Icelandic authors Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jonasson are set to sponsor a new crime writing award to encourage more people to write in their first language.
The Blackbird award, worth $5,000 (£3,770), will be run in association with Reykjavik-based publisher Verold and the D H H Literary Agency in London. The winning author will also receive a publishing deal from Verold and international representation by David Headley of the D H H Literary Agency.
The authors said the award’s objective was to “inspire authors to try their hand at crime fiction as well as encouraging more people to write in Icelandic”.
The first winner of the prize, selected by a jury including Sigurðardóttir and Jonasson, will be announced in spring 2018.
It is hoped by the organisers that the winners will be published internationally, through the partnership with D H H Literary Agency which launched its own publishing company, The Dome Press, in February.
The award is open to published and unpublished writers, but the author must not have previously published in the crime genre.
Sigurðardóttir has written 13 crime novels, with her next work The Reckoning due in March 2018. The Silence of the Sea (both titles published by Hodder & Stoughton), won the 2015 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.
Jonasson has written nine crime novels and his next book in an English translation, Whiteout (Orenda), is due to be published in November 2017.
He has also signed a "significant" deal with St. Martin’s Press in the US in February.