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Confessions of a Literary Traveller – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

  • Submitted: 17th March 2019

There’s nothing quite like life on the open road…life on the road for a writer can be a fun and varied  journey. It’s never boring, that’s for sure. Today, author  Lilja Sigurdardóttir talks about what she likes, what she finds hard and shares a very funny story about staying in strange hotels…

Confessions of a Literary Traveller – Lilja Sigurdardóttir

In Edinburgh at the start of the Orenda Roadshow 2019 (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

In Edinburgh at the start of the Orenda Roadshow 2019
(c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir


What’s it like travelling around various sites as a writer?

It is an absolutely wonderful thing! As a writer who writes in Icelandic, a language only 330 thousand people speak I feel so privileged to be able to present my work to a wider readership. So many Icelandic writers never get that opportunity and feel a bit trapped in their mini-language. I love going to festivals and events in different countries as it gives me opportunities to meet and speak to so many people and see places I wouldn´t have otherwise.

Traveling is really inspiring for me. The senses are aroused by all the new things I see, the smells, the food, the buildings, shops, landscapes and the people. Many times I use some of these experiences in my writing and sometimes I also incorporate a place. I am currently writing a book with a character who is half Icelandic and half British. That gives me opportunities.

Travel via Lilja Sigurdardóttir novels

Iceland (c) Lilja SigurdardóttirIceland (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Iceland (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Where do you like to wander in your spare time?

I like to wander streets. In Iceland everyone is close to nature. Even in the middle of Reyjavík you can see a mountain. In any town in Iceland you only have to travel for a few minutes and you are out in wild nature. That is why I like to explore cities. Especially big cities that seem to go on and on forever. We don´t have that in Iceland.

On book tours, do you get much time to see each place you stop at?

It really differs. During festivals in the UK the authors usually have a decent amount of free time they can use to explore and socialize. In some other countries it´s different. My French publisher for example likes to use every minute so I am usually booked all day when I am there, doing interviews, photoshoots and meetings between events.

Confessions of a Literary Traveller - Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Lilja in front at the Orenda Roadshow (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Travel via Lilja Sigurdardóttir novels

Any funny stories from your time travelling? 

Well yes. Last night for example, while traveling with the Orenda Roadshow, I went home from the pub before the others in the group and I went to the wrong hotel! I have been traveling so much that I don’t register the hotels in my memory anymore so I just walked into the hotel that felt like the one we were staying at and was very surprised when my keycard didn´t work for the lift! And even more surprised when the lobby clerk said I wasn´t a guest at this hotel.

Life on the road is mostly good. I enjoy traveling and enjoy seeing new places and people and it gives a certain sense of freedom to see who little your really need. That you can manage for a long time with the contents of a suitcase. But the bad points are missing the family back home and the comfort of ones home.

Author in Singapore on the way to New Zealand (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Author in Singapore on the way to New Zealand (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Travel via Lilja Sigurdardóttir novels

What is it like visiting bookshops and libraries?

I love it. It is something about being surrounded by books. Being in the world of books. Libraries were so important to me when I was young so I understand their meaning and always try to help out and say yes to events in libraries when I possibly can. Bookstores and booksellers are very important to us writers and I love doing events in bookstores, both the  big glamorous ones and the small indie ones.

Where’s your favourite bookshop or event?

It is usually the last one I´ve been to so now I´ll say Rotorua Noir in New Zealand. It was a wonderful festival, so atmospheric and friendly and at the same time such an adventure! New Zealand is absolutely gorgeous and the similarities to Iceland are so strong, but the weather much nicer!

Confessions of a Literary Traveller - Lilja Sigurdardóttir

Beautiful Whakarewarewa valley (c) Lilja Sigurdardóttir

What do you miss most when you are away from home?

I have to say the dog, Dr. Árni. It is maybe strange to say I miss the dog more than my partner but my partner can sometimes travel with me but the dog never can. There is something so wonderful about a dog´s energy and what it gives to you. I feel relaxed and happy around him and he teaches me to enjoy the moment to the fullest.

Sonja, the main character in Snare and Trap (and coming soon: Cage) would do brilliantly as a travelling writer! Se is after all a cocaine smuggler so she is in fact a travel-expert and very, very good a packing…


Travel with Lilja – to Iceland at least where she sets her novels

And take care next time in a hotel! haha still chuckling at that story!


BookTrail Boarding Pass: Lilja Sigurdardóttir novels

Twitter:   @lilja1972  Web:www.liljawriter.com/



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