Iceland Had Halldór Laxness Blacklisted In The USA - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Had Halldór Laxness Blacklisted In The USA

Published September 15, 2011

Documentary filmmakers have discovered that Former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson asked the US Ambassador to Iceland to ruin Nobel Prize winning author Halldór Laxness’ reputation in the sixties.
Eyjan reports that US officials responded to Bjarni’s request by preventing Halldór’s work from being further published in the States. By that time Halldór had already sold half a million copies of his novel ‘Independent People’ to the US market.
Filmmaker Halldór Þorgeirsson, who is also Halldór Laxness’ son-in-law, said they came across this information while investigating how Iceland’s beloved author came to be blacklisted in the US during the 1960s.
While it was previously known that Icelandic authorities worked against Halldór Laxness and pressured US authorities to help, Halldór Þ. says that the crew has delved further into the case.
The Prime Minister reportedly asked the US Ambassador to help ruin Halldór’s reputation as he was coming out with a new book, called ‘The Atom Station.’ In this book, which deals with the US and British occupation of Iceland during World War II, Halldór criticises Icelandic authorities’ for allowing the US to build the military base at Keflavík.
The matter was reportedly taken to then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, and half a century went by before his work was again published in the US. It was then that a group of writers started inquiring why a Nobel prize winning author’s works could not be found in bookstore or libraries in the United States.

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