Halldor Laxness was born nearReykjavík, Iceland, in 1902. His first novel was published when he was 17. The undisputed master of contemporary Icelandic fiction and one of the most outstanding novelists of the century, Laxness wrote more than 60 books, including novels, short stories, essays, poems, plays, and memoirs. In 1955 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Laxness died in Iceland in 1998.