Erlings, Fridrik 1962- (Friðrik Erlingsson)

views updated

Erlings, Fridrik 1962- (Friðrik Erlingsson)


Born March 4, 1962, in Reykjavík, Iceland. Education: Escuela de Artes y Manualidades de Islandia, degree (graphic design), 1983.


Home—Eyrarbakki, Iceland. E-mail—[email protected].


Novelist, lyricist, musician, translator, and author of screenplays. Worked in advertising; freelance writer. Guitarist with Purrkur Pillnikk (punk band), 1981-83, recording Tilf, 1981, Ekki Enn, 1981, Googooplex, 1982, No Time to Think, 1982, and Maskínan, 1983; performer with Sykurmolarnir, beginning 1986, recording Einn Mol'á Mann, 1986.

Awards, Honors

International Board on Books for Young People award, and Icelandic Children's Book Award, both for Benjamin dúfa; awards for novels and song lyrics; Premio Escolástico de Reykjavík, 2002, for translation of Tsatsiki och Morsan by Mona Nilsson-Brattström.


Afi minn í sveitinni (for children; title means "My Grandpa in the Country"), Námsgagnastofnun (Iceland), 1988.

Benjamin dúfa (young-adult novel; also see below), Vaka-Helgafell (Reykjavík, Iceland), 1992, translated as Benjamin Dove, NorthSouth (New York, NY), 2007.

Alltaf til í slaginn. Lifssigling skipstjórans Sigurðar Þorsteinssonar, 1992.

Annað summar hjá afa (for children; title means "Another Summer with Grandpa"), Námsgagnastofnun (Iceland), 1993.

Vetrareldur (novel; title means "Winter Fire"), Vaka-Helgafell (Reykjavík, Iceland), 1995.

Lifskraftur: Séra Pétur og Inga í Laufási, Vaka-Helgafell (Reykjavík, Iceland), 1996.

Góða Ferð, Sveinn Ólafsson (novel; title means "Fish in the Sky"), Iðunn (Reykjavík, Iceland), 1998.

Bróðir Lúsifer (novel; title means "My Lesser Brethren"), Iðunn (Reykjavík, Iceland), 2000.

(Translator) Mona Nilsson-Brattström, Tsatski og Mútta, Iðunn (Reykjavík, Iceland), 2001.

(Translator) Lycklig Resa, Bonnier, 2002.

Litla ljóta lirfan (children's book; title means "The Little Caterpillar"; also see below), 2002.

Author's works have been translated into five languages, including Spanish.


(With Gísli Snaer Erlingsson) Stuttur Frakkí, 1993.

Benjamin dúfa (adapted from his novel), 1995.

Litla ljóta lirfan (animated children's film; based on his book), 2002.


In his native Iceland, Fridrik Erlings is known by his birth name Friðrik Erlingsson, and his credits include picture books, adult novels, translations, and screenplays. Erlings was born in Reykjavík in 1962, and in the 1980s he worked as a guitarist with several punk rock bands while also earning his graphic design degree. While continuing to pursue his interest in music by writing song lyrics, he has made his primary living in advertising as well as working as a writer. In 2002 Erlings received Iceland's Premio Escolástico de Reykjavík for his Russian translation of a novel by Mona Nilsson-Brattström. His best-known work is the feature-film adaptation of his award-winning 1992 young-adult novel Benjamin dúfa, which has been translated into English as Benjamin Dove.

Set in a poorer neighborhood of Iceland's capital city, the coastal Reykjavík, Benjamin Dove takes place in the second half of the twentieth century and focuses on three preteen boys whose lives change when they meet Roland. Roland has moved to Iceland from Scotland, and his imaginative play includes pretend knightly swordplay and chivalric quests. When Roland bravely stands up to local bully Howie and is attacked, Benjamin, Manny, and Jeff form the Order of the Red Dragon, vowing to defend the helpless against future injustice. Jeff soon tires of this naive play, however, and when he joins a violent street gang called the Black Feather, friendship turns to competition and tragedy ultimately results. In Booklist Carolyn Phelan praised Erlings' coming-of-age novel as "tightly written," adding that Benjamin Dove encompasses violence as well as "humanity, redemption, and even sweetness." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted the lyricism in the author's memoir-like text, writing that Erlings' reflective story "reaches across place and time to evoke the complexities of friendship, retribution and the loss of innocence." While a Kirkus Reviews writer cautioned that the "translation's stilted dialogue" might discourage some readers, Benjamin Dove was nonetheless recommended to fans of British writer David Almond. According to Amanda Moss, writing in School Library Journal, Erlings' "book is accessible, thanks to vivid descriptions and fine character development."

Mixing reality and fantasy, Erlings' adult novel Broðir Lusifer also focuses on a group of young people, although in this novel the characters come from troubled families and are considered outsiders within their working-class community. The novel's hero, a sulky, club-footed loner nicknamed Lusifer, ultimately discovers that there is hope of a better future when his single mom finds a way to get him off the streets by enrolling the teen in a religious school for troubled boys.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, February 1, 2008, Carolyn Phelan, review of Benjamin Dove, p. 45.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007, review of Benjamin Dove.

Kliatt, May, 2008, Amanda MacGregor, review of Benjamin Dove, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2007, review of Benjamin Dove, p. 57.

School Library Journal, December, 2007, Amanda Moss, review of Benjamin Dove, p. 126.

World Literature Today, January 1, 2002, Lanae Hjortsvang Isaacson, review of Broðir Lusifer.


Benjamin Dove Web site, (January 9, 2009), "Fridrik Erlings."

Borgarbókasafn Reykjavíkur Web site, (January 15, 2009), "Friðrik Erlingsson."