Today marks the 111th anniversary of Icelandic writer Halldór Laxness’ birth.
Halldór is arguably Iceland’s most well known writer, having received the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Upon receiving the Nobel Prize, Halldór talked about, “…the moral principles that she [his grandmother] instilled in me: never to harm a living creature; throughout my life, to place the poor, the humble, and the meek of this world above all others; never to forget those who were slighted or neglected or who had suffered injustice, because it was they who, above all others, deserved our love and respect…”
His novel, ‘Sjálfstætt folk’ (“Independent People”), which deals with the struggles that Icelandic farmers faced in the early 20th Century, quickly became a best seller in the United States. The FBI and the CIA, however, then blacklisted it, because “There was great concern that the money gained from the sale of Independent People would fall into communist hands,” (full article).
Halldór was born in Reykjavík and died here at age 95. He remains Iceland’s only Nobel laureate.