Einar Már Gudmundsson

Einar Már Gudmundsson

I Believe in the Question Mark

Icelandic author and European intellectual Einar Már Gudmundsson – a widely known social commentator – muses on how storytelling has always played an important role in Icelandic society manifesting history and keeping memory alive.

The Icelandic people have a long tradition of being storytellers, dealing with the social struggle through “the mind of the novel.” Due to his political criticism and engagement in Icelandic social affairs, Gudmundsson plays a similar role to Günter Grass in Germany and Henning Mankell in Sweden. In periods when something big happens, like the economic crash in Iceland, he feels that there is an even stronger need for a good story to make things clearer. This is the great task of writers – capturing and expressing the thoughts of the people while challenging e.g. politicians’ interpretation of reality: “Although we don’t have the answer, we’re always searching for it… That’s why I believe in the question mark.”

Einar Már Gudmundsson (b. 1954) is an award winning and widely translated Icelandic author of novels, short stories and poetry, which all centre on the Icelandic people through the last hundred years. Among his books are his first collection of poetry ‘Er nokkur í kórónafötum hér inni?’, 1980 (‘Is Anyone Here Wearing the Korona Line?’), the highly acclaimed novel ‘Englar alheimsins’, 1995 (‘Angels of the Universe’), which received the Nordic Council’s Literary Award in 1995 and ‘Hvíta bókin’, 2009 (‘The White Book’) – a comprehensive and much praised book on the Icelandic bank crash. Gudmundsson, who is also a widely known social commentator, lives in Reykjavík with his wife and five children.

Einar Már Gudmundsson was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at the Louisiana Literature festival at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark in 2013.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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