Kristín Helga Gunnarsdóttir is born in Reykjavik in 1963. She studied Spanish at the University of Iceland and the University of Barcelona. She graduated from the University of Salt Lake City in Utah with a BA-degree in Media Studies and Spanish Literature in 1987. Kristín Helga worked as a reporter for Channel 2 in Iceland for 11 years before she became a full time author and journalist. Her first book, the children’s book Elsku besta Binna mín, was published in 1997. Since then she has written around forty books, for adults and children, short stories, novels, tv-scripts and teaching-materials.
Kristín Helga has won numerous awards and prizes for her work, including the 2008 Nordic Association of School Librarians’ Children’s Book Prize and Fjöruverðlaunin – The Women’s Literature Prize in the same year for the book Draugaslóð and again this year for her latest book
Vertu ósýnilegur – flóttasaga Ishmaels (“Be invisible – the story of Ishmael’s escape”) which is also nominated to the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize in 2018. Ishmael is a fictional boy created by Kristín Helga. She based her story on the experiences of the 300,000 unaccompanied child refugees currently in Europe in search of a home and a future. The story is based on source material and interviews with Syrian families in Iceland. She shows the young reader a peaceful and colourful society now ruined by the war, a society that the refugees will always miss. Kristín Helga delivers a very powerful story about how disasters and wars can affect the reality of those living far away from the war zone.
Apart from writing and teaching Kristín Helga has also worked as a guide, been on the board of the Iceland Nature Conservation Association and on the board of the Writer‘s Union of Iceland – for which she was chairman from 2014-2018.