Thordis Elva

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Thordis Elva (Icelandic : Þórdís Elva Þorvaldsdóttir) is an Icelandic playwright, author and activist who is an outspoken advocate for women's rights who gained world wide recognition for writing the book South of Forgiveness. She was voted Woman of the Year 2015 by the Federation of Icelandic Women's Societies in Reykjavík. She currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden. [1] [2] [3] [4] Nine of her plays have been professionally staged in Iceland's most prominent theatres. She was nominated to the Icelandic Theatre Prize as Playwright of the Year 2006. She has also represented Iceland in conferences for the world’s best young playwrights (World Interplay, 2005 and Interplay Europe 2008). Thordis Elva became one of the frontrunners of the #metoo revolution in Iceland, accepting the Person of the Year Award 2017 on behalf of the movement [5] .

Icelandic language North Germanic language mainly spoken in Iceland

Icelandic is a North Germanic language spoken in Iceland. Along with Faroese, Norn, and Western Norwegian it formerly constituted West Nordic; while Danish, Eastern Norwegian and Swedish constituted East Nordic. Modern Norwegian Bokmål is influenced by both groups, leading the Nordic languages to be divided into mainland Scandinavian languages and Insular Nordic. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages until the Portuguese settlement in the Azores.

Playwright Person who writes plays

A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes plays. One such person, one of the most famous in the world, is William Shakespeare, who lived during both the Tudor and Stuart eras of British history.

An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existence to anything" and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created.


Literary works

Thordis' most well known book is South of Forgiveness, a documentation of her rape and journey to forgiveness and freedom, in which Thordis collaborated with her perpetrator. In 1996, Tom Stranger, aged 18, was offered a student exchange trip to Iceland where he met 16-year-old Thordis Elva at a theatrical event organized by the school they both attended. [6] They began a romantic relationship in Reykjavík, and had been in a relationship for over a month prior to the sexual assault taking place. Stranger took Thordis Elva home on the night of a school Christmas dance where she had become intoxicated by alcohol. She was raped by Stranger in her home. Tom ended their relationship two days after the rape and returned to Australia when his exchange program was completed. [6]

Reykjavík Capital and largest city in Iceland

Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay. Its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 128,793, it is the center of Iceland's cultural, economic and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination.

Alcohol intoxication Physical effects due to ethanol (alcohol)

Alcohol intoxication, also known as drunkenness or alcohol poisoning, is the negative behavior and physical effects due to the recent drinking of ethanol (alcohol). Symptoms at lower doses may include mild sedation and poor coordination. At higher doses, there may be slurred speech, trouble walking, and vomiting. Extreme doses may result in a decreased effort to breathe, coma, or death. Complications may include seizures, aspiration pneumonia, injuries including suicide, and low blood sugar.

Alcohol (drug) active ingredient in alcoholic beverages

Alcohol, sometimes referred to by the chemical name ethanol, is a psychoactive drug that is the active ingredient in drinks such as beer, wine, and distilled spirits. It is one of the oldest and most common recreational substances, causing the characteristic effects of alcohol intoxication ("drunkenness"). Among other effects, alcohol produces a mood lift and euphoria, decreased anxiety, increased sociability, sedation, impairment of cognitive, memory, motor, and sensory function, and generalized depression of central nervous system function. Ethanol is only one of several types of alcohol, but it is the only type of alcohol that is found in alcoholic beverages or commonly used for recreational purposes; other alcohols such as methanol and isopropyl alcohol are toxic.

Nine years later at the age of 25, Thordis Elva, suffering from emotional trauma from the event, contacted Stranger by email and he responded. After 8 years of communicating via email, they arranged to meet in Cape Town, South Africa for a period of one week to focus on "reconciliation and forgiveness". [6] [7] [3] [4] During their time together, Thordis Elva, in collaboration with Stranger, authored the book South of Forgiveness. [8] [9] [10]

Cape Town Legislative capital of South Africa

Cape Town is a legislative capital of South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Thordis also wrote, 'The Plain Truth' (Á mannamáli), written in the style of literary journalism about gender-based violence in Iceland and its status within the criminal justice system, the public discourse and the political landscape. The Plain Truth was one of the most critically acclaimed books published in Iceland 2009, receiving a nomination to the Icelandic Literature Prize, amongst other awards [11] .

Public speaking

Thordis Elva speaks at many conferences including in front of the UN. She advocates for gender equality and helps people understand the gender differences in online harassment. She has also toured with Stranger and spoken publicly about their experiences, appearing on TED talks, BBC Newsnight and at London's Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre. [6] [12]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Royal Festival Hall concert hall in London, England

The Royal Festival Hall is a 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, not far from Hungerford Bridge, in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is a Grade I listed building, the first post-war building to become so protected. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are resident in the hall.

Southbank Centre complex of artistic venues in London, England

Southbank Centre is a complex of artistic venues in London, England, on the South Bank of the River Thames.

Army of Light

Thordis has created a large Instagram following, affectionately termed "The Army of Light," when she was open and honest about her pregnancy with her twins, Swan and Acer. She beat incredible odds by staying on bed rest after her water broke at 17 weeks pregnant. Her twins are both healthy and happy and she pays a large tribute of that to her Army of Light, sending her love and light from all over the world. She now uses this platform to spread awareness of others around the world in need of light, and forwards encouraging messages from followers to those going through a difficult moment.

Short films

Elva was commissioned by the Icelandic government to change the approach to violence prevention and sex education in elementary schools [13] , resulting in the short-films 'Get Consent' and 'Stand By Yourself', both of which were aired on national television and are still used in schools across Iceland with unprecedented results. 'Get Consent' has won many awards and has been screened in the UN and European Commission [14] . 'Stand By Yourself' has been nominated for the 2015 Edda Awards [15] .

The Edda Award is an accolade bestowed by the Icelandic Film and Television Academy, and is the most prominent film and television award in Iceland, awarded annually in February. The Edda has awarded for outstanding work in various categories of film and television annually since 1999. No awards were held in 2009.

Policy making & expertise

Thordis has taken part in shaping national policy on gender-based violence, serving on the government appointed committee that crafted Iceland's current action plan. As of spring 2016, she has contributed to the making of policy regarding violence against children in Reykjavík municipality.

Elva has also served on expert panels for the Nordic Council of Ministers (2015/16), and for the Icelandic government.

See also

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  1. Thordis Elva; Stranger, Tom (5 March 2017). "Can I forgive the man who raped me?". The Guardian .
  2. "Women of the World event drops rape victim and her attacker - BBC Newsbeat". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  3. 1 2 BBC Newsnight (10 March 2017). "'Why I wrote a book with my rapist': Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger - BBC Newsnight". YouTube.
  4. 1 2 Taylor-Coleman, Jasmine (15 March 2017). "Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Should a rapist be invited on stage?".
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Our story of rape and reconciliation | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  7. "Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger: Our story of rape and reconciliation | TED Talk". Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  8. Thordis, Elva; Stranger, Tom (2017). South of Forgiveness. London. ISBN   9781911344056.
  9. Elva, Tom Stranger Thordis (8 March 2017). "South of Forgiveness". Scribe Publications via Amazon.
  10. "South of Forgiveness | Book | Scribe Australia". 2017-03-08. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  11. "aboutme | RESUME". Thordis Elva. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  12. Other Articles (2017-02-13). "Stop applauding a rapist for admitting he raped someone". Retrieved 2017-03-18.