Emil Hjörvar Petersen (b. 1984) is an Icelandic author of five novels, three poetry collections and various other works. His most recent novels, Víghólar and Sólhvörf (The Shroud and Solstice), published by Veröld in 2016 and 2017, are the first two books in his new crime-fantasy series, where Nordic Noir, urban fantasy and new weird mix. The third one is in progress and is set to be published in the fall of 2018. The books have been incredibly well received and the TV-rights of Víghólar was sold to Sagafilm, a leading Icelandic producer. The scriptwriters are now at work.
The story takes place in an alternate contemporary Iceland where the world of supernatural beings from folklore is in parallel with our world, but very few can interact with the beings; the elves, trolls, hidden people, ghosts, revenants, spirits, cryptids, monsters etc. Those who can interact with the supernatural are called sensitive. They are, for example, mediums, seers, witches and sorcerers.
Bergrún Búadóttir is a broke medium who’s divorced and consumed by her work, but currently faces a dry spell in employment. Brá Bjarkadóttir is Bergrún’s restless daughter who lives with her father’s family, but is going to spend the weekend at her mother’s place. That’s where their story begins. In Víghólar, the mother and daughter get caught in a police investigation of serial killings connected to hidden forces and occultism, and that’s when Brá dicovers she has supernatural abilites as well. When the case is closed it’s evident that Bergrún will work more for the supernatural department. In each book there is a new case and a new theme, related to specific creatures and mysteries from Icelandic folklore. Each book in the series is independent but the series is correlated with the story of Bergrún and Brá: their struggles, their relationship, their flaws and hopes and dreams. Their destiny.
“Very entertaining and exciting … Tremendously well done … The story is full of fantastic female characters … A brilliant idea, combining Icelandic reality with the hidden worlds … It’s intriguing how Nordic crime merges with [fantasy].” Kiljan, a prominent Icelandic literary TV-program.
★ ★ ★ ★ “A thrilling and entertaining Icelandic fantasy.” Morgunblaðið daily
“The author succeeds terrifically in combining a classic noir, Nordic reality and fantasy.” Literature.is
“Emil creates an exciting and chilling story that he interweaves with Icelandic folklore and modern crime fiction. To us, this story is the perfect material for a thrilling television series.” Sagafilm
★ ★ ★ ★ “With artistic excellence, Emil succeeds in combining the settings of crime fiction and fantasy … The fast and exciting course of events are visual and entertaining.” Morgunblaðið daily
‟A well written and thrilling crime-fantasy where the folktales are used in an interesting and creative way … Tremendously entertaining … Very exciting … Sólhvörf grabs the reader from the first page.” Fréttablaðið daily
‟Emil has established himself as Iceland’s main author of speculative fiction.” Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature
★ ★ ★ ★ ‟A terrific novel where Icelandic folklore is intertwined with everyday life … It’s fantastic to see so many strong female characters … It’s very fun to read and keeps you turning the pages.” Nörd norðursins, the main Icelandic online magazine on fantasy & sci fi, video games, board games etc.
For foreign rights, contact Pétur Már Ólafsson (firstname.lastname@example.org), CEO of Bjartur & Veröld publishing.
A few words about the author:
Emil had published two critically acclaimed poetry collections when he finally got the chance to publish speculative fiction. He received the New Voices Grant of the Icelandic Literature Center in 2008 for his second poetry collection, Fox. Two years later, A Saga of Survivors: Hödur & Baldur, the first novel in a trilogy, was published, one of the first Icelandic efforts in the fantasy and science fiction genres. A Saga of Survivors is an extensive tale about the Norse gods that survived Ragnarök and their adventures, voyages and struggles in the post-world they lost control of. Read interview in English.
In 2012, A Saga of Survivors: Verge of Ruins, the second installment, saw the light of day. Read interview in English. The third and final installment of the trilogy, A Saga of Survivors: Nidhoggur, was published in 2014.
The trilogy has received very positive reviews (e.g. “A new and fresh view on the Norse gods … thrilling from the first page … a knock-out Icelandic fantasy.” —Morgunbladid daily), it has been called a pioneering work, and has been part of syllabuses in several Icelandic high schools and colleges.
Emil has been a participating author at conferences and conventions in several countries, for example at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Florida, USA; SweCon in Sweden; and Archipelacon in Åland. Listen to a podcast interview in English. He was one of the represented Icelandic authors at The Reykjavík International Literary Festival 2015.
His third poetry collection, Edible Cake Decorations, was published in 2014 by publisher Meðgönguljóð, as well as his second poetry collection, Fox, was published in Ukrainian by Krok Publishers at the 21st Lviv International Publisher’s Forum.
Emil holds MA in Literature and Cultural Studies, MA in Publishing and Editing, and a BA in Comparative Literature.
On a regular basis he does presentations on creative writing and fantasy and science fiction, both for the public and academia. He has worked with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature, doing a series of presentations and supervising workshops. Additionally he has written educational material focused on speculative fiction. He is the co-author of the book Töfraskinna, now used in many Icelandic middle schools.
Emil lives with his fiancée and their two small children in Lund, Sweden.