Esseyja / Island Fiction: Publication Party

Free entry

You are warmly welcome to the publication release of Esseyja / Island Fiction in the Nordic House, Reykjavík, Tuesday November 14th, on the 60th anniversary of the Surtsey eruption.

The house is open from 4:30 pm where visitors can get a signed copy before the programme begins at 5pm with short readings by the participants.

Island Fiction weaves together artworks by Þorgerður Ólafsdóttir with varied texts and a travelogue that address the complex aspects of the existence, history, and meaning of Surtsey, the southernmost point of Iceland.

In correlation with the artworks in the publication are new texts by four researchers; Becky Forsythe (curator, editor), Birna Lárusdóttir (archeology, cultural landscapes and Icelandic studies), Guðbjörg R. Jóhannesdóttir (environment philosophy, nature aesthetics), Þóra Pétursdóttir (contemporary archeology, environment humanities and heritage studies). For the book, Þorgerður and Gunndís Ýr Finnbogadóttir visual artist, developed a special version of their collaborative work Unstable Ground, which opens as an exhibition next year in Gerðarsafn Art Museum.


In the summer of 2021, Þorgerður received a research permit to Surtsey where she stayed and worked for three days with a group of geoscientists. In this multidisciplinary publication, readers get a glimpse into the many layers of Surtsey, from the perspectives of visual art and artistic research, ideas informing cultural and natural heritage in a changing world, contemplations on islands and islandness, the aesthetic experience of landscape, and asks: how can we connect to faraway places?

The book is designed by Elín Edda Þorsteinsdóttir, graphic designer and illustrator.

Island fiction is published in collaboration with the research project Relics of Nature. The publication is rich in content, 200 pages in length and in both Icelandic and English.

In connection to the publication and the 60th anniversary of Surtsey’s eruption, Þorgerður has installed a new work at Kambar, Hellisheiði, titled Spor / Imprint,  where you might receive a greeting from Surtsey in clear weather. The work is part of Sequences XI Art Festival and will remain throughout the month of November.

The following organizations supported the production of the book: Environment Agency, Relics of Nature, Rannís starfslaunasjóður myndlistarmanna, Myndlistarsjóður and Bókmenntasjóður.

Accessibility: Elissa auditorium has good accessibility for wheelchairs and accessible restroom is on the same floor. All restrooms are gender neutral. This event will be in Icelandic and English.