The Most Famous

WRITERS from Iceland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Icelander Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,794 Writers, 22 of which were born in Iceland. This makes Iceland the birth place of the 40th most number of Writers behind Serbia and Latvia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Icelander Writers of all time. This list of famous Icelander Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Icelander Writers.

Photo of Snorri Sturluson

1. Snorri Sturluson (1179 - 1241)

With an HPI of 80.23, Snorri Sturluson is the most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 64 different languages on wikipedia.

Snorri Sturluson (Icelandic: [ˈsnɔrrɪ ˈstʏrtlʏsɔn]; 1179 – 23 September 1241) was an Icelandic historian, poet, and politician. He was elected twice as lawspeaker to the Icelandic parliament, the Althing. He is commonly thought to have authored or compiled portions of the Prose Edda, which is a major source for what is today known as Norse mythology, and Heimskringla, a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with legendary material in Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history. For stylistic and methodological reasons, Snorri is often taken to be the author of Egil's saga. He was assassinated in 1241 by men claiming to be agents of the King of Norway.

Photo of Halldór Laxness

2. Halldór Laxness (1902 - 1998)

With an HPI of 78.39, Halldór Laxness is the 2nd most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 84 different languages.

Halldór Kiljan Laxness (Icelandic: [ˈhaltour ˈcʰɪljan ˈlaxsnɛs] (listen); born Halldór Guðjónsson; 23 April 1902 – 8 February 1998) was an Icelandic writer and winner of the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature. He wrote novels, poetry, newspaper articles, essays, plays, travelogues and short stories. Major influences included August Strindberg, Sigmund Freud, Knut Hamsun, Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Bertolt Brecht and Ernest Hemingway.

Photo of Egill Skallagrímsson

3. Egill Skallagrímsson (904 - 990)

With an HPI of 70.14, Egill Skallagrímsson is the 3rd most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Egill Skallagrímsson (modern Icelandic pronunciation: ​[ˈɛiːjɪtl̥ ˈskatl̥akrimsɔn]; c. 904 – c. 995) was a Viking Age war poet, sorcerer, berserker, and farmer. He is known mainly as the anti-hero of Egil's Saga. Egil's Saga historically narrates a period from approximately 850 to 1000 AD and is believed to have been written between 1220 and 1240 AD.

Photo of Gunnar Gunnarsson

4. Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889 - 1975)

With an HPI of 68.25, Gunnar Gunnarsson is the 4th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Gunnar Gunnarsson (18 May 1889 – 21 November 1975) was an Icelandic author who wrote mainly in Danish. He grew up, in considerable poverty, on Valþjófsstaður in Fljótsdalur valley and on Ljótsstaðir in Vopnafjörður. During the first half of 20th century he became one of the most popular novelists in Denmark and Germany. One time he went to Germany and had a meeting with Hitler and is considered to be the only Icelander who has met him. Often considered one of the most important Icelandic writers, he wrote the novel Af Borgslægtens Historie (translated into English as Guest the One-Eyed), the first Icelandic writing ever made into a movie. He also wrote the autobiographical novel The Church on the Mountain (1923–28).

Photo of Sæmundr fróði

5. Sæmundr fróði (1056 - 1133)

With an HPI of 66.70, Sæmundr fróði is the 5th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.

Sæmundr Sigfússon, better known as Sæmundr fróði (Sæmundr the Learned; 1056–1133), was an Icelandic priest and scholar.

Photo of Arnaldur Indriðason

6. Arnaldur Indriðason (1961 - )

With an HPI of 66.55, Arnaldur Indriðason is the 6th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Arnaldur Indriðason (pronounced [ˈartnaltʏr ˈɪntrɪðasɔn]; born 28 January 1961) is an Icelandic writer of crime fiction; most of his books feature the protagonist Detective Erlendur.

Photo of Jón Arason

7. Jón Arason (1484 - 1550)

With an HPI of 66.24, Jón Arason is the 7th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Jón Arason (1484 – November 7, 1550) was an Icelandic Roman Catholic bishop and poet, who was executed in his struggle against the imposition of the Protestant Reformation in Iceland.

Photo of Magnús Scheving

8. Magnús Scheving (1964 - )

With an HPI of 65.50, Magnús Scheving is the 8th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 62 different languages.

Magnús Örn Eyjólfsson Scheving (Icelandic: [ˈmaknuːs ˈscɛːviŋk]; born 10 November 1964) is an Icelandic writer, entrepreneur, producer, actor and athlete. He is the creator, director, and star of the children's television show LazyTown, in which he also portrayed the character Sportacus.

Photo of Hallgrímur Pétursson

9. Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 - 1674)

With an HPI of 64.67, Hallgrímur Pétursson is the 9th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 – 27 October 1674) was an Icelandic poet and a minister at Hvalsneskirkja and Saurbær in Hvalfjörður. Being one of the most prominent Icelandic poets, the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík and the Hallgrímskirkja in Saurbær are named in his honor. He was one of the most influential pastors during the Age of Orthodoxy (1580–1713). Because of his contributions to Lutheran hymnody, he is sometimes called the Icelandic Paul Gerhardt.

Photo of Jónas Hallgrímsson

10. Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807 - 1845)

With an HPI of 63.48, Jónas Hallgrímsson is the 10th most famous Icelander Writer.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Jónas Hallgrímsson (16 November 1807 – 26 May 1845) was an Icelandic poet, author and naturalist. He was one of the founders of the Icelandic journal Fjölnir, which was first published in Copenhagen in 1835. The magazine was used by Jónas and his fellow Fjölnismenn to promote Icelandic nationalism, in the hope of giving impetus to the Icelandic Independence Movement. Jónas remains one of Iceland's most beloved poets, penning some of the best-known Icelandic poems about Iceland and its people. Since 1996, Jónas's birthday has been officially recognised in Iceland as the Day of the Icelandic Language. On 16 November each year, the Jónas Hallgrímsson Award is awarded to an individual for their outstanding contribution to the Icelandic Language.

Pantheon has 22 people classified as writers born between 904 and 1964. Of these 22, 9 (40.91%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Arnaldur Indriðason, Magnús Scheving, and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. The most famous deceased writers include Snorri Sturluson, Halldór Laxness, and Egill Skallagrímsson. As of October 2020, 4 new writers have been added to Pantheon including Eggert Ólafsson, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, and Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir.

Living Writers

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Deceased Writers

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Newly Added Writers (2020)

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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 6 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.