Pósthússtræti 5

Málfríður Einarsdóttir

Málfríður Einarsdóttir‘s (1899-1983) first book, Samastaður í tilverunni (A Place to Belong), was published in 1977, when she was at the age of 78. She lived in an appartment at Pósthússtræti 15, with her husband Guðjón Eiríksson, a janitor of the building.

Samastaður í tilverunni became a great success for Málfríður, and the critics were surprised to see such an obvious literary talent come into view so late in her life. Málfríður was in fact no newcomer, and had been writing for the greater part of her life, in one form or the other. She wrote poetry, articles on various subject matter and was a productive translator.

Málfríður stood out as one of the most original writers of modern Icelandic literature, in her last seven years of her life, from the publication of Samastaður í tilverunni. Her work was characterized by an unusual form of autobiography, shunning traditional forms and chronology, in a fragmented narrative written over a long stretches.

Málfríður suffered from tuberculosis for many years, and was bedridden for a long period of time due to her bad health. Those who were close to her said that she couldn’t stop writing. Her publisher, the poet Sigfús Daðason, wrote the following in her obituary: “Málfríður Einarsdóttir was a writer of body and soul, possessed by a passion bordering on graphomania. She wrote every single day, if possible: nulla dies sine linea, and I suppose that her last words were written on Friday, October 21. She took ill on October 22 and was moved to a hospital. She died in the afternoon of October 25.”