Sjón in conversation with Fernán González
First season of Literary Conversations:
Sjón in conversation with Fernán González.
Date: 23 April 2015.
Venue: Granada Book Fair Central Space.
Sponsorship: EEA Grants and Centro Federico García Lorca Consortium.
Sjón means “vision” and is the pen name chosen by Sigurjón Birgir Sigurdsson (b. Reykjavik, 1962). He is one of Iceland’s most significant contemporary artists and intellectuals. His books of poetry, novels and children’s stories have enjoyed great success among both critics and the public. In 2005 he won the Nordic Council Literature Prize for The Blue Fox (Skugga-Baldur), which appeared in Spain (as El zorro ártico) published by Nórdica. As a writer of prose fiction, Sjón has been compared with Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. He is also a leading light in the Icelandic music scene. He is known the world over as the lyricist of songs by Björk, including “Isobel”, “Jóga” and “Oceania”. He also wrote the songs that Björk sang for Lars von Trier’s film Dancer in the Dark, one of which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song category. Sjón was still a teenager when he began his career as a poet, publishing Sýnir (Visiones) in 1978, but in Spain he is best known, apart from his work with Bjork, as a novelist. Nórdica has published, in addition to El zorro ártico, Navegantes del tiempo and Maravillas del crepúsculo.
Fernán González moved to Iceland in 2006 on an Erasmus grant to the University of Reykjavik. He completing his modern-languages degree, majoring in English, at the University of Burgos. After his Erasmus grant he stayed in Iceland for several years, obtaining a degree in Icelandic studies at the University of Iceland. While there, he studied both medieval literature (sagas and traditional storytelling) and contemporary literature, translating Sjón, Arnaldur Indridason, Halldór Laxness and Audur Jónsdóttir. Back in Spain, he has continued to train as a translator at the University of Alcalá’s master’s course in intercultural communication, interpreting and translating for public services.