The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #11 September / October 2014
Word on the Streets
Famous Faroe Islanders
by Sofia Ozols
September / October 2014 | 

The streets of Parleremo are named after famous writers for the language of each quarter. This is where we take a quick look at why they famous.

Heðin Brú
(17 August 1901 - 18 May 1987)

Hans Jakob Jacobsen was born 17 August 1901 in Ska̡levig, Faroe Islands. He was a great Faroese novelist and translator who was best known by his pen name Heðin Brú. He is considered to be the most important Faroese writer of his generation and he helped establish Faroese as a literary language.

Before his rise to fame, Brú started out at the age of 14 as a fisherman. He studied agriculture in Denmark for several years in the 1920s and when he returned to the Faroe Islands he became an agricultural adviser to the Faroese government in 1928. This job allowed him to travel to all parts of the country, during which time he made many contacts with ordinary village people. He began writing about what he saw in the form of novels.

• 1930 Lognbrá (Mirage)
• 1935 Fastatøkur (Firm Grip)
• 1940 Feðgar á ferð (The Old Man and His Sons)
• 1963 Leikum fagurt (Let's Play Nicely)
• 1970 Men lívið lær (But Life Laughs)
• 1972 Tað stóra takið (The Big Take)

Collection of short stories:
• 1936 Fjallaskuggin (The Mountain Shadow)
• 1948 Fólkatrøll
• 1966 Purkhús
• 1971 Búravnurin

Poetry and poems:
• 1934 Snípan
• 1953 Ásannað
• 1956 Fedrarnir
• 1961 Tey sjúku við strondina

His first two novels, Longbrá ("Mirage"), published in 1930 and Fastatøkur ("Firm Grip"), published in 1937, focused around the changing way of Faroese life as farming gave way to the fishing industry.

A similar theme was presented in his 1940 novel Fedgar á ferd ("The Old Man and His Sons", 1940), which became his most famous work. It has been translated into other languages, first Danish in 1962 (Fattigmandsære), then into German in 1966 (Des armen Mannes Ehre), and finally into English in 1970 (The Old Man and his Sons). It was his first novel to be translated into English. The novel tells the story of the transformation from a rural society into a modern one of fisheries, highlighting the conflicts between the generations that occur.

This was not his only theme, however. Brú's 1963 novel Leikum fagurt satirised the Faroese politics of the interwar period. He wrote about Faroese villages in both Men livið lær (1970) and Tað stóra takið (1972).

Brú also wrote three collections of novellas as well as translating two Shakespeare plays, Hamlet and The Tempest. He published a six-volume collection of Faroese fairy tales, Ævintýr I – VI, between 1959 and 1974.

Besides writing, Brú was the coeditor of the literary periodical Vardin and a member of the Faroese Scientific Society. He continued writing and also translated many works of world literature into Faroese up until his death in 1987.


Marianna Debes Dahl
(24 November 1947 - )

Marianna Debes Dahl is a Faroese writer. She was born in 1947 in Vestmanna and grew up in Tórshavn. She started attending a Danish boarding school when she was 12, then later spent a year as an exchange student in the USA. From there, she studied literature at the University of Copenhagen, then became qualified to teach on the Faroe Islands in 1975.

She worked for a few years as a school teacher, a college teacher, and a museum instructor at the Faroe Island's nature museum, the Føroya Nátturugripasavn.

Dahl started writing in 1975, creating works in a variety of different genres. She has written for all ages, from small children to adults, in the forms of short stories, novels, plays, travelogues, and translations of other works. She has also worked with the national Faroese Broadcasting company, Kringvarp Føroya, producing radio broadcasts along with translating and editing materials.

In 1978 she received the Barnamentanarheiðursløn Tórshavnar býráðs, which is a children's cultural prize of Tórshavn City Council, given out annually.

She held the position of president for the Association of Writers of the Faroe Islands from 1980 to 1981, becoming the first woman to do so. Dahl has also been chair of the association of writers, and from 1983 to 1993 was a critic for the communist newspaper Fríu Føroyar.

Dahl's first book was a children's book, Burtur á heiði, which she wrote for a competition and won. It focused on the contrast between rural and urban life, a theme she focused on in later works. Her main publications are Lokkalogi, published in 1984, Onglalag (1986), and Faldalín (1988). Dahl's historical novel, Vívil (1992), focused on the norms of capitalist society confronting socialist and female cultural values.

• 1984 Lokkalogi
• 1986 Onglalag
• 1988 Faldalín
• 1992 Vívil

• 1997 Úti á leysum oyggjum

Short stories
• 1978 Millumleikur
• 1978 Fløkjan
• 1980 Lepar
• 1980 Síðsta skúlaárið

Children's books
• 1975 Burtur á heiði
• 1979 Dirdri
• 1981 Skilnaður

Books for small children
• 1983 Bjarta og snigilin
• 1984 Døgg er dottin
• 1984 Hanna og Hóri
• 1986 Hóri letur upp
• 1985 Sturli súkklar
• 1986 Alvi er og ferðast
• 1990 Tunnuflakin

Picture books
• 1990 Sonurin

Books for teaching in the Faroese language for children
• 1983 Ása fer í skúla

• 1982 Latið altíð sólina skína

• 1979 Skálatoftir (written together with J.S. Hansen)
• 1990 Bardagabørn

• 1982 Uppreisnin (stories from South Africa )

Dahl is the first women to write an autobiography in Faroese, Úti á leysum oyggjum ("Out on loose islands"), which was published in 1997. She is married to a college teacher, editor, and text-book author, and has two children.

Word on the Streets - Famous Faroe Islanders
Writer: Sofia Ozols
Petey: Brú, Dahl
kristen1: Hay drying
• "Heðin Brú" Wikipedia <>
• "Hedin Brú" Encyclopædia Britannica <>
• "Marianna Debes Dahl" Wikipedia <>
• "Marianna Debes Dahl" Famous Fix <>

Miranda Metheny retains all copyright control over her images. They are used in Parrot Time with her expressed permission.

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


comments powered by Disqus
Subscribe now
and never miss an issue!

In this issue:

Missed something?
Find previous issues in the archives.

Become a Patron and help support us


Subscribe to Parrot Time!

Copyright © 2013-2018 Scriveremo Publishing