Thor Vilhjálmsson, one of Iceland’s best known authors and cultural figures, passed away on Wednesday. Born on August 12 in Scotland in 1925, his first novel Madurinn er alltaf einn (“Man is always alone”) was published in 1950.
A wealth of books, novels, poems, plays and collections of articles followed, in addition to translations including French, English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, Morgunbladid reports.
Vilhjálmsson also painted, held exhibitions and wrote about Icelandic visual artists, including Jóhannes Kjarval and Svavar Gudnason.
He chaired the Association of Icelandic Authors 1959-60 and 1966-68, the Association of Icelandic Artists 1975-81, was on the executive board of the Reykjavík Arts Festival 1976-80 and on the board of Alliance Francaise for years.
Vilhjálmsson was among the founders of the cultural magazine Birtingur in 1955 and was on its redaction until 1968. He also chaired the Reykjavík Judo Association for a few years and received an honorary doctorate at the University of Iceland last year.
On three occasions the author represented Iceland at the Nordic Council’s Literary Award and earned the prize in 1987 for his novel Grámosinn glóir (Justice Undone).
He also received the newspaper DV’s literary award twice and in 1992 he was honored with the literary award of the Swedish Academy for his life’s work.
In 1992, Vilhjálmsson released the first volume of his memoirs, Raddir í gardinum (“Voices in the garden”), followed by Fley og fagrar árar (“A boat and fair oars”) in 1996.
Vilhjálmsson’s widow is Margrét Indridadóttir, a former news director. They have two sons, Örnólfur and Gudmundur Andri Thorsson.