Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson will be the guest of honour at this year’s Budapest International Book Festival. The event, now in its 29th edition, is scheduled to take place from 26 to 29 September, as announced by the Association of Hungarian Publishers and Distributors (MKKE) on Thursday, 11 January.
Described as one of the most significant contemporary figures in Icelandic literature with global literary acclaim, Jón Kalman Stefánsson was born in Reykjavík in 1963. His diverse professional background includes work as a stonemason, in a slaughterhouse, a fish processing plant, and a summer stint as a police officer at Keflavik Airport, followed by roles as a high school literature teacher and librarian.
Commencing his literary career with poetry, Stefánsson ventured into novel writing in the ’90s, gaining international success.
In 2005, his work Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night earned him the Icelandic Literary Award, followed by the Per Olov Enquist Literary Award in 2011. His novel The Fish Have No Feet was nominated for the International Man Booker Prize in 2017, and in 2022, it received the French Prix du livre étranger for the best foreign-language book of the year.
Stefánsson’s narrative prowess weaves rich tapestries, seamlessly connecting everyday occurrences with the often poignant and laden past. His impeccable style and sense of proportion intertwine poetry with detailed descriptions of the harsh and sometimes unforgiving Icelandic landscape and nature. His novels consistently delve into life’s most crucial aspects, rendering the twists and mosaic-like plot developments with elemental experiential vividness, exploring themes of love, pain, and death.
His works have been translated into numerous European languages, with The Fish Have No Feet being first released in Hungarian in 2018 through the efforts of translator Bence Patat, published by Typotex. His major work, the critically acclaimed Heaven and Hell Trilogy, was released in 2019 by Jelenkor, translated by Veronika Egyed, and was honoured as the Book of the Year by Könyves Magazine. Stefánsson made his debut at the Budapest International Book Festival in 2018. Subsequently, he visited Budapest upon invitations from the Margó Literary Festival in 2019, 2021, and last year. In the upcoming year, several of his works will be published in Hungarian.
The Budapest International Book Festival annually showcases the culture, literature, and book publishing of a guest country or region.
This year, the focus will be on France, featuring contemporary French literature with participation from prominent French authors, as stated in the announcement.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/MKKE/MTI