About the author
Einar Már Guðmundsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. He started on his studies in comparative literature and history at the university in Reykjavik before moving to Copenhagen. He made his literary debut in 1980 with a collection of poems. Einar Már Guðmundsson’s first novel, Riddarar hringstigans, was released a few years later. He is regarded as one of the most distinguished Icelandic writers of his generation.
About the winning piece
Using dark humour, Angels of the Universe lends voice to the schizophrenic Páll, who, all his life, has been suffering from a split personality, bouts of temper, anxiety, unrest and paranoia. The scene of the novel is laid in Reykjavik, a growing town undergoing transformation. The story takes place between 1950 and 1980, a time of dissolution when old values fall apart without being replaced by new ones. Páll is looking for an explanation why his life turned out as it did – he is looking for an event or a trauma that flung him into his internal chaos. While Páll loses himself more and more in his longing for lost friends, childhood, being well, light and harmony, an idea is slowly making its way forward: leaving childhood is perhaps losing your mind?
Englar alheimsins (Angels of the Universe)
Published by: Íslenski kiljuklúbburinn
Publication year: 1995
This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say
With poetic madness, civilisation and the world is experienced through a psychiatric patient's mind. Humour emphasises the gravity. The irony is clad in the veil of naivety. The novel opens an insight into the reality which we have become accustomed to calling normal.