Heida: A Shepherd at the Edge of the World

Awarded the Icelandic Booksellers’ Prize and the Women’s Literature Prize in Iceland

You can also see BBCs documentary about Heida here: http://www.bbc.com/travel/gallery/20171003-the-icelandic-model-who-shears-sheep

A seasonal portrait of an Icelandic superheroine

Heiða, named after the one-and-only Heidi of literary fame, is a solitary farmer, with a flock of five-hundred sheep on the farm Ljótarstaðir in a remorseless area bordering Iceland’s highlands. One of Heiða’s nearest neighbors is Iceland’s most notorious volcano, Katla, which has repeatedly driven away the inhabitants of Ljótarstaðir ever since people first started farming there in the twelfth century.

The heroic tale of this charismatic young woman, who had a chance to work as a model in New York, is divided according to the four seasons. Heiða tells of her struggles with herself and the powers of nature with deep feeling, keen wit and humor, weaving the narrative with anecdotes of her animals and farm work. Heiða’s energetic narrative is interspersed with her deftly-composed quatrains, as well as her insightful reflections on Icelandic nature.


A unique work of art. An ode to Icelandic nature and the work of Icelandic farmers

Farmers Gazette, Iceland

A textbook on being an Icelander

The Morning Paper

As if you were
opening a window looking into a new landscape, into an incredible life

Elke Heidenreich, author, Germany

A true story that reads like a novel

Rúnar Helgi Vignisson, professor of literature, Iceland

The narrative style is clear (...) and at the same time exciting and authentic. The author uses markers in her simple but expressive language, portraying the heaviest work with little sleep and Heida's constant self-discipline for the goal of living in harmony with nature, humans and animals (...)Recommended for all readers.

Borromausverein, Germany

Heida Āsgeirdóttir is a modern heroine who lives a very ancient life. And this story of a remarkable year in her life combines all the elements needed for a truly memorable satisfying memoir. Feminist heroine (and former model returned to the family farm PLUS a rumbling volcano PLUS a truly unusual shepherd’s life in the wilds of Iceland PLUS the foiling of the power company’s plan to flood her farm. I can’t wait to introduce the English-speaking world to HEIDA

Georgina Laycock, editor at John Murray, UK

Heida is an ex-model who runs a farm in an isolated part of Iceland and is as tough as anything: the story of her life is fascinating. I loved A SHEPHERD’S LIFE and I found this peep into a totally different shepherd’s life a really absorbing read.

Jo Brand, UK

I consumed the book at speed and on the few occasions I had to put it down, one or other members of my household were quick to pick it up: the cover alone excited a wish to read it…I had the feeling while reading it that Heida was in MY kitchen, idly chatting to ME and that I was getting to know her really well, as a close friend. My overall feeling is gratitude for its transparent honesty. So much biography sets out to paint a picture of someone with at least some of the flaws/facts removed or altered. It causes a huge sigh of relief to read one where we are given a rounded picture of a real person doing a real job. I find any work about a farmer irresistible but am often disappointed; not so this time… It was a privilege to be 'talked to' as a friend and allowed to share a fine farmer's life for a few hours.’

ROSAMUND YOUNG, author of Secret life of cows

Where this book really sings is when Heida describes handling her flock – clipping, feeding, lambing, slaughtering, scanning for pregnancy

Herald, Scotland

Heida is a beautifully written ode (or should that be Icelandic saga?) to life as a shepherd at the edge of the world.

Countryman, UK