Larissa Kyzer is an Icelandic to English literary translator, writer, and editorial professional. Although she grew up amongst the cacti and creosote of Tucson, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, she’s continually sought out cooler climes, first in New York City, where she lived for ten years while completing a BA in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing and an MSLIS in Library Science, and, later, in Reykjavík, Iceland. Larissa received a Fulbright Grant in 2012, which allowed her to move to Iceland and pursue her study of Icelandic language, contemporary Icelandic literature, and translation. She lived in Reykjavík for five years, during which time she completed a Master’s Degree in Þýðingafræði, Translation Studies, at the University of Iceland.
During her time in Iceland, Larissa worked as a staff journalist at The Reykjavík Grapevine, a wrangler of children and editor-in-chief of the newspaper club at an after-school program, a freelance travel writer for in-flight magazines Icelandair Stopover and My North, a teaching assistant at the University of Iceland; a writer for local publisher Crymogea (authoring the text for photographic travel guide 22 Places You Must See in the Faroe Islands), and finally, a freelance translator. As a translator, she’s taken on works of all stripes and genres—sample chapters of contemporary novels, short stories, poetry, plays, news articles, municipal planning reports, ad copy, scholarly essays, magazine features, and more. Her clientele has been as diverse as her projects, ranging from the City of Reykjavík and the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature office to Forlagið, one of Iceland’s leading publishers, university professors, publications such as Iceland Review, and a number of local authors and poets.
Larissa is enthusiastic about all the projects she takes on, but certain ones have been particularly special for her. Among her favorite recent translation projects are: the novel A Fist or a Heart (Icelandic: Elín, ýmislegt) by Kristín Eiríksdóttir (forthcoming September 2019, AmazonCrossing); Birds, a simply named, but phenomenally informative, irreverent, award-winning, and illustrated guide to Icelandic bird life; an as-yet unpublished crime novel, The Ninth Step by Ingvi Þór Kormáksson; experimental ‘4x4’ poems by Kári Tulinius; and The Stuff of Nightmares, a collection of horror stories written by and for Icelandic schoolchildren, ages 6 - 9 (ed. Márkus Már Efraím).
In 2017, Larissa moved back to Brooklyn, New York, although she spends several month a year in Reykjavík. She now works as a full-time translator and part-time writing instructor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is a board member of Ós, an Iceland-based international and literary collective, and is a member of the American Literary Translators Association and PEN America. She lives with her longtime partner, film critic and writer Mark Asch.