Island had been governed by Norway from 1262, and by Denmark from 1380. The country became an independent republic only in 1944.
Lakes and glaciers cover 14,3 % of Island’s surface. Vatnajökull, the biggest glacier on earth expect for poles, represents 8 % of the earthly area of Island only by itself.
Island has more than 130 volcanoes. Among them, 18 came into eruption since the colonisation of the country, 1,100 years ago.
We thought for a long time that the Island people were coming exclusively from Norwegian Vikings who were on the island since 974. But in fact, some genetic studies demonstrated that an important part of their ascendants comes from the Celtic populations of Ireland and Scotland. These populations had been brought to Island as slaves for Vikings. About 20 % of paternal descent, and 60 % of maternal descent in Island are from Gaelic origins.
It is said that Island has the highest rate on earth of writers, authors, and artists per habitant. There is almost anyone in Island who does not write, or does not practice art.
Andri Snær Magnason was born in Reykjavik in 1973. As a poet, dramaturg, essayist and short story writer he soon caught the public’s attention. He is the author of the children’s book The Story of the Blue Planet, which was published in 30 countries. Lovestar, his first novel, was chosen “Novel of the Year” by Icelandic booksellers and won the Grand Prize of Fantasy as well as the DV Literary Award. In 2016 he officially ran for President of Iceland.
The point of view of people living in the North has also been gathered from short story writings inspired by a questionnaire used during expeditions. Those short stories, written by one author from each of the 8 countries touching the Arctic Polar Circle, will serve as creative inspiration. Here are some excerpts.
Jörðin hol að innan
Þegar ég var tvítugur brotnaði Kolbeinsey frá jarðskorpunni og sveif norður á bóginn, þar til hún lækkaði og fór á sæmilega stöðugan sporbaug innan í holri plánetunni. Tíu árum síðar náði holan upp að Grímsey, sem hélt út í þrjú ár áður en hún brotnaði sundur, enn eitt fórnarlamb óstöðvandi uppbrots jarðskorpunnar af völdum ofnýtingu auðlinda neðanjarðar. Nú, aðeins nokkrum dögum eftir þrítugasta og fimmta afmælisdaginn minn, var næturhimininn yfir Reykjavík upplýstur að neðan af grimmu, köldu ljósi neðri sólarinnar. Það eru mörg ár liðin frá því stjörnur skreyttu síðast íslenska nótt.
Listen to the author read an excerpt
The Hollow Earth
When I was twenty, the first bit of Icelandic territory, the tiny Arctic island of Kolbeinsey, broke off from the crust and drifted northwards, eventually sinking and settling into a reasonably stable orbit inside the hollow planet. Ten years later, the Hole had reached the inhabited island of Grímsey, which held out for three years before cracking apart, another victim of the runaway fracturing of the planet's crust caused by overzealous extraction of resources from the ground. Now, just days after my thirty-fifth birthday, the night sky, even as far south as Reykjavík, was illuminated from below by the fierce, cold light of the Inner Sun. It had been years since stars had dotted the Icelandic night.
Kári Tulinius is an Icelandic writer born in 1981. Since then he has spent most of his time staring off into space. Occasionally he will put pen to paper and write. His first book came out in 2010, a novel called Píslarvottar án hæfileika (Martyrs Without Talent). It was later turned into a play by Swedish theater troupe PotatoPotato as Talanglösa Martyrer. He was one of the founders of the chapbook series Meðgönguljóð in Iceland in 2011, which grew into an independent small press. As part of the series he published a collaborative book of poems with co-founder Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir in 2012 called Þungir forsetar (Heavy Presidents). His debut poetry collection came out in 2015, Brot hætt frum eind (Deli Cate Part Icle). He is currently at work on his second novel.
The second play of the cycle is based on Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason’s novel LOVESTAR. The story takes place in a futuristic Iceland where the Öxnadalur Valley, the lava fields, the coal plant and the Reykjavik suburb apartments are part of the author’s inspiration.
In June 2018, Andri invited Alain Lavallée and José Babin for a visit to the sites mentioned in his novel: Sigridur and Indridi’s apartment, Lovestar headquarters, LoveDeath’s location, the plover factory, the river where the lovers first meet…
Enriched by the many discussions with the author, the expedition transformed into an ‘’in situ’’ residence where fiction became deeply rooted in real sensations. This pilgrimage in another Nordic territory nourished the adaptation process of the novel and is a great source of inspiration for the development of the play.
…It is also where we understood why Andri likes birds.