1988 Thor Vilhjálmsson, Iceland: Grámosinn glóir

1988 Thor Vilhjálmsson, Island: Grámosinn glóir

About the author

Thor Vilhjálmsson was born in Edinburgh and studied literature in Reykjavik, Nottingham and at the Sorbonne in Paris. He then played a very active role in Icelandic cultural life and worked in the theatre world and at the National Library of Iceland. Thor Vilhjálmsson has also held a number of posts in Icelandic organisations for writers and artists. He has published novels, collections of short stories, translations and articles on culture. He was long involved in the cultural magazine Birtingur.

About the winning piece

Justice Undone is a crime story based on an Icelandic trial dating back to the 19th century when two half-siblings were accused of having committed incest. The novel pivots on the magistrate of the trial who has just returned from his studies in Copenhagen and is contemplating his new life in Iceland, but, of course, also the problem of guilt in the trial. The Icelandic landscape seen by the magistrate from horseback comes across poetically in Thor Vilhjálmsson’s prose style, but contemporary continental influences are also revealed in his formally skilfully written novel.

Grámosinn glóir (Justice Undone)

Published by: Svart á hvítu publishing company 

Publication year: 1986

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

In a language that unites Icelandic narrative tradition with innovative forms of expression it describes a judge’s fateful journey through a magical landscape that reflects in a nuanced way the inner struggle with basic existential questions of guilt and responsibility, poetry and reality.