Olafsson first Icelander nominated for short story prize

Icelandic author Olafur Johann Olafsson has been short-listed for this year’s Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. Olafsson is the first resident of Iceland to be considered for the prestigious award. His book, Aldingardurinn (Valentines), was published last year. The prize will be made in Ireland in September when judges will award EUR 35,000 (USD 48,000) to the winner.

Other nominees include Simon Robson from Britain who wrote The Separate Heart, Israeli Etagar Keret for his work, Missing Kissinger, and American author Miranda July for No One Belongs Here More Than You. Fellow American Manuel Munoz, author of The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue and Charlotte Grimshaw from New Zealand who wrote Opportunity are also considered for the prize. A total of 34 books were nominated from authors from 11 different countries.

Valentines is Olafsson’s third novel, written after he left his position as the CEO of Sony Entertainment Interaction and Time Warner Digital Media. The book was already awarded the Icelandic Literary Award last year.

Olafsson said he was not expecting to take the big prize. It’s like “forecasting the weather next week,” he said, but he did admit that it is “always good to get a pat on the back.”

The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival is currently being held in Cork, Ireland for the third year and will end with the announcement of the winner. The prize is the largest awarded in the world to short story collections. Previous winners include Yiyun Li and Haruki Marakami.