þriðjudagur, apríl 17, 2007

Sjón aka Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson aka Johnny Triumph

A song by Johnny Triumph & Sykurmolarnir (aka The Sugarcubes)

Version of the song Luftgitar 7-11 Concert of The Sugarcubes (2006) with all the 6 members of the Sugarcubes (Björk, Einar Orn, Bragi, Siggi, Magga and Thor) and most of their children and Sjón.

Photo by Hordur Sveinsson
Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavík in 1962. He began his literary career at the tender age of 15 and his first poetry collection, Sýnir (Visions), was published in 1978. Sjón was one of the founding members of the surrealist group Medúsa and early acquired a high profile on the Reykjavík cultural scene. He has published numerous poetry collections and four novels, as well as plays and material for children. Alongside his career as a writer Sjón has taken part in a wide range of art exhibitions and music events. His long-time collaboration with the singer Björk led to an Oscar nomination for his lyrics for the Lars von Trier movie Dancer in the Dark (2000). He is also one of the founders of the Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) publishing house. Sjón’s poems have been translated into English and the Scandinavian languages, and his novel Augu þín sáu mig (Made in Secret) has been published in Spanish and Lithuanian, in addition to the Scandinavian languages. In 2005 he won the prestigious Nordic Council’s Literary Prize for his novella Skugga-Baldur (Bird’s Milk).

Wikipedia on Sjón:
Sjón is the pen name of Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson (born August 27, 1962). His pen name is formed from his given name (Sigurjón), and means 'Vision'.
Sjón is an Icelandic author and a poet. He was awarded the The Nordic Council's Literature Prize in 2005 for the novel Skugga-Baldur ('Shadow Fox'), but is perhaps best known in the English speaking world for writing some of Björk's lyrics. Lyrics Sjón has written for Björk are for the songs Isobel, its sequel Bachelorette, and Oceania, written especially for the 2004 Summer Olympics. In 2001 he was nominated for an Academy Award (Oscars), alongside his co-writers Lars von Trier and Björk, for the song I've Seen it All from the movie Dancer in the Dark.
Sjón published his first volume of poetry, Sýnir ('Visions') in 1978 and has since published numerous books of poetry, prose and even children's novels. His novels have been translated to Italian, Spanish, Dutch, German and French, among twelve other languages, with the English edition of Shadow Fox scheduled for publishing in early 2008 by Telegram Books.
Sjón is married and has two children. He currently resides in Reykjavík.

Who is Sjón?

the Nordic Council Literature Prizewinner 2005

Sjón (Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson) was born in 1962 in Iceland and had his debut when he was only 16 with his first poetry collection, which was later followed by seven more.

His first novel, 'Stálnótt' ('Night of Steel'), was published in 1987, followed by another three novels. It was with his third novel, 'Augu þín sáu mig' ('Your Eyes Saw Me'), published in 1994, that he really made his name as a novelist.

Photo: Sigfús Már Pétursson

However, 'Skugga-Baldur' ('Phantom Baldur'), published in 2003, is the novel that gave him his great breakthrough to a broader readership.

The book is about an Icelandic priest and events that take place at a fox hunt. The author's narrative makes use of popular Icelandic legends. The parish priest Baldur Skuggason, one of the protagonists, is a sinister and evil character. Another important theme of the novel, the offspring of a cat and a fox, is taken from popular legend and runs throughout the story..

Mixture of styles

'Skugga Baldur' is a short novel with few pages. On some pages there are only a few paragraphs, in fact sometimes only a single line. This style is an important part of the novel, which balances finely on the border between poetry and prose, as the panel of judges stated in their justification of the winner. The composition of the story can also be compared to music, like a Schubert quartet.

"I discovered early on in the writing of this novel that it wanted to take on a musical form. And that's not so strange. I have done a lot of work with the Brodsky Quartet, and I often listen to recordings of their string quartets", says Sjón to 'Svenska Dagbladet' in an article.

'Skugga-Baldur' is also a contemporary novel which brings up some of today's ethical questions. Are the weak, those born with defects or disabilities, welcome in a world where such children can be purged at the foetal stage?

Sjón has now started on a major new writing project which takes place during two different periods of time and in which spiritualism, contact with the dead, is at the centre of the plot.

"We Swedes are not making a new acquaintance with the winner of this year's Nordic Council Literature Prize", writes 'Dagens Nyhter's' Johan Thente. "That is rather a shame. In principle, I would prefer that important, major prizes, including the Nobel Prize in Literature, were awarded to authors that were unfamiliar to me. However, Sjón is absolutely worth reading, so I will not grumble about it".

Facts on Sjón
Real name: Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson
Born: 1962
'Skugga-Baldur' is his fifth novel and was also nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize in 2003
He made his debut as a lyrical poet at 16 years of age and has published eight poetry collections
In addition to writing novels, children's books and plays, Sjón has also written the lyrics for musicians such as Björk and The Brodsky Quartet. He is probably the only Nordic writer to have been nominated for an Oscar – for the song lyrics in Lars von Trier's film ‘Dancer in the Dark’.

Music by Sjón
Björk's collaborator and acknowlegded genius, Sjon, reads his poems over the spooky ambient sounds of Baldur. Weird and wonderfull.
This is Smekleysa CD SMCD81.
You can order it www.smekkleysa.net: Price $15.00

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