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Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Yrsa Sigurdardóttir_4 small jpgAbout the author

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1963 and works as a director of Fjarhitun, Iceland’s largest civil engineering company. She graduated from high-school in 1983, finished a BSc degree in civil engineering from the University of Iceland in 1988 and then a master’s MSc degree in the same field from Concordia University in Montreal in 1997.

Her writing career began in 1998 when her the first of her children’s books was published, The Danes Were in Trouble There. In 2000 the Icelandic department of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) gave Yrsa an award for her book We Want Christmas in July and, in 2003, her book BioKids won the Icelandic Children’s Book Award.

She made her crime fiction debut in 2005 with Last Rituals, the first instalment in the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series about a lawyer-sleuth. In her books Yrsa makes use of themes from Icelandic tradition and history. Such was the positive reaction to the novel that she was dubbed ‘Iceland’s Queen of Crime’. Her titles have now been translated into more than 30 languages. The Silence of the Sea is her sixth crime novel to feature Thóra Guðmundsdóttir.

Yrsa’s previous novels are available in the UK as Hodder paperbacks and ebooks. She has also written a stand-alone horror novel, I Remember You, and several stand-alone thrillers. Her ‘Children’s House’ series, featuring child psychologist Freyja and police detective Huldar, is also now well-established. All of her adult novels have been European bestsellers.

Her work stands ‘comparison with the finest contemporary crime writing anywhere in the world’ according to the Times Literary Supplement. The second instalment in the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series, My Soul to Take, was shortlisted for the 2010 Shamus Award. In 2011 her horror novel I Remember You was awarded the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award and was nominated for The Glass Key. Her novel The Silence of the Sea won the Petrona Award in 2015. The Legacy won the Danish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award in 2016 and Why Did You Lie? was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award in 2018.

Yrsa lives in the Reykjavík suburb of Seltjarnarnes. She is married with two children.


Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series

Last Rituals (translated by Bernard Scudder)
My Soul to Take (translated by Bernard Scudder)
Ashes to Dust (translated by Philip Roughton)
The Day is Dark (translated by Bernard Scudder)
Someone to Watch Over Me (translated by Bernard Scudder)
The Silence of the Sea (translated by Victoria Cribb)

Children’s House

The Legacy (translated by Victoria Cribb)
The Reckoning (translated by Victoria Cribb)
The Absolution (translated by Victoria Cribb)
Gallows Rock – (translated by Victoria Cribb) due for publication in April 2020
The Doll – published in Icelandic in 2018

Stand-alone novels

I Remember You (translated by Philip Roughton)
The Undesired (translated by Victoria Cribb)
Why Did You Lie? (translated by Victoria Cribb)


UK: Hodder & Stoughton

For further information and interview requests please contact Veronique Norton, Publicity Director, Hodder & Stoughton:

USA: Macmillan

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s books are published by St Martin’s Press in hardback and by Minotaur Books in paperback.

For specific review copy or author interview queries, contact the imprint’s publicity inbox directly:

Bookshop event news

Waterstones’ Piccadilly bookshop in London staged an event on 24 May 2016 called ‘An Icelandic Invasion with bestselling Icelandic authors Ragnar Jónasson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir in conversation‘.

Festival news

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir appeared at the Edinburgh Book Festival on 26 August 2016.

Rights news

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir horror novel, I Remember You, has been made into a Icelandic major motion picture, directed by Óskar Thór Axelsson and starring Thor Kristjansson, Jóhannes Haukur Johannesson and Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir. The film will be released at the end of 2016.

A English-language television series of the Thóra Guðmundsdóttir series began filming in autumn 2016, produced by Sigurjon Sighvatsson. The rights to the series were optioned by Palomar Pictures for a joint Canadian-Icelandic production.