one that was almost used to stone to death the adulterous woman who was saved by Christ. During this seven-year long journey that takes him from Buenos Aires to Paris and from Japan to Iceland, the collector discovered many other stones … And the end of his journey leads to the conclusion of his quest – and to tragedy. Presenting this chamber fresco in the elegant red velvet atmosphere of the Jeu de Paume Theatre, Icelandic poet Sjón and Czech composer Ondřej Adámek tell a universal story that has the grace of our dreams and the force of our nightmares. Giving life to the shimmering precious stones of the opera in English are the voices of twelve choral singers from accentus and four soloists, who will be playing a number of surprising instruments and objects, some specially invented for this original, accessible and fascinating new production.”
SJÓN READS AT VERSEFEST IN OTTAWA
Sjón will be one of 70 poets appearing at Versefest, Ottawa’s international literary feast of verses and the words that make them. Sjón’s main event will be on the 24th of March but he will be around until the 26th to enjoy the program and the company of poetry lovers from all over the world.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 9PM
120 LISGAR STREET, OTTAWA
For more about Versefest and the great poets taking part in it go here.
ELÍSABET & BALTASAR — A SHORT FILM BY MELODY WOODNUTT
The short film Elísabet & Baltasar by Australian/Icelandic artist Melody Woodnutt was premiered at the Dead North film festival in Yellowknife, NT, Canada at the end of February. The haunting and beautiful film is partly inspired by Sjón’s poem “About the Alchemist”:
He sits in an old sickbed
unstitching the seams in his pyjamas
someone has sprinkled wheat over him
so that now he resembles a moth
His head touches the wall
on his forehead a film is shown in slow motion
A blonde with drunken lips
(Translation: David McDuff)
THE BOOK OF SJÓN BY ÚLFHILDUR DAGSDÓTTIR
If you are lucky enough to read Icelandic and are interested in the works of Sjón then SJÓN’S BOOK — The Adventure About the Author, Surrealism and Visions by literary scholar, horror film specialist and cyborg theorist Úlfhildur Dagsdóttir is a must have. Dagsdóttir has followed Sjón’s authorship since the late 80s and reviewed most of his novels and poetry collections for magazines and newspapers. In Sjónsbók she builds on her deep knowledge of his works and reads them in context with both Icelandic and international literary trends and traditions. It is for sale at the publisher’s homepage, here.
In his review about Sjónsbók in Nordisk Tidskrift professor Jón Karl Helgason says: “Her text shifts between linguistic virtuosity, paradoxes, repetitions and playfulness, but she is always serious in her approach. Sjónsbók is an important and essential work about one of our times most interesting authors.”
SJÓN TAKES PART IN THE EMIRATES FESTIVAL IN DUBAI
From the 1st to 4th of March Sjón will be in Dubai to read poetry and talk about the relationship between myths, folklore and contemporary literature. Among the authors coming to the festival this year are English poets Simon Armitage and Carole Ann Duffy, Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov, US/Nigerian SF/Fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor, the Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie and the author of Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi from Iraq.
POETRY MOVES MOUNTAINS IN BEWEGLICHE BERGE
A new German collection of Sjón’s poetry will be published by Edition Rugerup on the 15th of March. It contains the whole of his latest Icelandic collection gráspörvar og ígulker (house sparrows and sea urchins), the cycle náttúruljóð (nature poems) from söngur steinasafnarans (song of the stone collector) and a handful of new poems from the last three years. The poems are translated by Tina Flecken and Betty Wahl.
The book will be launched at the Leipzig Bookfair and Sjón will read from it at the fair’s Nordisches Forum on the 16th of March at 17:00 and again at the Nordisches Literaturnacht in Werk II — Kulturfabrik at 22:00.
COVER ART FOR THE UK EDITION OF CODEX 1962 HAS BEEN REVEALED
CoDex 1962 will be published in the UK the coming 26th of July by Sceptre with another wonderful cover illustration by Owen Gent. As they say on the homepage of Sceptre:
Jósef Loewe enters the world as a lump of clay – carried in a hatbox by his Jewish father Leo, a fugitive in WWII Germany. Taking refuge in a small-town guesthouse, Leo discovers a kindred spirit in the young woman who nurses him back to health and together they shape the clay into a baby. But en route to safety in Iceland, he is robbed of the ring needed to bring the child to life. It is not until 1962 that Jósef can be ‘born’, only to grow up with a rare disease. Fifty-three years on, it leads him into the hands of a power-hungry Icelandic geneticist, just when science and politics are threatening to lead us all down a dark, dangerous road. At once playful and profoundly serious, this remarkable novel melds multiple genres into a unique whole: a mind-bending read and a biting, timely attack on nationalism.
SJÓN READS HIS POETRY IN NICARAGUA
From the 11th to 17th of February Sjón will take part in Festival Internacional de Poesía de Granada in Nicaragua. It is a poetry festival famous for its international profile and outdoor readings attended by people from all flights of life. For information about the authors and program go here.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
BOREALES AND MAISON DE LA POÉSIE
At the end of November Sjón took part in the Boreales literary and arts festival in Caen and Normandy, visiting schools, libraries and bookstores. After meeting pupils and readers in the region to talk about The Blue Fox and Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was he sat down with Swedish author Sara Stridsberg in the Auditorium du Musée des Beaux–Arts de Caen to discuss what literature is made of and what drives authors to distill their sometimes raging minds into carefully composed works of words.
After Normandy Sjón went to Paris to present Oursins et moineaux, the French translation of his book gráspörvar og ígulker, at Maison de la Poésie on 157 Rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris. The event was hosted by the books translator, Séverine Daucourt, and music was provided by mezzo-soprano Ásgerður Júníusdóttir and harpist Marion Herrera.
A LATVIAN BLUE FOX NAMED ĒNU LAPSA
Sjón’s first book in Latvian is out. Skugga-Baldur becomes Ēnu Lapsa in the translation of Dens Dimiņš. To present the book Sjón gave a talks and readings in Riga, Gulbene and Lizums. On the way he visited the quite run down Stāmeriena palace where Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the great Sicilian author of Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), spent his summers in the 20s and 30s.