Alexander Dan Vilhjálmsson is an Icelandic writer living in Reykjavík. His debut novel, Shadows of the Short Days, is due to be published by Gollancz in 2019. The novel is an English translation done by the author of his self-published book in Icelandic, Hrímland. His second novel in Icelandic, Vættir, is currently looking for an Icelandic publisher. He is represented by Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.
Writing & Editing
– Received the Artists‘ Salary in 2017 for the novel Vættir, a weird, fantastical story set in modern day Reykjavík where uncanny vættir, wights, have invaded the everyday reality of the city dwellers. A surreal and realist narrative that deals with our relationship with nature, tourism,depression, anxiety and isolation. Vættir is a fantastical story heavily influenced by realist Icelandic literature, as well as Japanese literature.
– Wrote and published the novel Hrímland in December 2014. The book received a New Voices grant from the Icelandic Literature Center in 2013. The novel was well received by readers and critics. Hrímland is due to be published by Gollancz in 2019 under the title Shadows of the Short Days.
„It‘s not every day that you get a novel as powerful and memorable as Hrímland dropped in your lap, with a fully-formed fantastical world with believable characters who struggle against a cruel fate. […] To summarize – Hrímland is a superb debut of a very promising author and I doubt that a novel as powerful as this one was released this year.“
4/5 star book review by Árni Matthíasson in
Morgunblaðið national newspaper, 20. December 2014.
Hrímland is a modern fantasy novel under influences from the New Weird movement. It is set in an alternative version of Iceland and uses a lot of Iceland‘s history, folklore and recent events to create a unique fantastical setting. The story is about Sæmundur the mad, an outcast sorcerer (or galdramaður) and Garún, a revolutionary woman who is part-human, part-huldufólk – a mythical Icelandic race of people who live hidden in nature. They are both outsiders, each in their own way, and the story centers around how they try to transform themselves or the world around them. The story is set in Hrímland, where humans, huldufólk and the raven-like náskárar live in Reykjavík, a walled city in the far north. The novel can be said to be similar to authors like China Miéville (Perdido Street Station) and Lev Grossman (The Magicians).
– Founded, edited and published the magazine Furðusögur (Weird Stories) in the winter of 2010. The magazine printed short fiction, art and comics that fell under the broad genre of weird fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror). The magazine was the first of its kind in Iceland (and still is, to date) and received the New Voices grant from the Icelandic Literature Center that same year.
Fiction excerpts can be found at the top of the site under ‘Excerpts’.
– Graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iceland in 2012. Was an Erasmus exchange student at Middlesex University, London, in Creative & Media Writing.
– Lyricist and vocalist for Icelandic black metal band Carpe Noctem. Full-length release In Terra Profugus was released in 2013, a new full-length is due out in 2018.
– Part of the planning committee for the literary convention Icecon 2016, a fantastical fiction convention held in Iceland in October 2016. Also participated in the programme as a panel chair. https://icecon2016.wordpress.com/
– Participated in the literary convention Archipelacon in Aland Islands in 2015. Did lecture on genre fiction in Iceland and participated in several panel discussions.
– Participated in the literary convention WorldCon (LonCon 3) programme in 2014 on several panel discussions.
– Wrote an article about Icelandic genre fiction for John Clute at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/iceland