From Iceland — Fresh Perspective Of Immigrant Writers

Fresh Perspective Of Immigrant Writers

Fresh Perspective Of Immigrant Writers

Published December 21, 2022

Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Tired of the same old established writer telling you the same story in different words again and again? Well, we have something new for you—you ungrateful and ever-demanding bastards. Iceland is chock full of brilliant immigrant writers sharing their fresh perspective of this small, cold, isolated island of depression. Here are some of our favourite writers at the moment.

Jokes For The Gunmen

Mazen Maarouf

Palestinian/Icelandic writer and translator Mazen Maarouf has achieved international acclaim with his book “Jokes for gunmen,” with The Guardian featuring a review of the publication. The book is a compilation of short stories that,in essence, are jokes about a war in an unnamed city. To be more precise; it’s mainly about destruction and misery. It might sound odd, but the book manages to be simultaneously hilarious and depressing as shit. The Guardian’s take was: “Maarouf’s collection of deeply peculiar short stories set in unnamed cities is brilliantly bizarre.” In our opinion, they’re spot on. Believe us when we say that this is an extraordinary reading experience.

Pólífónía Of Foreign Descent – Collections of Poems From Iceland

Various Poets

This book is an ideal introduction to Iceland’s immigrant poetry scene. Fifteen authors with multi-national backgrounds offer a window into their souls and the world they live in. Most of the poems are in English and are also translated into Icelandic, but some have written in their native languages (these are also translated into Icelandic). All of the poems are fantastic, but our personal favourite is ‘My North’ written by Colombian-born Juan Camilo Roman Estrada. But don’t take our word for it, find your own goddamn favourite poem.

Polishing Iceland

Ewa Marcinek

Ewa Marcinek moved to Iceland at the beginning of the last decade, shortly after experiencing an assault in Poland. Ewa confronts this experience as well as the struggle to integrate into a strange new community in the middle of nowhere, where xenophobia and linguistic barriers are very much a reality. The resulting book is a poetic journey that is sincere and emotionally piercing. It is a truly beautiful book, beautifully written with a unique voice.


Helen Cova

Let’s just admit here and now, that autocannibalism is a thing. If you’re gonna eat yourself, you’re gonna need to start somewhere—and that’s where the Venezuelan/Icelandic writer, Helen Cova, comes in! Now, we know you’re no dummy—I mean, you’re reading about immigrant writers in Iceland, you’re probably a genius if you made it this far. That said, ‘Autosarcophagy’ is obviously not about literally eating yourself, but rather about Helen’s own reckoning with a violent past in war-torn Venezuela, which she frames with magical realism. And a fun fact: eating oneself is not technically illegal in Iceland. Just saying…


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