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Icelandic Novel One of Century’s Best in China

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Icelandic Novel One of Century’s Best in China

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson presents Zhou Xiaochuan with Hundadagar

Former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan. Photo: Courtesy of Forlagið.

Historical novel Hundadagar (‘Dog Days’) by Icelandic author Einar Már Guðmundsson was named as one of the best foreign-language novels of the 21st century in China earlier this month. The award ceremony will take place in March 2017.

Former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson presented the book as a gift to Governor of the People’s Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of political relations between the two countries on December 8.

The book’s publishing in China was expedited for that reason. Hundadagar, winner of the 2015 Icelandic Literary Award, is set between the 1720s and 1820s and features Danish adventurer Jørgen Jørgensen, who promoted himself as King of Iceland one summer, along with other historical characters. It was translated to Chinese by Halldór Xinyu Zhang.

In China, one foreign-language book has been awarded every year this century with the ultimate goal of determining the 21st century’s five best foreign-language novels. The books are all published by the People’s Literature Publishing House in China.

Einar Már Guðmundsson has written a multitude of poetry books, children’s books, essays and novels, and is perhaps best known internationally for his 1993 novel Englar alheimsins (Angels of the Universe). A film based on the book, directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, was released in 2000.

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