Secrets of the Ash

Nordic Noir: Secrets of the Ash

Featuring Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Richard Wall, of Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, Department of Earth Sciences

  • This second meeting in the Nordic Noir Book Club took place at the Courtyard Café on 17th March 2011. The event was an investigation into Icelandic crime fiction and included discussions on its relationship with international crime writing, the Icelandic literary tradition and other aspects of Icelandic culture and landscape.

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is the internationally acclaimed Icelandic novelist, author of Last Rituals (2008), My Soul to Take (2009), and Ashes to Dust (2010). Yrsa’s main protagonist is the lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, who through her job in a small Reykjavík law firm, stumbles upon weird cases of mysterious deaths, past and present. In her latest book in English, Ashes to Dust, it is the unveiling of three dead bodies and one human head under a pile of ash from the 1973 volcanic eruption in the Vestmanna Islands that sets Thóra on the trail of truths coincidentally and conveniently hidden by a natural catastrophe. Some of Yrsa’s titles that are available in English are Last Rituals, My Soul to Take and Ashes to Dust. They are available through the usual outlets, and most are in paperback.

UCL Nordic Noir presents Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: Click on the link to listen to an mp3 podcast of Yrsa’s talk and the following Q&A with the book club members.

Richard Wall of Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, Department of Earth Sciences, joined us to discuss the use of geological and (literary) historical information to set the scene for modern crime novels. The Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre is Europe’s leading multidisciplinary academic hazard research centre, which focusses on Geological Hazards, Meteorological Hazards & Seasonal Forecasting, and Disaster Studies & Management.

UCL Nordic Noir presents Richard Wall: Click on the link to listen to an mp3 podcast of Richard’s talk and the following Q&A with the book club members.


5 responses to “Secrets of the Ash

  1. jakobstougaard

    Just a quick thank you to all of you who came and made the event featuring Yrsa Sigurdadottir such a stimulating and friendly event. I hope you all enjoyed learning more about Yrsa, Icalend and Volcanoes. I certainly learned much about everything. I hope to get time over the next couple of weeks to put the podcasts together from these first two events.

  2. jakobstougaard

    Only one day till we meet Yrsa Sigurdardottir at the second Nordic Noir Book Club meeting. We will be asking the participants, what Iceland looks like through the prism of Icelandic crime fiction. If you are not coming to the event, it could be great to learn also what you think. Please leave a reply here, or give us a question you would have liked to ask Yrsa. Remember, we will very soon be able to provide you with podcasts of the two event we have produced.

  3. jakobstougaard

    We did it again! The second Nordic Noir Book Club event has been sold out. We are still sitting on recordings of the Nesser event and will soon be sitting on more sound recordings from the Sigurdardottir event – eventually and hopefully very soon, these recordings will be podcast via UCL Itunes. So, if you miss the event itself, you can always go listen to the recordings.

  4. I love Yrsa’s books! I have yet to read Ashes…but I will! Is there any chance of Yrsa coming to the US anytime soon?

    • jakobstougaard

      I don’t know about Yrsa’s plans but she will be visiting Paris soon. Why do you think Yrsa’s books are so great? What is Icelandic about them? Any questions we should ask Yrsa (I will podcast her talk for all to hear. I still have Nesser’s to edit, but that will be available soon as well)

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