One of Iceland’s most beloved poets Sigurður Pálsson has died at the age of 69, following a lengthy battle with cancer. For decades he was among the nation’s most influential writers and few individuals have had more of an impact in recent decades on the development of the Icelandic language.
His works have been translated into many languages, including Chinese and Bulgarian, and in 2014, a large collection of his poems was published in English under the title ‘Inside Voices, Outside Light’.
Sigurður was especially celebrated in France and his translations from French to Icelandic have been an invaluable contribution to literary culture in Iceland. In 1990 he was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Culture Minister and in 2007, French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented him with Chevalier l’Ordre National du Mérite for his role in promoting French culture in Iceland.
In the beginning of next year, his last translation, of the book Dora Bruder by Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, is set to be published.