Beck Lecture series

The Beck Lecture series at the University of Victoria focuses on various aspects of Icelandic literature and culture. Richard and Margaret Beck made provision in their wills for a special fund to be established at the University of Victoria to provide public lectures on Icelandic language and literature. Richard passed away on July 23, 1980, and Margaret on December 10, 1985. The first "Richard and Margaret Beck Lecture on Icelandic Literature" took place on February 14, 1988. Since then, the University of Victoria has hosted over 80 lectures on a wide range of topics. 

The most recent Beck Lecture hosted the acclaimed Icelandic writer, Sjón. He won the Nordic Council's Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox and the Icelandic Literary Prize for the novel 'Moonstone – The Boy Who Never Was'. His novel, 'Red Milk', addresses the allure of fascism and Neo-Nazism. As a poet, librettist and lyricist, he has published nine poetry collections, written four opera libretti and lyrics for various artists. In 2001 he was nominated for an Oscar for his lyrics in the film Dancer in The Dark. His latest project was being a co-screenwriter for the Icelandic horror movie 'Lamb' which debuted in 2021 to critical acclaim and is Iceland's official submission to the Oscar's for the Best International Feature Film.

Sjón was “interviewed” in the form of a conversation by Dr. Peter Stenberg, an emeritus professor of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies at UBC.

Sjon: In Conversation with Peter Stenberg

You can find information about the past lectures in the Archive and other interesting information related to the Margaret Beck Fund under the tabs below.


Dr. Megan Swift, University of Victoria (2019-2021, current)
Dr. Helga Thorson, University of Victoria (2015-2019, 2021)
Dr. John Tucker, University of Victoria (emeritus)
Dr. W. D. Valgardson, University of Victoria (emeritus)


Jennifer Sauter, University of Victoria

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