Snorri Hjartarson grew up in an Icelandic village. His father was a farmer and council member. Snorri Hjartarson lived for a long time in Norway, where he studied painting at the Oslo Academy of Art. His first novel published in 1934 was written in Norwegian, Høit flyver ravnen. Later, he worked as a librarian in Reykjavik. However, posterity remembers him primarily as a poet writing in Icelandic.
Hauströkkrið yfir mér is a painter’s poetry, poetry painted with a brush. Nature is rendered with a clarity in tinges and a colourfulness which can only be discerned by sensitive artist's eyes. On the surface, his pictures have a simple clarity, but the patient reader will also perceive a subtle tone, an atmosphere that speaks softly of secrets from an inaccessible mystery. Snorri Hjartarson is both innovative and a classicist, in his work readers can feel the ancient Icelandic forms of poetry, fused with modernistic, freely functioning poems.
After presentation of the nominated works and after a vote, the committee decided to award the Literature Prize 1981 to the Icelandic poet Snorri Hjartarson his for poetry collection “Hauströkkrið yfir mér “ which clearly and with restraint gives expression to a personal experience of nature that grows into world consciousness.