A punk, street painter, car decorator, illustrator, web designer, author of books, lecturer and finally a tour guide in the Icelandic highlands …
Thorarinn Leifsson is a restless soul. Born in 1966 he was raised by nomadic academics in Reykjavik and Copenhagen and later left to roam in the Icelandic countryside where he worked as a shepherd and cowboy from the age of nine.
In his early teens, Thorarinn became a punk and then a street painter, sleeping on the sidewalks of western Europe, a lifestyle that later inspired his biographical novel; The Street Painter. After that he studied fine art in Reykjavik, graduating in 1989 and working exclusively as an illustrator for a few years. Then employed as a web interface designer for a decade – more or less until the first tech bubble burst in the early years of this century.
Disillusioned by a manuscript he was hired to illustrate, Thorarinn decided to write Fathers Big Secret in 2007, a richly decorated story for children about a cannibal patriarch. The book was an instant success with critics and subsequently published in Germany and Denmark, followed soon after by Norway, Finland and The Faroe Islands.
Since this debut, Thorarinn has published new works every two or three years. His stories have harvested literary prizes and The Man Who Hated Children was nominated for The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize in 2015. Grandmothers Library can be found in book stores in countries as remote as Estonia, Italy and Brasil (Cereja 2019).
In recent years Thorarins books have drifted towards fewer illustrations and more text, gradually becoming more experimental and adult orientated in nature. His last published work is The Evacuation of Iceland, a dystopian novel where the entire population of Iceland (340.000) is transported to a former airfield in the middle of Berlin.
A full overview of Thorarins most important published work can be found on the Books page.
Leifsson restlessness in life and creation has made him live a good part of his life abroad, in Copenhagen, Barcelona and Berlin. This again has led to his current secondary occupation as a tour guide in the Icelandic highlands. Which also explains his latest novel in the making; a thriller involving vicious tourist murders.
Thorarinn Leifsson now lives in Reykjavík, Iceland. He has two children from relationships with Icelandic women: Salka (1992) and Leifur Otto (2011).