Extremely touched by the wonderful reception

“We received an incredible number of messages from people, both gay and straight, who were happy about the fact that a woman, who had a same-sex partner, had been chosen to lead a country at a very difficult time in its history.”

A new book about the relationship between former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her wife, writer and journalist Jónína Leósdóttir is out in Iceland. For almost thirty years the pair strived to keep their relationship away from the public eye, but now with the publication of the book, entitled Jóhanna and I (i. Við Jóhanna), the two have for the very first time decided to openly discuss it. We met up with Jónína, who wrote the book, and began by asking what made them open up after all this time.

“The book was Jóhanna’s idea, but I was easily convinced,” she explains. “It’s simply the story of our relationship, which began almost 30 years ago and was, in fact, anything but simple for a long, long time. It is the true story of two people who went through a lot of pain, but love conquered in the end. So, we hope it will be an encouraging read – maybe even a tiny bit inspiring to people who are going through difficulties, even if they are struggling with some other obstacles.”

Jónína Leósdóttir, wife of former PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and author of Jóhanna and I (i. Við Jóhanna).
Jónína Leósdóttir, wife of former PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and author of Jóhanna and I (i. Við Jóhanna).

What was it like writing such a personal book?
“Very strange. I’m not sure it was good “therapy”, as I usually don’t dwell much on the past and to write this book I had to revisit some painful moments. But our relationship would not have survived if there had not also been some powerful feelings and great times.”

Why did you feel a need to keep your personal life so private in the first place?
“When you are constantly in the public eye, like Jóhanna was as a politician, it becomes extremely precious to keep your private life exactly that way, private. Besides, not all role models have to be the same and we preferred to concentrate on our jobs and our family life, without making the fact that we were a same-sex couple a big deal in the media. Should the goal not be that it’s no longer “an issue”, in the media or elsewhere, whether a couple is gay or straight?”

Shortly after Jóhanna became PM back in 2009 the two of you got married.  By doing so she became Iceland’s first female PM as well as the world’s first openly lesbian head of government. What did it feel like stepping into the limelight after being so private for so long?
“It is very peculiar to suddenly realize that people in all corners of the world are aware of your existence. But life goes on and after the initial surprise you just forget about it. As I am sure most of the people who were interested in news of “the lesbian PM” in Iceland a few years ago have also forgotten all about us now.”

What kind of reactions did you get at the time? Were there any surprises?
“The reaction was almost entirely positive. We received an incredible number of messages from people, both gay and straight, who were happy about the fact that a woman, who had a same-sex partner, had been chosen to lead a country at a very difficult time in its history. What surprised us most was how far this news reached. These greetings came from so many countries in far-away continents.”

Then the two of you just went full force, with you accompanying Jóhanna not only to The Faroe Islands, where LGBT people still face legal challenges, but also to China where matters are even worse. What prompted the decision to go?

In Jóhanna and I Icelands former PM and her wife shed light on their relationship which they kept private for almost 30 years.
In Jóhanna and I Icelands former PM and her wife shed light on their relationship which they kept private for almost 30 years.

“These visits were part of the PM’s Office protocol, as the leaders of these countries had visited Iceland before. So we didn’t actually pick them, per se.
The “ado” in The Faroe Islands was limited to a handful of men, and there have been many positive changes since we were there in 2010, for example an active LGBT society, Gay Pride etc.
And the official visit to China went really well, although some media reports claimed the Chinese had tried to “hide” me during the stay. I am sure they were not completely comfortable with a same-sex partner accompanying a head of state on such an occasion, but everyone showed me respect and I sat at the top table with Jóhanna and the Chinese PM during the honorary dinner etc.
But, of course, there is a long way to go for LGBT people in China. They have huge challenges to overcome and I wish them all the best.”

Was it a challenge for the two of you going together to China?
“Not at all. But we knew and felt that it was important.”

Looking back what have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced together?
“Oh, there have been so many, especially during the first half of our relationship. Both external challenges and obstacles within ourselves.”

Do you think readers have been surprised by the book’s content?
“I know that already, as the mere fact that we’ve been together for almost three decades surprises most people. Only our families and closest friends knew how far back our story reached and how hard those first 10-15 years were.”

Now that the book is out, how do you feel about the good reviews it’s getting, from critics and public alike?
“I am extremely touched by the wonderful reception the book has had, right from the start. I keep running into people – often total strangers – who say they have already read the book and are full of praise. And today (Monday 11th of November) a newspaper published an editorial on the importance of Við Jóhanna and their top columnist also writes a very positive piece on the book today. So, I’m ecstatic.”

When will it be available in English or other languages?
“It’s early days, yet. The book has only just been published here in Iceland.”

Finally, what lies ahead for you two?
“Hopefully, a few good years of togetherness with less stress and more holidays and family time than we have managed during the last five years.”

And with that we thank Jónína for her time and wish her and Jóhanna the best of luck.

Editor’s note: It may be added that the book was publicized at the Frankfurt Book Fair last October, which is a indication it may be published in other languages. Hopefully sooner than later for those keen on getting a copy. 

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website: https://blush.is/

    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

      Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

      Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

      In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

        With over 4,300 employees in 39 offices around the world, at Nasdaq we all contribute to the success of the company and its culture, and each one of us has the ability to make a difference. When it comes to our core mission and values, we embrace the role of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) as a fundamental driver of our corporate growth, workplace culture and market development. We strive to create a culture that embraces the power of different perspectives—a culture where people’s unique backgrounds and different experiences helps us fuel innovation and support our clients around the world.

        Our unique position at the center of the capital markets allows us to see firsthand how these values have redefined corporate culture and success, deepening and accelerating our own commitment to champion inclusive growth and prosperity, as we strive to create more equitable opportunities to help people of all backgrounds reach their full potential. Most notably, we published our diversity statistics for the first time in 2020. These metrics serve as a quantitative assessment of where we are today and help determine what strategies we need to adopt to enhance diversity in the workplace. We recognize that we have much work to do, but we are steadfast in our commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture—one that reflects the communities in which we live, allows all employees to be their true, authentic selves and fosters individual growth and achievement.

        As we move forward together, we will continue advancing diverse ideas and perspectives that help fulfill the promise of a more inclusive and prosperous world. We aim to set the pace for rethinking capital markets and economies anywhere and everywhere. To learn more about the company, technology solutions and career opportunities, visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @Nasdaq, or at www.nasdaq.com.

        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
        comes from 2.000 meters within the earth where seawater and freshwater converge in a tectonic realm of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals—the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

        From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing two hotels, three restaurants, three
        geothermal lagoons, a subterranean spa, a renowned line of skin care, a thriving research center, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

        Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

        The Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

        The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

        Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

        Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

        More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

          - for all your Apple needs

          From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

          Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
          For all your Apple needs. We are here.

          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Contact Us

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