We are thrilled to feature this story from Iceland, about a teacher who became a Book Fairy for a Day, hiding books with the Book Fairy Official!
A story from Harpa, our Official Book Fairy in Iceland
A book fairy inspires… with an element of surprise. One of very few summer days of the Icelandic summer 2018 happened to be August 25th. It was a busy day for The Official Book Fairy for not only was it #bookfairiesinspire weekend, but she also had to take part in a writing workshop in Selfoss. Walking out of the workshop an idea came to mind – maybe the teacher would like to take part in some book fairy magic?
Turned out she was more than happy to! But who is this book fairy for a day, that so luckily was placed in Iceland?
About the Book Fairy for a Day:
“My name is Alissa Hattman and I am a writer and teacher living in Portland, OR in the United States, currently spending the month of August in Laugarvatn, Iceland at the Gullkistan Artist Residency working on a collection of flash fiction. For part of my stay, I’ve been leading flash fiction workshops and was happy to meet one of the book fairies at the Selfoss workshop.”
And so was I happy to meet you Alissa! The Gullkistan Residency has brought many great artists to Iceland and is an amazing place for writers and other artists to come and do their work. Alissa wrote about her stay there – and her book fairy experience – on her own blog.
The book chosen for this inspiring event is called Konan í dalnum og dæturnar sjö, or loosely translated: The woman in the valley and her seven daughters. First published in 1954 it is an amazing telling of a Monkia Helgadóttir, living in the isolated farm Merkigil in the north of Iceland. When her husband passes away she stands alone with eight young children farming a land far away from other people.
Guðmundur Hagalín, the writer of Monika’s story makes her not only a housewife with many children, but also an icon of the Icelandic mother and farmer lady. The woman who has carried the nation in her arms and helped her along with motherhood, love and warmth through the ages. The book was sold out for decades – and a popular request for second hand bookshops. It was published again in the summer of 2017 by Sæmundur in Selfoss, and instantly became a bestseller again! It seems like the people of Iceland can relate to Monika’s hard live story and strong character. Her life view also speaks to the feminist waves of today.
But had our new book fairy Alissa ever heard of this Icelandic author?
“I was honored by the request to be a book fairy for the day! By happy coincidence, the book I was hiding was by Guðmundur G. Hagalín, an Icelandic author that I had read in translation, and I had been working on a modern retelling of his tale, “The Fox Skin” at the Gullkistan residency just weeks prior. I was so pleased to pass along Hagalín’s wonderful book. The fairies must have been working their magic that day!”