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The authors signature.Gunnar Gunnarsson

Gunnar Gunnarsson was born on May 18, 1889 at Valþjófsstaður farm, which neighbours Skriðuklaustur and is also in the Fljótsdalur district. Aged seven, he moved with his parents to Ljótsstaðir farm in Vopnafjörður, where his mother died a year later. While still young, Gunnar dreamed of becoming a writer, and in 1906 his first books – small collections of poems – were published. Although the poor son of a peasant farmer, Gunnar managed to go to Denmark for his education when he was eighteen years old. Instead of returning home after two winters at the Folk High School in Askov, he decided to remain in Denmark and make his dream come true.

However, fame did not arrive easily. He lived for a time in poverty in Århus and Copenhagen, reading and writing to develop his talents. This struggle bore fruit. In spring 1912 Gunnar signed a contract with Gyldendal publishing house. Having opened the door to success, the young writer married his love, Franzisca Antonia Josephine Jørgensen.

Gunnar Gunnarsson's fame began as a result of his first novel, Guest the One-Eyed, which was published 1912-1914 and was filmed in Iceland by Nordisk Film in 1919. During the next two and a half decades, Gunnar wrote numerous novels, short stories, poems and plays, in addition to frequent articles as he participated actively in Nordic social discussions. Large numbers of his books were printed in many countries, though his popularity was concentrated in Denmark and Germany.

Despite writing his stories in Danish, Gunnar always set them in his native Iceland, which had a constant grip on his thoughts. In 1939, after 32 years in Denmark, he returned home. He bought Skriðuklaustur in the valley where he had been born, and constructed the mansion of his dreams. However, his idea of becoming a successful farmer while continuing to write was never realised, due to social changes in Iceland through the Second World War. In 1948, Gunnar and Franzisca moved to Reykjavík and donated Skriðuklaustur to the nation.

After Gunnar’s last novels appeared in the 1950s, he devoted his remaining years to translating into Icelandic those works which had previously been available only as translations by others. Gunnar died on November 21, 1975 and Franzisca the year after. Their graves are on Viðey island, by the city of Reykjavík.


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June - August: Open daily 10am - 6pm

May & September: Open daily 11am - 5pm

April: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

1.-11. October: Open daily 12pm - 4pm

November - March: Open occasionally. Ask for information.

Skriðuklaustur is in Fljótsdalur valley at the upper end of Lagarfljót lake - right by the highland road to Snæfell and Kárahnjúkar. Map

39 km from Egilsstaðir

11 km from Hallormsstaður forest

5 km from Hengifoss waterfall

A Visitor's centre for Vatnajökull National Park is also at Skriðuklaustur.

Adults (museum & guidance) 1100 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr
Students 750 kr
Senior citizens / disabled 550 kr
Groups (20+) 900 kr
Guided tour of the archsite for groups (10>)
Adults 600 kr
Children under 16 accompanied by adults 0 kr


...we all are nothing but

seaborne bodies...

on the shore of life.

Shore of Life 1915

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