Author Gunnar Gunnarsson

The monument honoring one of Iceland's leading authors, the writer from Vopnafjordur Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975), stands on the hillside above Garðaklett, across Hafnarbyggð from H B Grande.


This monument was unveiled on the 100th birthday of the writer in 1989. The text on the plate is "Móðurminning" or "Remembering Mother" which was Gunnar's first-published poem in 1906. Then he was still in Vopnafjordur:

"If you hear from my mother,
whisper greetings from me,
wherever she may be."

 

Gunnar was born at Valþjófsstaðir in Fljótsdal 18 May 1889 but the family moved to Vopnafjordur in 1896. They settled at Ljótsstaðir in Vesturárdalur; Gunnar´s mother died the next year. Gunnar was home-schooled in the countryside and for one year in the elementary school in Vopnafjordur. He also received schooling under the minister at Hof,  Sigurður P. Sívertsen. In 1907 Gunnar Gunnarsson left home and received schooling at Askov in Denmark.

 

Homesickness led Gunnar back to Iceland and to Vopnafjordur. In 1926 he bought the highland farm Arnarvatn inland from Vopnafjordur and the next farm Kálfell in 1932. This area is the setting for "Heiðarharms" (Tragedy of the Highlands). For some years Gunnar looked for a good farm and when he was offered Skriðuklaustur in 1938, the next farm to his birthplace in Fljótsdal, he couldn't resist. At Skriðuklaustur he planned to farm with style and built a large, Bavarian-style home designed by his friend, Fritz Höger, the German architect. The house was built in the summer of 1939 and Gunnar and his wife Franzisca moved in. Farming at Skriðuklaustur was, on the other hand, disappointing because of World War II. In 1948 the couple gave the Icelandic people the farm with all the buildings and moved to Reykjavík where they lived the rest of their lives. Gunnar died in 1975. Skriðuklaustur is now a history and cultural center in memory of Gunnar and Gunnarshús in Reykjavík is now the home of the Writers' Association of Iceland.