Artículos y Relatos Blog English

The Hang over of Covid

The Hang over of Covid

In my opinion, there is no question that the high inflation in Iceland and around the world is because of Covid. The economy is a complicated mechanism that depends on many factors and moves very slowly. Therefore, you always have to wait to see the effects, impact or consequences of some measures or restrictions. Another problem is that we have a very short memory, the media is always looking for fresh content and we tend to associate the current situation with the last event.


When the governments were forced to stop the economy (lock downs, quarantine, traveling restrictions, trade restrictions…), apart from not creating any Gross Domestic Product, they had to subside the private companies, the civil servants, buying very expensive health equipment, vaccines, tests… How did they manage to pay the bill? By making money. So, then the inflation started.

Jordi Pujolá interviewing Eliza Reid
Photo Guðný Hilmarsdóttir


Now that we’ve come back to normality, we feel the effects of the Covid, but many people are ashamed and don’t want to admit it. But the damage is done and all the countries have to fight the inflation, especially small countries with a volatile currency. I published an article in Vísir on March 2021 warning about the problem of having a high inflation, so I’m not going to insist on that again.

The goal of any Central Bank to stop the inflation is to cool down the economy, in other words, to make the Estate, the companies and the people spend less money. This is not a popular decision, but necessary, indeed. And the main (and powerful) economical tool to stop the inflation is to raise the interest rate. That means: Less and more expensive loans. On the other hand, increasing the price of the money impacts negatively on the Gross Domestic Product again, essential exports like fish, and private companies and people with mortgages. So, this means that Iceland is basically taking the risky option of depending almost only on the tourism. This can be an advantage, but only if it’s temporary. The interest raise must be progressive, the results have to be carefully analyzed before heading to another raise, otherwise instead of cooling down the economy we freeze it.


The containment of the economy needs to be shared. There are bleeding big holes on the Icelandic economy like Reykjavík city. The capital has a huge dept and it seems that the only way out is increasing taxes. But on the other hand, despite the massive construction (killing the unique charm of Reykjavík) the housing prices are extremely high and the traffic is getting worse.

To finish, I think the Central Bank shouldn’t encourage people to take loans indexed to the inflation because even though they are cheaper on the short term, the consequences on the long term are terrible because the debt always grows up. This only favors the banks.


Jordi Pujolá, writer and economist.

My novels in Bóksala Stúdenta.

Follow me on Instagram


Blog English

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview. With the support of Avis Iceland.

Pictures by Guðný Hilmarsdóttir.

También la entrevista a Yrsa en español.

This interview is part of the project La Contra Islandia that connects Icelandic and Spanish cultures.

Icelandic writer famous Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Interview on the balcony of Kjarval Vinnustofa

Icelandic Noir

Yrsa is the queen of the so-called Icelandic Noir, a successful generation of Icelandic crime fiction writers.

Don’t you know Yrsa yet?

I think writing crime novels is as difficult as performing magic tricks. Every time you lay your cards on the table (you introduce the characters) and challenge the audience (the reader), you risk having your trick caught (they unmasked the killer).

I ask Yrsa:

When you read crime novels, do you usually find out who is the killer before the end?

Not always, it is much harder to figure out who is the bad guy/lady in crime novels than in movies. There is so much more space to hide things in books and be subtle.

Yrsa won, among other crime novel awards, the Petrona (Scandinavia), Blood Drop (Iceland) and the Danish Academy Award.

Jordi Pujola writer interviews Yrsa
Yrsa is the queen of the Icelandic Noir

Woman as a main character

She has also retired the intrepid lawyer Thóra (a single mother with two children) and has started a new series with the psychiatrist Freyja and policeman Huldar. Her main characters are usually women. Talking of movies, she tells me she likes movies with a balance between men and women. I don´t like movies with 8 bank robbers and a girl for the poster.

I ask him if the transition was very hard. We had all grown fond of Thóra. She says no:

When you have been with the same character for a long time, you have to constantly make him evolve, or you change him. I went for the second option. It is difficult to keep an evolving character interesting for a long time.

Self-taught, versatile writer (children’s, crime´s and horror´s books) and civil engineer working on something very appropriate in Iceland: geothermal power plants for Verkís.

Under the volcano

Wednesday 3 March 2021.

It was the day the specialists agreed that the Reykjanes volcano was going to erupt. In the streets of Reykjavik, just 50 km away, an apparent calm reigned.

In Iceland there are two types of people: those who rush to the road to see the volcano and those who escape in the opposite direction.

Yrsa was only bothered by the earthquakes, we have been suffering thousands during these last days. They are uncomfortable, she says.

Yrsa on the balcony of club Kjarval
Yrsa always happy, always fun

Are you afraid of an imminent eruption?

No, but I´m worried for all the investment in this location.  It could cause a lot of damage on the Reykjanes Peninsula. For example: the international airport, the Blue Lagoon, the power plants…

By the way, if you like volcanoes, I recommend the novel Ashes to Dust by Yrsa.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview, Iceland Covid free

One of the evident signs that normality has returned to Iceland after the pandemic is that people trust people again. It was a pleasant surprise when Yrsa and her husband Óli greeted us (I was with my photographer) with a high-five as in the old days. Besides, it was a gesture that shows their simplicity and courtesy.

Humour and irony

At first glance you can tell that Yrsa is a cheerful person. She has a contagious laugh, but when you ask her a question, she concentrates and tries to give you the most honest possible answer.

Why is there always humour in your books?

Well, I´ve always been happy and I like funny. But it´s very difficult to not go over the top when you are writing something scary. Funny and scary are not a good couple.

Another characteristic of your novels is irony, do you think it is something associated with Icelandic culture?

Yes, but I think it comes from the UK (through sit comes, TV joke programs…) but I don´t think it comes from the old Icelandic humour because it´s really bad, there is no irony, ridiculous word play jokes, not good at all.

All about Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Yrsa talks of Icelandic jokes

What is the best thing about Iceland?

The nature, our extreme luck to have a lot of this green energy and that we are so small, closed community, you know your relatives, the friends you met when you were kids…

What is it like to be a famous writer in Iceland?

It´s Ok.

Do people recognise you on the street?

Yes, they do. They think they know you, but of course they don´t.

Authors are quite prominent in Iceland because during the Christmas book sells we are on TV, we are on interviews… the Icelandic public is much more likely to recognise an author on the street than it would be in other places.

But the Icelanders are not very impressed by famous people?

No, the reason is because we all go to the same schools; everybody here knows that being famous doesn´t make you more fantastic than you were before. Life is more normal here, no matter who you are.

Are Icelanders cold and shy?

I would think not, but I am sure that in comparison to people from Barcelona we would be cold, but we don´t realize it.

Let me tell you a story. My daughter, when she was 13, she went to the UK, to an English school, just for a month, then when she came back, we went to pick her up at the airport and she was crying and crying. We asked her what happened, what was wrong and then she said she had met Spanish kids at school and she was so sad to have to say good bye to them, she said they were so much more kind, fun and open.

Oli and Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Yrsa has been in Spain many times

Meeting in a secret club

Before the interview I asked her where she wanted to meet. He told me: at the Vinnustofa Kjarvals Club. It is a private club. There is no sign on the door. I’ll give you a code so you can get in. Wow, that adds more suspense to the interview, I thought. Like in one of Yrsa’s crime novels.

Anyway, we met at the gate and went up to the top floor. A security guard asked for identification and we went in. It is a rectangular room with a bar in the middle and two terraces with stunning views. Modern style, jazz music in the background and beautiful people.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview

Why do you still work as an engineer if you can make a living from writing?

Because it´s a job I like a lot, although I don´t work full time any more.

Writing is a lonely job and working as an engineer keeps me connected to the outside world.  I work in teams with a lot of people and gives me social interaction. For example, the chatting at the coffee machine… And it´s very nice to work on projects where the result does not depend only on one person. Consequently, I don’t think I could never give it up.

Do you sell more in Iceland or abroad?

I sell much more abroad. Book´s sells in Iceland are really not enough to make a living, but if you sell abroad it´s a whole different story (her books have been translated into 30 languages, including Spanish)

What are Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s tricks?

Writing a novel is a kind of engineering process. Do you plan everything before you start writing?

No. I know the beginning and the ending, I know who is who and why and the direction I´m going to take but I don´t plan anything else.

And do you have a set schedule for writing?

No, I write at any time of the day.

How did you learn to write?

By reading, as soon as I learn to read I have been reading. You understand what writing is about by reading.

From children’s books to horror novels

How did you start?

I started with children’s books. When my son was 9 years old I was worry he was not reading very much, so I took a look at the books that worked on children at that time and they were too didactic, like teaching them a lesson, not the kind of book I had thought he would be interested in reading, so I decided to write a child´s book for kids like him. Then I wrote 5 books for children and won the Icelandic children´s book award (Biobörn 2003), but in some point I became tired and stopped and went back to be an engineer.

Children book Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Best children´s book in Iceland

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview

Two years later I thought I wanted to continue writing, this time for grown-ups. When you write for children there are subjects you cannot discuss and the choice to write crime was very easy because it´s what I like to read. I think every author writes the book he would like to be reading.

And you’ve also written horror novels. For example, I remember you, where did you get the idea?

That came when we were renovating our house. I was so sick and tired of renovation that I used the idea for writing a novel.

Where you renovating a house on the West Fjords?

No, it was in Reykjavik (laughs). But I wanted to write a ghost story and when we went to Hesteyri I found it was the perfect location: there was no telephone, no electricity, anyone to ask for help… I think a ghost story in a city is not appropriate, you need to feel isolation, very scary, that your safety is gone.

She tells me she is pleased with the film version of the novel.

The weather in Iceland is another character in your novels.

The weather is a common denominator in all your stories, why?

To write a good novel you need credible characters, a good story line… but you also need to make the environment come alive and part of what makes atmosphere, makes the environment, particularly in Iceland, is the weather, it is a big part of everything, because it changes constantly and you never plan anything.

What is your favourite place in Iceland?

Vestamannaeyjar, we have some very good friends and we go a lot.


Because it reminds me to Hafnarfjörður, where I grew up, the way it was before, a fishing community.

Who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (early books), Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Sophie Hannah and, in Iceland, Ragnar Jónasson, Eva Bjork Aegisdóttir… So, all kinds. But I don´t read while I’m writing.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir the interview

Why not?

I´m worry that my writing might be influenced by what I´m reading.

I always remember the Icelandic National Bridge team. They said they practised before the championship by not playing and they became world champions.

And if you are writing a novel for 6 months, don’t you read anything in 6 months?

I just don’t write every day. I can take a week break and then I read something.

Icelandic literature Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
Yrsa telling me her tricks

What are your hobbies?

Basically, reading and swimming in the ocean. But not in the Icelandic cold waters, only abroad.

Do you read paper or electronic books?

Paper books, I know that electronic has many advantages but I haven’t taken the plunge yet.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir in Spain

What is your experience in Spain?

I know you were at the BCNegra Festival (2020) with Eliza Reid (read the interview), the First Lady.

The experience was fantastic. And it was the last trip I made for books and then the Covid came. I’ve been to Barcelona three times, two to this festival and one on my own. I really like it, it´s a great place.

I have seen huge changes in La Sagrada Familia building by Gaudi. The first time I went, almost 20 years ago, you went inside and if I remember correctly there was no roof, it was open, only walls. And now it´s beautiful, crazy nice.

Famous buildings Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Wikipedia)

What other parts of Spain have you been to?

Madrid, Bilbao, Granada (we really liked the Alhambra) and Torrevieja, but we went there only to visit friends, it was hot and very touristy, so we rented a car and drove away to see something.

What do you like of Spain?

The food, the weather, the vibrancy of life: that you close in the afternoon for siesta, I think it is a great think.

Do you like Spanish wine?

I do. Very much. I like Spanish and Italian wines because they offer much more than the French for your money.

Do you want to add anything?

I would have liked to learn Spanish as a third language, but there were only two options: French or German. I think that would have been very useful for me, it´s a huge language. My daughter learnt Spanish.

What kind of movies you like?

I like movies from South Korea.

And in general, I am a big fan of horror movies, i.e. the good ones not the stupid ones. But the last movie I watched and was very pleased with was Japanese movie “One cut of the dead”. It starts off being the worst movie you have ever seen and then becomes a masterpiece in surprise scriptwriting. The less one knows about it before watching, the better.

I am not a fan of romance movies or movies about someone dying of cancer or movies about bank heists.  I do not like vampire movies either. They are usually romance movies disguised as horror.

And Spanish?

I was very touched by Pan’s Labyrinth which is Spanish-Mexican. I also liked Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown by Almodóvar, as well as Volver and Invisible Guardian based on the book by Dolores Redondo. And of course, Rec and the Orphanage.

Interview outdoors Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Yrsa says the weather is another character in Iceand

About TV serials, which are your favourite?

My favourite TV series of all time is Breaking Bad. I also quite like Criminal, the Netflix series that takes place in an interview room and is set in various countries. Finally, my recent favourite is the Norwegian show Exit, about four rich investors. It makes you want to throw up a little bit and you hope that all the main four characters all die, but there is something addictive in watching the sad lives of their wives and girlfriends.

And Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones is a series that I have not seen yet. It is definitely on my to-be-watched list.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview, bibliography (Wikipedia)

Children’s fiction

  • Þar lágu Danir í því (1998)
  • Við viljum jólin í júlí (1999)
  • Barnapíubófinn, Búkolla og bókarræninginn (2000)
  • B 10 (2001)
  • Biobörn (2003)

Crime novels

Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series

  • Þriðja táknið (2005), (English translation by Bernard Scudder: Last Rituals, US:2007, UK:2008)
  • Sér grefur gröf (2006) (English translation by Bernard Scudder and Anna Yates: My Soul to Take, 2009)
  • Aska (2007) (English translation by Philip Roughton, Ashes to Dust, UK:2010)
  • Auðnin (2008) (Veins of Ice) (English translation by Philip Roughton, The Day is Dark, UK:2011)
  • Horfðu á mig (2009) (English translation by Philip Roughton, Someone To Watch Over Me, UK:2013)
  • Brakið (2011) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Silence of the Sea, UK:2014)

Freyja & Huldar (Children’s House) series

  • DNA (2014) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Legacy, UK:2017)
  • Sogið (2015) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Reckoning, UK:2018)
  • Aflausn (2016) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Absolution, UK:2019)
  • Gatið (2017) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, Gallows Rock, UK:2020)
  • Bruðan (2018) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Doll, UK:2021)
  • Thogn (2019)

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview, non-series novels

  • Ég man þig (2010) (English translation by Philip Roughton, I Remember You, UK:2012)
  • Kuldi (2012) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, The Undesired, UK:2015)
  • Lygi (2013) (English translation by Victoria Cribb, Why Did You Lie?, UK: 2016)
  • Bráðin (2020)

Yrsa Sigurdardottir interview by Jordi Pujolá.

Artículos y Relatos Blog

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

Bret toma un taxi a la salida del hotel. «Joder con la fiesta de fin de año que están preparando. Impresionante. Anuncian campanadas, uvas (¿uvas? Ah, esas costumbres extrañas que tienen otros países) y cotillón».  Pide al taxista que lo lleve a la pista de hielo al tiempo que se saca un poco de agua que le ha entrado en el oído mientras nadaba.

Se pasa una hora dando vueltas bajo las luces estroboscópicas, escuchando música de Navidad y haciéndose selfies para nutrir su cuenta de Instagram.

Al salir de la pista de hielo  (algo mareado) todavía le queda una hora por matar. «Uf, ¿por qué los españoles cenarán tan tarde?». Necesita urgentemente un cóctel. Pide al taxista que lo lleve a un sitio turístico e, indiscutiblemente lo deja en Las Ramblas. Empieza a caminar ufano desde Plaza Cataluña. Un arco de plátanos aísla el paseo de sendos carriles, subida y bajada. Se alza el cuello de la americana, se frota las manos y se deja arrastrar por la corriente humana.

Las tiendas de souvenirs, quioscos y paradas están cerrando. Le llaman la atención las baldosas de dos colores y su forma ondulante, los edificios de piedra y sus balcones, los arcos de algunos callejones, los olores diversos que salen del mercado de la Boquería, la gente elegante que ríe y fuma frente al teatro del Liceo, las estatuas humanas, los vendedores ambulantes, los turistas que (con muy poco estilo) beben cervezas gigantes en las terrazas de los bares… Este espectáculo acaba al pie de la estatua de Colón, tiene más de treinta metros de alto y apunta supuestamente a América. Experimenta tal euforia que sopesa la idea de mudarse a Barcelona en lugar de a París. «¡Al carajo con la medicina y los Ministros!».

Luego se interna en una bocacalle y entra en una coctelería con muebles y lámparas dispares, de distintas formas y colores  pero con encanto. Suena O Gato de Paul Desmond.

Se sienta en un taburete y pide al camarero una margarita. Este, que lleva un peinado muy afro, pero que de algún modo le queda bien, alza la vista del vaso en el que está mezclando menta fresca y azúcar moreno con una mano de madera y le sonríe. Parece que se lo toma con calma. Bret fuerza otra sonrisa. A continuación, saca su teléfono y envía un mensaje de texto exclusivamente con emoticonos a Débora. Uno de ellos es un corazón.

La margarita es larga y excelente, la copa es la adecuada, previamente enfriada en hielo y el borde decorado con una rodaja de lima y sal Maldon. En el momento en que unas inglesas que celebran una despedida de soltera entran, comprende que es hora de largarse.

Por el camino   lo asaltan un par de jóvenes árabes, pero de forma pacífica. Andan junto a él. Uno pregunta si le gusta el fútbol.

—¿Y el Barça?, ¿y Messi?

Él no es mucho de fútbol, le va el polo y cosas así; no obstante, va respondiendo por educación. En un momento dado, uno de ellos, con el pelo rizado muy corto y sonrisa afable (le recuerda a su amigo Omar y cuando alguien te recuerda a alguien conocido bajas un poco la guardia),  lo detiene:

—Mira, mira, te voy a enseñar un truco de Messi. —Tira una bola de papel de aluminio al suelo—. Venga, intenta quitármela.

Bret suspira y mira cómo el jovencito mueve la bola entre los pies. El otro, del mismo aspecto, también se acerca e inician un pequeño partido de fútbol. El cirujano consigue quitarle la pelota y se ríe.

—Muy bien, eres muy bueno. Te vamos a fichar para nuestro equipo. Ahora nos tenemos que ir. Hasta la próxima, amigo.

—Eh, esperad un momento, ¿cómo se llama vuestro equipo…? —Bret se palpa el bolsillo de la americana y, «¡maldición!, me han birlado la cartera. Nunca te fíes de un desconocido que te llama “amigo”».

Los árabes echan a correr. Bret los persigue. «Los voy a matar». Se meten en un callejón, pasan frente a unos mendigos que están discutiendo. El cirujano tropieza con uno y lo derriba. El tipo se lleva la mano a la boca, que sangra. Su compañero blasfema. Bret retoma la marcha, pero los ladrones han desaparecido.

Aunque tiene que ir andando (sin dinero), llega puntual (y malhumorado) al restaurante. Es el típico sitio caro y remilgado. Los hombres visten fracs y las mujeres vestidos que dejan al descubierto la espalda. Pregunta al maître por la mesa del alcalde; el tipo  lo mira de arriba abajo (su traje y camisa han pasado por tiempos mejores) y dice que todavía no ha llegado.  Lo acompaña al reservado. Se sienta en una mesa redonda con mantel granate y tres cubiertos. ¿A quién se le ocurre quedar para cenar el día de fin de año?

Al cabo de una media hora de espera y dos margaritas, telefonea al alcalde, que descuelga al instante y se disculpa por no poder acudir a la cita.

Bret espera media hora más al hacker, sin embargo, tampoco da señales de vida, conque se levanta (y se caga en todo), dice al camarero que cargue los cócteles a la cuenta del Ayuntamiento.

Al salir a la calle  siente frío y hambre. La ciudad está oscura y solitaria. Pasa por un puesto de frutas todavía abierto. Es la típica tienda sin puertas que expone la mercancía en la calle. Tras el mostrador hay un paquistaní que lleva un corte de pelo impecable. «Milagro, tiene tomates cherry». De inmediato, coge un par de paquetes (para tener provisiones) y hace ademán de entrar. El pakistaní sonríe y dice:

—Buenas noches, amigo. —Pero justo en ese momento, recuerda que le han robado la cartera. ¡Maldita sea! Da media vuelta y sale corriendo con los tomates.

—¡Al ladrón, al ladrón!¡Detengan al ladrón! —grita el tendero.

La escena resulta muy cómica. Bret lo ve salir con sandalias. «No me pillas ni de coña», piensa. Esto le hace sentirse vivo. Sin embargo, al volver la vista al callejón, choca con alguien. Los tomates ruedan por los sucios adoquines, alguno se cuela por la rejilla de la alcantarilla. «Lo que faltaba, dos policías».

El pakistaní llega resollando. Los agentes miran a Bret con curiosidad. Este se pasa la mano por la frente.

—Creo que nos tendrá que explicar lo que pasa —dice el agente más veterano alzando las cejas.

Bret intenta explicar lo sucedido, pero mezcla el español con el inglés y nadie le entiende. A su vez, el paquistaní está muy excitado y grita como si le hubieran robado la recaudación de todo un mes. El policía le hace un gesto para que se calme y dice:

—Me temo que, si este vendedor lo denuncia, no tendremos más remedio que tomarles declaración en la comisaría.

—¡Será posible! Todo por unos tomates de dos euros. ¿Y qué pasa con lo que me han robado a mí? Llevaba diez mil euros en la cartera.

—¿Diez mil euros? También lo puede denunciar.

El vendedor no se calla e implora al cielo. Los policías se miran sin inmutarse. Bret se dirige al frutero:

—Mire, voy a telefonear a mi ayudante y traerá dinero. Le pagaré los tomates y cien euros más. ¿De acuerdo?

El paquistaní, que viste una chilaba blanca, alza la mano derecha pidiendo más.

—Está bien. Doscientos.

El paquistaní sigue levantando la mano como si estuviera en un bazar.

—Pero… será usurero el tío.

El policía joven ríe y se gira para disimular.

Bret al final cierra el trato con quinientos euros. La policía se va. Alan llega en un taxi con cara de pocos amigos.

De regreso en el taxi, Alan pregunta:

—¿Se puede saber qué ha pasado?

—Uf, ya te lo explicaré mañana. Creo que me voy a tomar una copa en la fiesta del hotel. ¿Vienes?

—No, estoy ocupado. Pero no te evadas demasiado porque mañana tenemos trabajo.

—De acuerdo, boss.

Más información en mi blog sobre Islandia.

Para finalizar, información sobre las novelas de Jordi Pujolá.

Blog English

Interview Eliza Reid Iceland

Interview Eliza Reid Iceland by the Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá. With the support of Iceland Writers Retreat, RIFF and Avis Iceland.

This interview is part of a project to connect Icelandic and Spanish cultures on the blog:

Read about other participants such as: Hólmfrídur Matthiasdóttir, Hrönn Marinósdóttir, Sjón, Andri Snær, Hallgrímur Helgason, Árni Þórarinsson, Mugison, JóiPé og Króli, Benedikt Erlingsson, Mads Mikelsen, Börkur Gunnarsson, Carmen Posadas, Víctor del Árbol and many more.

Read the article in Spanish.

The First Lady of Iceland
Eliza Reid strong and passionate woman

Interview Eliza Reid Iceland

Eliza Reid was born in Ottawa (Canada) and she is the First Lady of Iceland.

After almost one hour of conversation my impression was that she is a strong, passionate and intelligent woman.

Why interviewing Eliza Reid on this blog?

I chose Eliza Reid because I admire her and, let´s say, we have some things in common: She is a writer, immigrant who moved to Iceland with her Icelandic partner and started working for magazines. She stopped the famous musician Páll Óskar in the gym for her first assignment and I stopped her in Bíó Paradís after her speech at the Feminist Cinema Festival of Reykjavik for this interview.

Iceland Eurovision
The famous singer Páll Óskar by RÚV

Reykjavik 10th March 2020

Pictures by Guðný Hilmarsdóttir.

The interview was done on a windy day (pretty normal in Iceland) at the time of the Corona virus, so we greeted each other bowing like Buddhist monks.

I moved to Iceland for love

Why did you move to Iceland (2003)?

I moved here because my boyfriend, now husband, is from Iceland. We met in UK and moved when we finished our studies. So, for love.

Eliza Reid interviewed by Jordi Pujola
Eliza Reid talking about writers to Jordi Pujolá

Talking about love, the Icelanders love the current presidential couple (Eliza Reid and Guðni Th. Jóhannesson) because of their humility, warmth and simplicity. In other words, they are very close to people. One of their sons is the same age as mine and I always see Guðni in his football team tracksuit queuing up at the cafeteria like anyone else.

Kids playing football Akureyri
Popular football tournaments in Iceland


After Eliza graduated from the University of Toronto with an international relations bachelor’s degree, she went to St Antony’s CollegeOxford University to complete an MA degree in Modern History.

I asked her what she considers the most important events in the recent history of Iceland.

She reminded me she is not an expert in Modern Icelandic History, but kindly answered anyway. I mentioned the Marshall Plan and she pointed out the strong social policies of the government and the contribution of women into the labour market.

What explains the high number of successful artists in Iceland despite its small population?

Human beings in general are a creative people and this has been facilitated in Iceland by tradition. Here there is a tremendous respect and encouragement of creative pursuits in general.

Mugison in Isafjordur Iceland
Mugison by Björgvín Hilmarsson

So first, society values the contribution that the artists make.

And second, the government support for festivals, events… and the “listamannalaun”, the salary the artists can apply, which enables people, let´s say poets, who otherwise are not going to be able to earn their living just writing and selling their poetry books.

First Lady Iceland interview 2020
Eliza Reid always tries to read in a diverse way

After her move to Iceland in 2003, Reid became a freelance writer for multiple Icelandic publications. She wrote for Reykjavík Grapevine and Iceland Review from 2005 to 2008 and became the editor of Icelandair Stopover (Icelandair’s in-flight magazine) in 2012.

Can you tell me any funny anecdote when you started writing for Icelandic magazines?

One thing I remember was the first article that I wrote in Iceland, because it was completely different than what I expected. I was looking for work and doing some freelance projects. Then I wrote to the Reykjavik Grapevine (2004, it was a very new magazine in English). I said: «Would you like me to write the story of what is like to be an immigrant here looking for a job?». They wrote back and said: «No, we really don´t need a story like that, but would you like to write a story about the Eurovision Song Contest?».

I was shocked, however I accepted because I needed the work.  At the time I was going to the same gym as Páll Óskar, the singer, who is a huge Eurovision person, so I just stopped him in the gym and asked him for a Q&A interview and he said «of course». I added to it a general story on Eurovision and the editors really liked it and publish it.

First Lady in an interview in Reykjavik
Eliza is very concern of genre equality

When you moved to Iceland, was there something that shocked you a lot?

Yes, definitely to adapt to the darkness in winter. I deal better with it now, but never get used to it (laughs). It´s a big change compared to Ottawa, where I grew up, which has almost the same latitude as Nice in France. And even though it´s cold in Ottawa in winter, it´s also very bright.

Are you still singing in the Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir?

I sang in choirs when I was at high school and university. Then, when I moved to Iceland and I was new in the country, I thought it would be a good way to keep practising and to meet people and learn the language at the same time. It is a good choir and I had a great time, but I stopped a quite few years ago when I had children.

Church Iceland Reykjavik
The impressive Hallgrímskirkja church

Eliza Reid is a very active person. She is patron of several organizations in Iceland as the United Nations Association Iceland, Red Cross, SOS Children’s Villages Iceland, Alzheimer’s Society…

By the way, I recommend her article in The New York Times called “I’m a First Lady, and It’s an Incredibly Weird Job”. While she appreciates the diversity of her position and the opportunity to spur change that comes with it, she points out that she often encounters situations in which she feels reduced to being her husband’s handbag.

Talking about literature

Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction books?

All kind of books I would say. I kind of go through phases. I have a full bookcase upstairs of books I haven’t read yet, which never empties because I am always filling it with new selections, and I choose according to what I feel like at the moment.

The best place to talk of books in Iceland
Eliza Reid listening patiently to the questions

On one hand I read many biographies, memoirs and treatises on current affairs, politics and history. On the other hand, I also like crime fiction books. I can devour them if I have to stay home because I have a cold or something.

Which authors of crime novels do you read?

Icelandic crime authors I have read include Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Arnaldur Indriðason, Ragnar Jónasson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir… and other novels that had been written by foreigners that take place in Iceland. For instance, Burial Rites by the Australian author Hannah Kent. It´s a kind of historical fiction, not crime novel, but I recommend it.

I try to read in a diverse way because I think it’s a good way of opening our minds to other points of view, so I combine reading books written in different languages (in English translation), genres, ethnicities, ages…

Rainbow floor Reykjavik city
Reykjavik: equality rights and tolerance

You love travelling, and sometimes you do solo trips. Why?

Basically, for two reasons:

First, because you are your own boss. You don´t have to compromise to other people. For example, if there is a country you really want to visit, you just go and do it. You don´t rely on only going if you find someone to go with.

Second, it gives you great access to interact with the locals. People think that solo travellers don’t want to talk to anyone, but it’s a kind of the opposite. I am an extrovert and I love meeting new people, also other people who are travelling by themselves. This type of travel forces you to step out of your comfort zone because you need to ask people for directions, help or recommendations.

I know you went to the Festival Barcelona Negra 2020 (crime novel festival). How was it?

It was very fun, but I was not there very long. So, I didn´t have time to be a tourist.

What was your role over there?

I was in a panel with Yrsa Sigurdardóttir and we were talking about the connection of Iceland, literature and crime fiction. I was interviewed by El Mundo there on the weekend edition.

Barcelona crime novels Iceland
Barcelona Negra Crime novel Festival

Was it your first time in Barcelona?

No, actually it was my second time in Barcelona and my second time in Spain. I went to Barcelona for my first time in 2000 for a long weekend. I hope to have more time to visit other cities in the future.

What did you like there?

Well, the food was wonderful (Eliza is reputed to be a great cook), we had those typical very long meals. And the weather, in the beginning of February, was incredibly warm, I walked around a lot. And I learnt about Sant Jordi, the biggest literature festival in Catalonia hold on every 23th April, when boys and girls exchange books and roses. I find it very interesting.

Iceland Writers Retreat

She co-founded the Iceland Writers Retreat in 2014 with Erica Jacobs Green, a famous literature event placed in Reykjavik.

Iceland Writers Retreat sponsor
Welcome to Iceland Writers Retreat

Who can attend the IWR?

According to the website:

«Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no application process. We think you’ll get the most out of it if you have an interest in developing your skills as a writer, but there is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish. Whether you’re aspiring, published, or simply enjoy writing as a hobby, we think you’ll find inspiration and have something to learn from all of our small-group workshops. We are focusing on books — rather than magazines, guidebooks, or online writing — in both fiction and non-fiction. So, for example, there are no poetry or screenwriting workshops but writers who focus on those genres are still welcome. Likewise, if you write in a language other than English that’s fine too, but the language of instruction is English».

Note: The edition of IWR 2020 might be cancel or postponed due to Corona Virus situation.

My question to Eliza was if a Spanish writer who writes in Spanish still can enjoy the workshops in English.

Yes, if his English level is good enough to understand what the instructor is saying.

Jordi Pujolá interviewing Eliza Reid
Can a Spanish writer attend IWR?

What if I write an exercise in Spanish and need the correction from a teacher who don´t speak Spanish?

The workshops are very varied and well detailed. Some require you to do some exercises from a given prompt, but some others are basically lectures and discussions. Each participant chooses five (two-hour small group writing workshops) that match better his expectations and make him feel comfortable. It also depends a bit on the confidence on writing of the person. In addition, we always try to bring a diversity to our faculty. Sometimes we have instructors who write in other languages. For example, last year we had the Chilean writer Lina Meruane who writes in Spanish. And last but not the least, the whole event is not only about the workshops, it´s learning about Iceland literature heritage, tours to cultural places, readings by local authors and the atmosphere that brings having so many people who love literature at the same time.

Event writers in Iceland
The atmosphere of the event. Picture IWR

And this year we have a new event running at the same time called Iceland Readers Retreat. Can you explain it a bit?

It´s for people who are not necessarily writers but they are avid readers and love literature. Rather than going to five workshops, they go to two but they have two literary-themed tours of the countryside and some other activities such as a talk by a visitor author (Adam Gopnik this year), a panel with four Icelander renowned authors in different genres including Lilja Sigurdardóttir, a visit to the National Museum to see the manuscripts of the Sagas, etc. In short, it´s a way of doing tourism while learning about the rich literary heritage of Iceland.

Famous panorama Reykjavik
Reykjavik: cultural and colourful city

What well known authors have been leading workshops during these 6 years of IWR?

Lina Meruane, Barbara Kingsolver, Linn Ullmann, Geraldine Brooks and the Icelanders: Gerður Kristný, Vilborg Davíðsdóttir, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Hallgrímur Helgason, Andri Snær Magnason, Sjón… We try to mix all kinds of people from different places.

Class for writers IWR Reykjavik
Workshop in Iceland Writers Retreat bu

Reid is known as a vocal proponent and advocate for women’s rights, gender parity and sustainable tourism, for that reason I dared to ask her if overtourism is going to damage the unspoiled nature of Iceland.

Waterfall rainbow Iceland
IWR combines literature and tourism in Iceland

The authorities and many organizations, as Promote Iceland and Safe Travel, are aware of the problem and taking measures for a more sustainable and responsible tourism: Getting People to travel the country all year around, not just focusing on the summer months; getting people to travel to different regions of the country, etc.

And warning the tourists to not trekking on the moss, not taking things with them, not travelling when the weather is bad, endangering themselves or others… so educate people on the benefit of all.

Writers after meeting in Reykjavik
The charming of the First Lady of Iceland

Interview Eliza Reid Iceland by Jordi Pujolá.

Blog English

Interview Jordi Borràs

Interview Jordi Borràs by Jordi Pujolà, Catalan writer in Iceland. With the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides. 15% discount on the excursions code ESCRITOR2019

And don´t miss:

Interview Jordi Borràs

The original interview was entirely in Catalan.

14th October 2019: Nine Catalan politicians have given prison sentences from 13 to 9 years. The situation in Catalonia is very serious. Many citizens are fighting the police on the streets of Barcelona and other cities of Catalonia. Please help.

Today, July 18, 2019, about a year ago, a policeman dressed as a civilian attacked the Catalan photojournalist Jordi Borrás on the street. He will explain it here

Read the full article in Spanish

He was leaving L’Ateneu Barcelonés, ​​the same place where we are this morning of heat, on the terrace, near the pond, and surrounded by birds that put the soundtrack to this interview

Jordi Borràs enters the garden discreetly, with his jeans, his striped shirt and sits at my table. He is a guy who could go unnoticed in any square in Gracia, his neighbourhood

His last photo book Dies que duraràn anys (Days that will last years) Ed. Ara Llibres, about the Catalan referendum to become independent from Spain and brutally repressed by the police, is a best seller

Interview Jordi Borràs. Biography

First of all, Jordi Borràs (Barcelona 1981) is an independent photojournalist specialized in cases related to fascist groups and Spanish nationalism. A dangerous profession in the currently times in Catalonia

Second, Jordi Borràs began studying illustration at the prestigious Massana School, but he soon discovered photography was his thing

Then he got introduced  in the world of independent journalism linked to social movements in Barcelona and started working on the weekly Directa

In 2009 he began to make a living with his stunning photos

«First I worked who I could with and now I work who I want with. I usually collaborate with independent digital media»

Still some people give more importance to the newspapers rather than the digital media

«After the crisis, the paradigm changes, digital media takes advantage over classic newspapers

Who today he gives more value to a paper media rather than another digital is that he has not understood how the market works. In fact, the paper has remained obsolete

However, I still love books (my father is a publisher) and printed pictures»

He also collaborates with print media such as the Swedish magazine Expo and the Basque magazine Argia

Do the traditional newspapers distort the news according to their interests?

«I particularly feel more comfortable with the press that does not depend on large lobbies (which of course respond to suspicious economic interests)

In addition, the deal with independent media is more direct and humane »

Regarding that, something similar the famous photographer Kim Manresa told me

It is suspected that the Government of Spain was in contact with the terrorists before they committed the attack in Barcelona

Jordi´s eyes take a special bright

«The research raises many questions about what happened on August 17, 2017»

What happened in Las Ramblas?

«The newspaper Publico is recently revealing very important information regarding the terrorist attack. The brain of the attack, the imam of Ripoll, was a informer of the CNI (Spanish secret service) for many years

Namely, the terrorist phones were intervened for at least 5 days before the attack. To make matters worse, the CNI  helped Abdelbaki es Satty to be the imam of the village Ripoll and avoided his extradition (he had been imprisoned for drug dealing) on ​​condition that he collaborated with themInterview Jordi Borràs

All in all, it is soon to draw conclusions; but at least it is a case of huge negligence because there are internal CNI documents that prove it. So information has been hidden from the citizens and the government does not know how to answer these questions »

The investigation is ongoing

A police dressed as a civilian hit him on the street in daylight

«A person I didn´t know shouted at me on the street: Viva España! Even though I didn´t pay attention to it, he followed me, approached me and repeated Viva España! and viva Franco!

Then he hit me, that guy knew how to hit well. When he had me on the floor, I instinctively asked for the police. Then he replied: I am a policeman!

Interview Jordi Borràs

Fortunately, there were some neighbors from the area who saw everything. Thanks to their testimony, I am not now in jail because he later had the nerve to report me as if I had attacked him »

Interview Jordi Borràs. Why do he hit you?

«I guess because he recognized me as a researcher of the Spanish extreme right»

What politic parties are you investigating?

«Many like VOX that has come out of marginalization, but the spectrum of my research is much broader»

Do you think it makes any difference a Spanish government from PP (right wing) or PSOE (left wing) for Catalonia?

«I think there will be no change. The PSOE (Pedro Sánchez) would do the same as PP (Mariano Rajoy) if necessary»

Interview Jordi Borràs. Why?

«For example, in the 80s the socialist party was responsible for the government’s dirty war against ETA, with the GAL formed by Italian, French and Algerian policemen and far-right mercenaries

In fact, the PSOE and PSC (Catalan branch) have been demonstrating for the unity of Spain with VOX, National Democracy, La Falange Española… on the streets of Barcelona in autumn 2017

In conclusion, both parties have in common to guarantee the unity of Spain above all »

Why the Catalan parties don´t agree on a common project?

«To begin with, it is a complicated matter. Imagine Catalonia and Spain are fighting a boxing match

The first round, the 1st. October, the referendum was won. Despite it caused a national trauma because the police hit the people to prevent them from voting

The second round, the general strike of 3th. October was also won (very important) and then later there were a series of technical chaos until the only way out, after seeing that the Spanish government would not negotiate, was the unilateral declaration of independence of the 27th. October 2017

In other words, the world need to know that Catalan society is suffering from severe repression

Nevertheless, independence in Catalonia is a quite new phenomenon that have begun increasing exponentially since 2012. Which means that it is also immature and has taken by surprise the independence parties, which have also their own interests (the CUP, ERC, Junts Per Catalunya (Puigdemont)…)

Thus, during the fall of 2017 shared interests could be agreed, but today there is no horizon as the one on the day of the referendum, so they are a bit lost …

However, I am not worried, it´s just a matter of time»

Interview Jordi Borràs. Is not an agreement to Spain the key of the problem?

«I don’t think the government wants to give anything until it has no other choice
The Spanish government won´t offer a referendum as the much more intelligent British one offered the Scottish and won it
In the Spanish case, the history and the old imperialist tradition of the State shows that Spain does not negotiate or give up until everything is lost
In the case of Cuba, autonomy was offered when independence was already a fact (1898). Spain prefers to step on and annihilate rather than negotiate, therefore, the dream of an agreed referendum is less likely than unilateral independence
Interview Jordi Borràs
Desmontando sociedad civil catalana
What is evident is that there is a correlation of forces between a  State (Spanish) that has an army, police, judicial power, executive power, etc. and a nation as Catalonia that has its powers subject to the power of that State. As a consequence, if Catalonia plans to become unilaterally independent, the Estate´s court sweeps it from the face of the earth, what is what is happening now »

How can you defeat a State like that?

«Trusting the power of the people and making this inability of the Spanish government to negotiate turn against them

In short, independence in Catalonia has grown up due to the refusal of the Spanish State to negotiate and understand that there are people who want to live in their own way the fact of being Catalan

Much of this independence revolution begins when a sentence of the Spanish Constitutional Court repeals a reform of the Statute of Catalan Autonomy. There were a series of laws proposed and voted in the referendum of Catalonia in a legal and constitutional way that the same Spanish Constitutional Court refused

To summarize, the Spanish State have considered the Catalans second-class citizens for many centuries and now we are tired

Spanish imperialism has been losing territories for 400 years, which shows us that the empires are cyclical and the State is the victim of its inability to accept different ways of thinking»

How will this end?

«I have no doubt that it will end with the independence of Catalonia»

Interview Jordi Borràs. When?

Jordi strokes his beard and the earring he wears on his left ear

«Nobody knows. The boxing match continues and will  last as long as it has to last»

Many years ago the only big party that supported officially the independence was ERC and they were seen like weirdoes. Don’t you think that many parties and politicians have now signed up for the independence because it gives votes?

«Well, I am pro-independence since I was a child, but now there is a catharsis in the independence movement

The important thing is that there has been a change in the Catalan society that will be difficult to reverse, because the bulk of current independence is formed by people who a few years ago were not supporting the independence and believed that a deal with Spain, a reform of the State, was possible; but now these are the most pro- independence  you can find because they know that what they had been promised is a sham

On the other hand, at this point in the movie, being independent is not easy or cheap

The State has already charged a thousand people

Consequently, if you are pro- independence you are suspected of crime and aware of the risks involved

Imagine, you can go to jail just for the way you think»

Interview Jordi Borràs. Political prisoners in Catalonia

«For example, Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart who are 2 social pro-independence (non-political) leaders have been in jail for 2 years. Neutral and international observers (UN) have repeatedly asked for their release because of his status of political prisoners. This obstinacy of the State is what causes that there are more and more pro-independence people »

Iceland is worried for Catalunya

«Liking is reciprocal (shows a frank smile). Iceland generates interest, we even have a very good radio program called Islandia

Iceland  has been part of our cuisine for many years: the cod of Iceland!

As Iceland achieved total sovereignty over Denmark recently (1944),  they can understand our situation very well »

Read the interview to Sjón supporting Catalonia

Why do the Catalans want the independence?

«The Catalans all we want is to be free, sovereign and governed by ourselves. We do not want to be more than others, but not less »

Interview Jordi Borràs. How are the Catalans?

«Catalonia is an open, multicultural and tolerant country. Due to our privileged geographical situation in the Mediterranean, it has always been a place of trading; countless cultures have lived together in peace and have enriched each other

For that reason, ours is not a movement focus on seclusion and intolerance as the Spanish that tries to block other cultures among its kingdom

In conclusion, the only condition of being Catalan in Catalonia is wanting to be that. And you can be Icelandic and lead a program on TV3 (Television of Catalonia). For example, Halldór Már. Actually we consider him as a Catalan

Another example is the biggest demonstration in favor of the reception of refugees in Europe was in Barcelona

To summarize, Catalan is an open and respectful society with other cultures»

How do you manage to take so good pictures in so situations of pressure and violence?

Jordi Borràs manages  to convey to the reader the terror of police charges in Catalonia with his pictures

«The key is to be there, stay informed of the political news and to know when, where and who calls the demonstrations to be able to predict whether it will be a quiet or violent one with the police or opposing ideology groups, etc.

In short, experience helps you to sense the character of the demonstration

As the photographer Kappa used to say: if a photo didn’t work out, it’s because you weren´t close enough

In addition, my favorite objective is a 35mm that is an angle that forces you to be within the action

Therefore, if there is a police charge, it forces you to be on the line between demonstrators and the police. Of course, you might be hit now and then: occupational hazards

Books by Jordi Borràs

  • Warcelona: Una història de violència
  • Plus Ultra: Una crònica gràfica de l´espanyolisme a Catalunya
  • Desmuntant Societat Civil Catalana
  • La cara B: Una altra mirada al procés
  • Dies que duraràn anys

Interview Jordi Borràs by the Catalan writer in Reykjavik

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Blog English

Interview Mugison

Interview Mugison by Jordi Pujolà, Spanish writer in Iceland. With the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides. 15% discount on the excursions code ESCRITOR2019

The famous musician Mugison put Isafjörður in the map when he (with the collaboration of the whole city) started up the concerts Aldrei for ég Suður

Having the concerts in one of the most inhospitable area of Iceland was a crazy schizophrenic idea, but it worked out. It´s like writing a book that no one wants to read and ends up being a best seller

Pictures by Björgvin Hilmarsson

And don´t miss:

La Contra Islandia is the section of interviews that try to connect the Spanish and Icelandic cultures of the blog escritorislandia

Read the full article in Spanish

Retrato de Mugison en Isafjordur 2019
Mugison es un personaje de Laxness foto B.Hilmarsson

Interview Mugison

On Sunday, April 26, 2019, the streets of Isafjorður were deserted. The last concert of the Aldrei for ég Suður festival finished late and those who had not gone back to Reykjavik were resting

It was my first time in the capital of the West Fjords, I was very excited for the trip and the concerts as well, but I wanted to take the time and interview the talented Mugison, the musician who lives here and was the founder of this festival in 2004

The concerts are free and either the artists or the organizers don´t charge anything for the work. He still runs the festival among other people

It took us for a while to meet him because he said only Topdollar in the e-mail. We asked the few people we met for the place and nobody had heard of it.  Eventually it turned out that Topdollar was just an expression that he uses as: Rock & Roll. Mugison thought he had given us the address before, but it was a miscalculation

Mugison invited us to have coffee in his camper

We met him in one of the few bars that were open; specifically, a Thai restaurant. Then he offer us to have coffee in his camper, the one he uses when he goes on tour. By the way, it’s a nice Mercedes Sprinter that has a table, kitchen, bed… inside

A nice detail is he made the coffee in the traditional way, with the strainer, hot water and paper filter

El cantante preparando café en su caravana
Entrevista Mugison café forma tradicional foto B. Hilmarsson

Biography of Mugison

Mugison was born in Reykjavik, but his father, who was a sailor, took him to the Western Fjords and then to Cabo Verde when he was one year old. As a result, he didn´t go to school until he was 9 years old. Though he started late, he graduated in Sound Engineering BA in London

However, when he finished, he was broke and his father offered him gently accommodation and a plane ticket to Ísafjörður. Here he met Runa, his current wife, who also participated in the interview, had two children and no longer moved from the area

A traditional Icelander man

Mugison, with his beard, hat, wool sweater (lopapeysa), cheked shirt … is the prototype of the typical Icelander who has always stayed in the countryside and never wanted to live in Reykjavik. The translation of the name of the music festival is an eloquent: I never went to Reykjavik (South)

Mugison y Jordi Pujolá en Isafjordur
Entrevista Mugison nos invita a café en su caravana @retro_outdoors

By the way, Mugison is an unclassifiable artist, both because of his chameleon-like appearance and the different styles of music he makes (it goes from ballads to pop and electronic) that he defines himself as schizophrenic

«In these 17 years, I have always liked to experiment , innovate, mix … There are people who do not like my slow songs, Julio Iglesias type (laughs), but they like my rock and roll, and vice versa »

Interview Mugison: I make music for myself

«I must admit that I am lucky enough to make a living playing and composing the music that I like. I do it for myself, to satisfy my appetite, my curiosity, entertaining … if at the same time people like it, well, even better, I am grateful, but it is not the first aim »

Árnor Dan (Agent Fresco) said the same on his interview

Mugison interview. Are you a wolf?

One of his most successful songs is I am a wolf

Are you a wolf?

«Of course, I’m a wolf,» he says without hesitating. «This song refers to a wounded beast, completely exhausted, a little irritated and scared, looking for a way to recovering his energy and move on»

How did you get the idea of starting a music festival up in Ísafjörður?

«In 2004 I played at the prestigious ICA in London. There were huge differences between the treatment famous bands received and the rest. I remember that my father came to see me from Iceland. After my showwe were drinking our beer and bitching with self pity about the festival. We felt sorry for not having a back stage, support or even beer. It was so unfair! Consequently, we wrote down a manifesto, half as a joke half seriously, of what the perfect music festival should be: equal rights for all, same amount of beer, same support, space on the poster, etc. »

«When we returned to Iceland, we stopped over in Reykjavik. We met Ragnar Kjartasson in a bar (of the Trabant band), he is the greatest contemporary artist in Iceland. There were also many well-known musicians there (Gus Gus, Johan Johansson, etc.). We told Ragnar what happened in London and he read carefully the memorandum. He immediately loved the idea and said: Let´s do it in the most horrible place! In some place no one wants really to go»

«Then Ragnar turned around and asked the guys of Sigur Rós, who were at the next table, if they wanted to play in the Western Fjords. I´ ve never seen anybody saying no to Ragnar. So they accepted and played a country version of their music in country outfits»

And indeed, Ísafjörður can be the most horrible place in the world. Bad weather, snow, cancelled flights, closed roads … However, it was very funny. Unlike other festivals, we were not looking for money or attendance of  public

Interview to Mugison, expert in free concerts

Mugison gave also a free concert in Reykjavik. The auditorium of Harpa was full of families who enjoyed his music and never forgot it

What kind of music does the Festival in Isafjörður host?

«To summarise: Schizophrenic like mine (laughs). We always invite different style bands: rock, pop, electronic, acoustic, rap, heavy metal… all in the same evening, so the audience who comes to see a certain group is exposed to another type of music that they thought they didn´t like, but when they discover it, they start liking it a bit

Mugison entrevista con Jordi Pujolá escritor
Mugison entrevista en la caravana tras conciertos B.Hilmarsson

Mugison Interview. How was the result of the first concert?

«In conclusion, it was a wonderful day. We had such a good time that we wanted to repeat it and we have had 16 editions since then. The poster was a hodgepodge of celebrities and local artists (troubadours, accordionists, wonderful anonymous people …). And the whole city got unexpectedly involved in the organization: housing the musicians, cooking, driving … My father got the keys of the warehouse of a company that had gone bankrupted, someone brought  a sound equipment from Suðureiri

Which bands have played on the festival?

«Apart from the international ones, almost all the Icelandic bands. The musicians in Iceland are a great family

Sigur Rós, FM Belfast, MUM, Emiliana Torrini, Agent Fresco, HAM, Kaleo, Bubbi Morthens, Hatari, Vök, Emmsé Gauti, Megas…»

Jordi Pujolá y Mugison Aldrei for eg sudur
Mugison entrevista en conciertos Isafjordur foto Björgvin Hilmarsson

Where does the name come from?

«Oh, it comes from afar, from the Halldór Laxness´times (Literature Nobel Prize), when the proper Icelandic men only lived in the countryside, taking care of their farms, chickens, sheep … However, there is a song by Bubbi Morthens (the Jesus Christ Superstar of the Icelandic music) that is titled Adrei for ég Súður

It is about the negative consequences of the fishing quotas that were sold from the villages to the rich people in Reykjavik. As a result there was nothing to do at the fishing villages and people had to emigrate to the capital. So the song is a tribute to the few who resisted tenaciously, working against the elements, such as Bjartur Summerhouses (Laxnes´main character in Independent People). The result is a romantic and moving song. Here in Iceland it’s almost a hymn »

Are job opportunities at the West fiords?

«The situation has improved again. Yes,  to find work in services or the fish industry is easy. Look, here are people from 14 different nationalities and we all work and we get along great »

Do you have tourists?

«There is little tourism here, we are far away from the Ring Road, but it is not what we are looking for either. Our bay is not for sale»

Advantages of living in the countryside

En un restaurante de pescado de Isafjordur Islandia
Fotógrafo (camiseta de Megas) y escritor en Isafjordur

«If you do any kind of creative work, this is the perfect place to find the inspiration

Currently, with the Internet, you can work from anywhere. And if you want to improve your quality of life, be less slave to money and to find simpler life, coming to the countryside is definitely the best option. I do not understand why more people do not come here (he says with some sadness)»

What do you know of Spain?

«I have been to Sonar Barcelona (incredible), in San Sebastian (I loved the food and the sea breeze) and in Madrid. In this last city they told me to go see the only place in the world dedicated to the devil, but I was a little disappointed because the statue was very small»

Interview Mugison by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland

Blog English

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview by the Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides. 15 % discount day tours code ESCRITOR2019

Check out all you can do in Iceland, winter and summer

This article is part of my project La Contra Islandia that connects Icelandic and Spanish cultures

Read the full article in Spanish

Characteristics of Icelanders by Kristinn R Ólafsson

Tell me some characteristics of the Icelanders

«First, we are not punctual or foresighted

Second, we do not reply to e-mails or letters

Third, we always keep the resource of the Þetta reddast (the problem will be fixed by itself)

Fourth, here we are all cousins, so the plug-in works even better than in Spain»

And don´t miss:

Icelanders and Spaniards like dirty jokes and talking badly of others

First of all, Kristinn R Ólafsson lived in Spain for more than 30 years

This native of the Vestman Islands or Vestamannaeyjar Islands who cites Cervantes accurately and has translated the Literature Nobel Prize Camilo José Cela considers himself as an hybrid of both cultures

Of course, here in Iceland everyone identifies him as the man who explained  all the important things that happened in Spain on the radio

Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista, presentación de El barman de Reykjavik en Islandia
Presentacion Reykjavik novela con Kristinn R. Ólafsson

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview

«The Icelanders are known as the Latinos of the North, that’s why we have many things in common with the Spaniards. For example, the sense of humour. We love dirty jokes and speak badly of others», (laughs)

Among other languages, he speaks a very good Spanish with gracefulness and a bunch of colloquial expressions

«When I arrived in Barcelona in 1974 to study Spanish at the University, I could only say yes, no and counting to five. Even though I went to bars more than at class, I learned quickly. I never asked for student loans, every summer I went back to Iceland to work»

Another feature of Kristinn is he sings while speaking like the old troubadours and not only when he is recording Egil Skalla-Grimsson´s Saga in Borgarnes museum, also here talking to me in Kaffi Stofan

Escritor islandés que vivió muchos años en España
Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista, el Hemingway islandés, foto RUV

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview in Kaffi Stofan

So we met in the cosy Kaffi Stofan, a house of wood and old Danish style. We sat on rickety sofas on the second floor overlooking the centre of Reykjavik

«In Barcelona I met a girl from Madrid and at the end of 1977 I moved to Madrid. We got married and I became a madrileño, totally integrated, but always connected to Iceland. To be two things at once is a good mix. I came back to Reykjavik in 2012″

Changing the subject, Kristinn and I have more things in common. He loves biking all the year round (even though he admits he is not biking as he used to since he moved to Kopavogur) and advised me to put studded tires on my bike

«You will go more safely with them than by foot.»

Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista en la cafetería Stofan en el centro de Reykjavik
Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista en la cafetería Stofan de Reykjavik

¿What does Kristinn R Ólafsson do to make a life?

Kristinn is a writer, translator (more than 20 works), English teacher, journalist, travel guide, teacher …, but self-taught in everything
«I am a freelancer of life and I have a magnet for jobs connected to Spain and Iceland. Sometimes I am in a foreign country for the first time and other tourists stop me to ask me for a street»
Kristinn is an explorer, an adventurer, the intrepid … Also, because of his beard and mane, he reminds me a bit of Hemingway

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview

How do you start as a journalist in Madrid?

«Well, for very Icelandic things: a friend of mine knew the famous sports journalist Hemmi Gunn and, after the robbery to the Central Bank in Barcelona in 1981, RUV (Icelandic radio and television) called me to do a report of the Spanish press. Since then I started reporting all the important issues happening in Spain: the poisoning by rapeseed oil, the 1982 World Cup …

Writers in Kaffi Stofan Reykjavik
Kristinn R Ólafsson by Jordi Pujola

How are the Spaniards?

I know some Icelanders don´t like finding closed shops in the middle of the day because the siesta. However, I think la siesta is healthy and necessary if it´s too warm outside (as Camilo Jose Cela said: you do siesta with pyjamas and potty

On the other hand, I think Spain should adjust the timetable in order of making family life easier

The best way to meet an Icelandic is to get drunk with him

How are the Icelanders?

«In general, Icelanders are reserved, but also open and affable once the shell is broken. The best way to meet an Icelandic is to get drunk with him or her (laugh), although it is a very expensive way if done in a bar, because alcohol here is very expensive

Maybe the Icelandic label lacks something of that finesse that we could call urbanity. Cervantes wrote in his novel Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigimunda – a story on the northern islands, including Islanda, as he called it – that those islands had people, rustic and half barbarian, of little civility and hard and insolent hearts . And that lack of urbanity, perhaps, is still true here in Iceland. It is not that we are brutes, but the same language lacks of some mechanisms of urbanity … Those subtleties and social attitudes that are acquired in cities older than Reykjavik, if we can call Reykjavik a city»

When I returned to Iceland, there were behaviours that shocked me deeply

«For instance, in the elevator of my building nobody said anything. I couldn´t stand that tedious silence and I started saying hello or talking about the weather as in Spain and it worked out!

Today, it still happens to me that when I leave a store, I do not know exactly what to say. Then I say thank you or goodbye, but in Iceland the common thing is to French leave!» (laughs)

Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista. Un escritor islandés y otro español en un café de Islandia
Kristinn R Ólafsson entrevista explica cómo son los islandeses

«Another example is something that happened to me a few years ago. I came in at a book store here in Reykjavik, and I held courteously the door for a man who was entering as well, but he didn´t say thank you nor even looked at me so I raised my fist with indignation and shouted: You say thank you! He looked at me like I was crazy» (more laughter)

What are you doing now?

«I clandestinely bought a book  in Cuba (Trilogía sucia de la Habana by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez). I liked it so much that I decided to translate it into Icelandic on my own, because I thought it described very well the hard times in the 90s after the fall of the Soviet Union

It was very difficult to find a publisher (Sæmundur) because Iceland doesn´t have Dirty Realism background and the novel goes against the stream that is considered politically correct, with that accent in the machismo very characteristic of the Caribbean -precisely the author told me in Havana last November that he highlighted the Caribbean machismo to denounce it-. In addition, the work is full of very physical and smelly sexuality»

Here we only talk about fucking!

«By the way, am Icelandic woman told me: «Hey, I’ve been reading 100 pages and here you only talk about fucking» (laughs)

All in all, the book is having a good reception and the Morgunblaðið newspaper has scored it with four stars out of fiveLibro de un islandés sobre las Sagas

Now I am translating into Spanish, in collaboration with my daughter Alda Ólafsson Álvarez, a black novel called Snow Blindness by Ragnar Jónasson that is having great success in several countries. Seix Barral intends to publish it in Spain in the autumn, and will be the first in a series by the same author»


What Icelandic authors do you like?

  • Icelanders: some books by Thór Vilhjálmsson such as Grámosinn glóir or Fljótt fljótt sagði fuglinn, a novel that I remember as full of that Mediterranean light that attracted me so much. Also several works by Halldór Laxness and some novels by Arnaldur Indridason. I also like Hallgrímur Helgason, Auður Jónsdóttir and my friend Árni Þórarinsson whom I had the honour and pleasure of translating into Spanish a few years ago, that is to say his black novel Dauði trúðsins
Entrevista escritor Arni Thorarinsson libro El domador de insectos en español
El maestro Arni Thorarinsson, El domador de insectos

What Spanish authors do you like?

  • In Spanish: those that I have translated La familia de Pascual Duarte and La colmena by Camilo José Cela. Also La tabla de flandes and El club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Also, I like some works by Antonio Muñoz Molina, Eduardo Mendoza, Rosa Montero, Javier Marias … As well as, for example, the Argentine Tomás Eloy Martínez, without forgetting the «friend of Iceland» Jorge Luis Borges … And, of course, Cervantes, because I still love El Quijote, from which I stole some phrases or words when I translated into Spanish my little novel Fjölmóðs saga föðurbetrungs that came out in RBA with the title The saga of Fiólmod the Intrepid, originally written in a sort of ancient Icelandic and therefore I had to look for something similar in Spanish

Kristinn R Ólafsson interview is another article by the Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá

Blog English

Börkur Gunnarsson interview

Börkur Gunnarsson interview by the Spanish Catalan writer Jordi Pujolá, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and RIFF Reykjavik International Film Festival

Börkur Gunnarsson is a film director and writer born in Iceland in 1970

We met in Reykjavik, we had noddles at Hlemmur and had a good time

This article is part of my project La Contra Islandia that puts Icelandic and Spanish cultures in contact

Read the full article in Spanish

Don´t miss:

Iceland is a country where having contacts is almost the most important thing

He is a vocational writer, but when he was 23 years old, the TV paid for a short story written by him 20 fold more money than the most reputed magazine in Iceland

Writers in Reykjavik
Börkur Gunnarsson interview to the journalist and script writer

I would direct everyday, but to film movies you need a lot of money

According to the money thinking he started writing TV and cinema scripts, then he found some directors who didn´t understand the aim of his texts. So he decided to become a director:

«At that time it was extremely important for me to take part in this life and say my opinion»

What do you prefer writing or directing?

«Well, I would direct everyday, but to film and direct movies you need a lot of money and contacts. On the other hand, I love writing, you are more free and you just need a paper and a pen, it´s something you can do alone even you are poor»

Börkur Gunnarsson moved to Czech Republic for love

In Prague I used to live like a millionaire

He had his golden age there :

Börkur Gunnarsson was getting an Icelandic salary working as a journalist and living like a millionaire in a less expensive country

He wrote a book, registered in the film school of Prague and made all the contacts there (and in Germany where he was an exchanged student of Philosophy)

The problem was when he came back to Iceland, he had lost all the contacts: «Iceland is a country where having contacts matters almost everything»

«Not filming the scripts you write because not getting the funds is very frustrating. In the meantime, someone else takes the idea (don´t steal it) and makes the movie»

As a consequence, Börkur Gunnarsson came back to the journalism in Iceland

Börkur Gunnarsson interview and Jordi Pujolá Iceland
Börkur Gunnarsson interview media director RIFF

RIFF, Never good paid but it´s always joy

He also has been working for the International Film Festival of Reykjavik for many years, first as a director of the talent lab and now as a Media director

«Never good paid but it´s always joy»

How are Icelanders?

«We are spoilt fellows. No civil wars from 13th Century, free army provided from Americans and British…

Here was only the fighting with the nature: earthquakes, volcanoes and the ocean. I come from a sailor´s family and fishermen were dying in masses, but not any more

Spoilt by peace, I would say»

Is that good or bad?

«It´s good, people are brave and open to challenges, they are not afraid of almost anything. However, sometimes they risk too much because they know even though they can go to the bankruptcy they will never suffer from hunger or not shelter. To be poor in Iceland is not like in other countries were people dye on the streets»

His favourite part of Iceland

Börkur Gunnarsson says his favourite part of Iceland are the lava fields of Reykjanes, but when working for the Talent Lab he always drove the guests to to the South Coast and they are always amazed by the volcanoes, waterfalls, Reynisfjara, etc.

Movies filmed in 2 weeks

He filmed (and write) 2 popular movies in Iceland: Þetta reddast and Aftur

Börkur is a modest person and he doesn´t like to brag about his movies, but they are very good, ironical and funny comparing with some others with much bigger budget (salaries, actors, editors…) and longer filming time

However, he says the movies are not mend what he wanted to say because they were filmed in 2 weeks

«They are a kind of experiment» he says with a nostalgic hint

The most shocking things from Spain?

«I have been only once in Spain. Nevertheless, I really have a good connection with Spaniards, as with Finnish (may be because they don´t play the boring role of the Scandinavian brothers)

The most shocking things for me are the siesta time, every shop was closed from 2 PM to 5 PM in a tourist place

and the fact the 80 % of the movies sold out of Spain are by Almodovar, it´s like Friðrik Þór Friðriksson in Iceland 20 years ago! I wouldn´t like that in my country

But, anyway, I like Almodovar´s films, especially because you feel the conflict in them, the root of the fascism with its positive and negative things. Did you know, for example, José Mourinho comes from a fascist family?»

What are your favourite directors?

«I like the ones who are good at dealing with actors because it was my weakness. When you come from the writing background you are used to dealing with characters but not to people

For example Mike Leigh or Miles Forman»

Movies and shorts by Börkur Gunnarsson

  • Þetta reddast (Rock Bottom) 2013
  • Aftur 2004
  • Nekteré veci je lepsí nevidet 2001
  • Schody 2001

Tell me please about Þetta reddast

«It´s a simple story of a couple of journalists who fuck up their lives being too egoistic and not showing respect to their employee nor to each other. They start doing their job worse, drinking too much… not deep things, it focuses on relationships, a process that starts with small disrespects and escalates to a level that destroys fast the things more important are for them»

Börkur Gunnarsson interview journalist Iceland
Börkur Gunnarsson interview to the director of Þetta Reddast

Börkur Gunnarsson interview

Blog English

Carmen Posadas interview

Carmen Posadas interview is an article by Jordi Pujolá, Spanish writer in Iceland

Mrs. Carmen Posadas is one of the most important writers in Latin America. She won the Planeta award, the most important Literary prize in Spain, among some others

She is a very respected woman and writes articles on magazines, newspapers and shows up frequently on TV

This article is part of my project La Contra Islandia that connects Icelandic and Spanish cultures

Read the full article in Spanish

Don´t miss:

Carmen Posadas interview

She called me into her house nearby the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid

Carmen Posadas lives in a restored regal building. Inside her house, each piece of furniture fits perfectly with the paintings, tapestries and carpets

Carmen Posadas sat down in front of me, crossed her legs elegantly and we started talking

How is Carmen Posadas?

Carmen is a cheerful, affectionate and intrepid woman

By the way, we interchanged signatures on our last novels, but of course she is much more famous than me

Jordi Pujolá interviewed Carmen Posadas
Carmen Posadas interview one of the best writers in Latin America

Carmen says there are 2 types of writers, the lame ones, who need crutches (plan everything before starting writing) or the blind ones (have no idea what are they going to write) 

She considers herself a blind one and I am a lame one

Pequeñas infamias Carmen Posadas Premio Planeta libros
Carmen Posadas entrevista ganadora Planeta



Último libro de Carmen Posadas



La maestra de títeres. Ed. Espasa

«When I started my last novel (La maestra de títeres), I only knew I wanted to  pay tribute  to William Thackeray, the author of Vanity Fair, and explain the evolution of Spain since the fifties to now on the voice of 3 women

I only had the first sentence of the novel, Last night I killed my mother and I didn´t feel anything, then I started the story and the development of the characters

However, the book was already written in one part of my mind, I just needed to remove the excess» 

Carmen Posadas is a self-taught writer and started publishing child books when she was 26 years old and got an important prize from the Culture Ministry

Entrevista Carmen Posadas
Hoy caviar, mañana sardinas










Nevertheless, it took some time for her to start writing novels for adults because as a good artist she felt insecure. In the meantime, she wrote down successful humorous essays and even coined a psychological term, the Rebecca´s Syndrome, that refers to the ghost of a past love

Carmen Posadas was born in Uruguay, her father was Ambassador. She moved to Spain in 1965 and got married in Moscow (Soviet period), then she went to London and ended in Spain again

Interview Carmen Posadas by Jordi Pujolá
Carmen Posadas interview in Madrid

Why do you write?

Carmen: «I write more for my drawbacks than for my advantages: When I was little, I was very shy and my sisters were bright both physically (blond and green eyes) and character (always singing and making jokes), so I used to go to my room and write a long a sad journey

On the other hand,  shy people are more observant because we don´t participate in the action»  

How did you deal with changing country every 4 years?

«For me it was really good, a kind of chance to start again: I´am not going to be so shy, I´ll be kinder, I´ll have more friends… It was like an incarnation

In conclusion, when you change country, the person changes as well»

By the way, the nomadic life of the diplomatic people inspired her to write (with her brother Gervasio) a funny book named Today caviar and tomorrow sardines, because one day you eat caviar with the Queen of England and another a sandwich of sardines in a remote office 

Writing is a lonely act, so you need help

On other matters, Carmen started up a writing school on the Internet with her brother (Yoquieroescribir) 8 years ago, they have more than 5000 students around the world and she is proud of it because many of them have already published a book 

«Writing is a lonely job and you need help, it´s something I missed when I started»

Entrevista Carmen Posadas escuela por internet
Escuela de escritura de Carmen y Gervasio Posadas

What is the difference with other schools?

«The writers who are in charge of the other schools usually don´t give the complete recipe, like the famous chefs

However, in our school we reveal my tricks but also Hemingway´s, Dicken´s (her favourite because combines literature for intellectuals and common readers) …»

Carmen Posadas admits she has copied many tricks from Charles Dickens

I asked Vargas Llosa something he had never been asked in 1000 interviews

The book market is all about women (professional and readers)

It looks like women read and men watch football

I asked Carmen for some tricks to engage women in my novels

Entrevista Carmen Posadas de Jordi Pujolá
Carmen Posadas interview

«I have been asked many times about the difference of women and men writing, but when I asked the same question to Mario Vargas Llosa, he surprisingly confessed it was the first time someone asked him that

Personally I think there are many factors involved on the process of writing: the religion, the country… and of course, the sex

On the other hand, currently there are many women writing black violent novels with a great success, but with a different approach

And of course, women and men are interested in different themes

Nevertheless, there are some novels difficult to distinguish

For instance: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, that seems written by a woman, and Memoires of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, that it seems written by a men

Why women read more than men?

«In the old times women had more time, but nowadays we are as busy as them. Maybe it´s because we like looking at the introspective and psychological side of the things

As an anecdote, when I go to the book fairs and I asked men who do want me to dedicate the book they always say to their taunt or someone else, they are never for them! (laughing) 

However, that is changing. Currently, there are more men in the reading clubs and they participate actively, even more than women, and they are interested in the insides of the book. So still there is hope (laughing again)»

The happiness is like a little blanket that never covers the body completely

I asked her about happiness:

«First, happiness is like a little blanket that never warms the whole body: if you cover the chest, the feet get uncovered and so on

Second, I have never looked for happiness, it´s not my goal. I´m very ambitious and ambition and happiness work in a different range

In conclusion, the trick of happiness is not looking at the end (a donkey following a carrot in a line), but in the way, what you do to reach that impossible achievement

Then you learn to enjoy the trip, not the prize because the total happiness doesn´t exist. There is always something new on the horizon»

What do you know of Iceland?

«I have never been to Iceland. I looks like a fascinating icy wonderland, like the film Frozen

As well the geysers, the underground hot water that heats the cities

They have a woman First Minister (she is interested if Katrín Jakobsdóttir is a good politician) and the country suffered a hard economic recession (she asks me how the situation is nowadays)

Carmen Posadas entrevista de Jordi Pujolá, escritor español en Reykjavik

Bibliography (Wikipedia)

Complete bibliography:

  • Una cesta entre los juncos. 1980. Children’s story.
  • El cazador y el pastor. 1980. Children’s story.
  • El chico de la túnica de colores. 1980. Children’s story.
  • Hacia una tierra desconocida. 1980. Children’s story.
  • El Niño de Belén. 1980. Children’s story.
  • El pastor que llegó a ser Rey. 1980. Children’s story.
  • El señor viento Norte. 1983. Children’s story. (Winner of the National Literature Prize 1984).
  • El parque de papel. 1984. Textbook.
  • Escena improbable. 1986. Inverviews. In collaboration with Lucrecia King-Hedinger.
  • Kiwi. 1986. Children’s story.
  • Hipo canta. 1987. Children’s story
  • Yuppies, jet set, la movida y otras especies. 1987. Essay.
  • El síndrome de Rebeca: guía para conjurar fantasma. 1988. Essay.
  • Mi hermano Salvador y otras mentiras. 1990. Short stories.
  • El mercader de sueños y otros relatos. 1990. Short stories.
  • Una ventana en el ático. 1993. Novel.
  • Padres, padres. 1993. Essay

and more

  • María Celeste. 1994. Children’s story.
  • Liliana, bruja urbana. 1995. Children’s story.
  • Cinco moscas azules. 1996. Novel.
  • Nada es lo que parece. 1997. Essay.
  • Pequeñas infamias. 1998. Novel. (Winner of Premio Planeta 1998).
  • Encuentro con Cousteau en el polo Sur. 1999. Short story.
  • Un veneno llamado amor. 1999. Essay.
  • Tú y yo tan raros como siempre. 1999. Short story. In the collection: Hijas y padres.
  • Dorilda. 2000. Children’s story.
  • La bella Otero. 2001. Novel.
  • Por el ojo de la cerradura. 2001. Essay.
  • El peinador de ideas. 2002. Short story.
  • La hernia de Viriato. 2002. Essay. In collaboration with her daughter Sofía.
  • El buen sirviente. 2003. Novel.
  • Dorilda y Pancho. 2003. Children’s story.
  • A la sombra de Lilith. 2004. Essay. In collaboration with Sophie Courgeon.
  • Elemental, querido Freud. 2005. Short story. Included in the anthology: Mujeres en ruta.
  • Juego de niños. 2006. Novel.
  • Literatura, adulterio y Visa platino. 2007.
  • Hoy caviar, mañana sardinas. 2008. Novel. In collaboration with her brother Gervasio Posadas.
  • La cinta roja 2008. Novel.
  • Invitación a un asesinato 2010.


  • Ministry of Culture Award for best children’s book published in 1984.
  • Planeta Award in 1998.
  • Apelles Mestres Award for Children’s Literature, 2004.
  • Sent Sovi Gastronomy Award of Literature 2007.
  • Journalism Camilo José Cela Award in 2011.
  • Culture Award Madrid, 2008.
  • ABC Cultural & Ámbito Cultural Award 2011, from its directors Fernando Rodríguez Lafuente and Ramón Pernas.
  • Cartagena Historical Novel Award in 2011.
  • Glauka Award 2014.
  • Brazier Award, Goncourt Gastronomic French Novel 2014.
  • Carmen Posadas is a director of the European University of Madrid which has created the Carmen Posadas Chair.

She became an honorary professor of the University of Peru in 2010

Carmen Posadas interview is an article by Spanish writer in Iceland Jordi Pujolá

Blog English

Benedikt Erlingsson interview

Benedikt Erlingsson interview by the Spanish Catalan writer Jordi Pujolá, with the support of Icelandic Mountain Guides and RIFF Reykjavik International Film Festival

This article is part of my project La Contra Islandia that puts Icelandic and Spanish cultures in contact

Read the full article in Spanish

Don´t miss:

6th Nov 18

I love movies by Benedikt Erlingsson because their connection to Icelandic nature and traditions and his concern for climate change and environmental issues

Interview Benedikt Erlingsson Konan fer í stríð
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson Icelandic Ophelia

Benedikt Erlingsson interview

Mr. Benedikt Erlingsson (May 1969) is a talented Icelandic film director, script and play writer and actor

Benedikt Erlingsson and Jordi Pujolá in Reykjavik
Benedikt Erlingsson interviewed by Jordi Pujolá

Biography of Benedikt Erlingsson (IMDb)

Is one of the most successful stage directors of the last decade in Iceland. He has received several Grima awards (Icelandic theatre awards) for his work as a director, author and actor, and is well known in his country for having acted in the TV series, Fostbrædur (Blood Brothers), winner of numerous Edda awards (Icelandic film and TV awards). He has also acted in a number of films, such as Lars von Trier’s The Boss of It All. He has directed two short films, Thanks (2007) and The Nail (2008)

Interview Benedikt Erlingsson 2 Icelandic actors in Cannes
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson in Cannes with Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir

He won the award to the Best New Director in Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastián (2013) with his first movie Of horses of Men

«The Concha is the most important award for me (even more than an Oscar) because it´s the first one I got as a film director»

By the way, my favourite actor (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson) plays in this movie

Woman at War

His second movie, Woman at War, got the Nordic Council Film Prize and was the candidate of Iceland to the Oscars, even though he never had high expectations on that

Woman at war is an amazing film with an environmental message, great actors (especially Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) and dramatic landscape

Woman at War Interview Benedikt Erlingsson
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson Woman at war

It is released in Spain on Friday 8th March (La mujer de la montaña)

What do you think of the Oscars?

«The Oscars are like American football, you need muscle power and money behind you»

The director and writer Börkur Gunnarsson said something similar when I interviewed him

A family of storytellers

Benedikt Erlingsson invited me to his warm house in one of the furthest suburbs of Reykjavik, near the mountain Úlfarsfell (mountain of wolves), and introduced me to his lovely family; his wife is a famous actress as well (Charlotte Bøving)

Benedikt Erlingsson and the Catalan writer Jordi Pujolá
Benedikt Erlingsson very nice meeting

The father of Benedikt Erlingsson was an actor and his mother a theatre director and storyteller who helped him with his first script

When talking to Benedikt, his face is full of serenity, he keeps your attention like a magician, you almost can see the anecdotes he is describing and never loses the thread

Of horses and men

Of horses and men is based on real facts. For example, the scene where a farmer goes swimming with the horse to a an anchored foreign ship to buy alcohol (no alcohol in Iceland at that time) is really shocking

Man swimming with a horse in Iceland
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson swimming with a horse

I strongly recommend Of horses and men because it sticks in your mind for a long time, the details work progressively in your brain

Obsessed by Icelandic Horses

«My film is about brutality, the abuse of horses. However, no horse suffer any harm. The people involved in the shooting were all horse lovers and horse owners»

«I became obsessed by horses when I was 12 years old

Sending teenagers to work in a farm in summer (3 months) was a nice tradition in Iceland

I went 3 times to the same place in the North East, but it was a therapy instead of a job

I recommend the novel The Swan by Guðbergur Bersson

Interview Benedikt Erlingsson horse lover in Iceland
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson Of Horses and Men

I was very introduced in the horse culture and then I came out as a horse person with a horse and I have 5 horses today»

Owning horses looks like an expensive hobby

«Yes, my friends in Europe think I am an aristocrat (laughs)

Nevertheless, horses are not expensive in Iceland, it´s a common people sport»

Do Icelanders eat meat horse?

«There is not stigma about eating horse meat in Iceland, it´s related to the Pagan religion. Our ancestors slaughtered good horses as well because they thought they needed a horse after life

And before the Norwegians brought the sheep to Iceland there was not to much to eat here, so the horses helped us to survive

In conclusion, the horse culture is the strongest remaining from the settlement»

InBenedikt Erlingsson director and Jordi Pujola writer
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson at his house in Mosfellsbær

We have only good horses because we eat the bad ones

Why Icelandic horses have so excellent reputation?

«We have only good horses because we eat the bad ones (laughs)

However, horse meat is very cheap. In Iceland, to grow horses only for the meat is not respected . 90 % of the horse farming is all about to good horses

Always Spanish immigrants in his movies

In both movies (and probably in the third one) the actor and poet Juan Camillo plays the role of a Latino immigrant (and clown) in Iceland. Why?

«Juan Camillo has a special meaning for me because  he is a poet, philosopher, he represents something is beautiful and we need in Iceland, a different flower. Different nationalities and cultures make us richer. He is a good example of wealth and positive energy you can create: really integrated, reliable immigrant… He speaks Icelandic, he speaks about 2 homes, 2 roots…»

Interview Benedikt Erlingsson immigrants in Iceland
Interview Benedikt Erlingsson Juan Camillo

Whale hunting ships from the Country Basque

Iceland abolished the law which orders Basques to be killed on sight in 2015

The French explorer Samuel de Champlain described them as the cleverest men at this fishing

The year 1615 was a difficult year in Iceland with ice up to shores until late summer and considerable loss of livestock

Benedikt Erlingsson finds the descriptions (by the investigator and journalist Jón Guðmundsson the Learned) of the slaying of the Basques in the West Fiords (17th century) incredible

The captain, Martín de Villafranca, was injured in the shoulder and chest with an axe, but he managed to escape into the sea, however he was stoned in the water and dragged to the shore where he was tortured to death

«Despite this, Icelanders were amazed by the beauty of the Spanish captain: he has dark hair, he swims in cold water and, at the same time, he sings the most beautiful songs they had never heard. The Vikings who came here they swam, but Icelanders lost the ability»

Check the movie by Aitor Aspe

A Basque – Icelandic dictionary

An Icelandic-Basque lexicon has been preserved, indicating some trading between the two nationalities

«When Jón Guðmundsson the Learned, who was very critical with his country folk, was driven out of the area, he left a long list of words in both languages, a kind of dictionary

In linguistic terms is an unique document that shows the development of both languages»

Passion for Spain

«I became interested in Spain reading Hemingway. I also made an essay in college about Spanish Civil War

When I went to Sevilla to take a 2 months Spanish course, I also took a detour to visit Els Comediants theatre company near Barcelona (Costa Brava) because they cause me a huge impact when they performed with fire on the streets of Reykjavik. Their aesthetic, their attitude… were like a sun to this remote island in the north»

The Spanish photographer Kim Manresa was there

Els Comediants didn´t want to talk in Spanish

«I found out Els Comedants were living in collective, they were anarchists but friendly

I tried to talk to them in Spanish (with my basic level), but they wanted to talk to me in Catalan

It was a funny experience

My favourite directors are Carlos Saura (the same as Baltasar Kormákur) and Almodóvar»

What is your favourite area in Iceland?

«My favourite area in Iceland is Möðrudalur að fjöllum: crazy, isolated and wild. Moon landscape, desert, green land, glacier, blue fox, the beautiful Queen of Icelandic Mountains, Herðubreið…

The queen of mountains in Iceland
Herðubreið by Ísland í Notskum

And also you can find the farm at the highest level over see (469 m)

I recommend the hotel and cafeteria  Fjallakaffi»

Are you not afraid of revealing the place to the tourists?

«The tourists are not a problem at this part of Iceland (out of the bitten track) and we don’t kill them any more (laughs)»

Interview Benedikt Erlingsson by Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá
The Interview to Benedikt Erlingsson horses everywhere

Benedikt Erlingsson interview by Jordi Pujola, Spanish writer in Iceland