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Kristjana Gunnars was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1948 and immigrated to Canada in 1969. She has one son, Eyvindur Kang, born in 1971. In 1973, she received a B.A. from Oregon State University, and an M.A. from the University of Regina in 1978. Since 1981, Gunnars has worked as a freelance creative writer, holding positions as Writer-In-Residence at the Regina Public Library (1988-1989) and the University of Alberta (1989-1990), and using her knowledge of writing to teach courses at Okanagan College (1990-1991) and the University of Alberta, where she has been an Associate Professor of English since 1991. In addition, Gunnars has written several well-received books of poetry, including Settlement Poems, I and II (1980, 1981), One-Eyed Moon Maps (1981), Wake-Pick Poems, (1982), The Night Workers of Ragnarok (1985), Carnival of Longing (1989), and Exiles Among Us (1996). She is also the author of two books of short fiction, The Axe's Edge (1983) and The Guest House (1992). In addition, she has authored three novels: The Prowler (1989), which won the McNally Robinson Award for Manitoba Book of the Year, The Substance of Forgetting (1992), and The Rose Garden (1996). Her poetic prose work, Zero Hour (1991), was nominated for a Governor General's Award. Works that she edited include Unexpected Fictions: New Icelandic Canadian Writing (1985) and Crossing the River: Essays in Honour of Margaret Laurence (1988). Her writing strongly reveals her Icelandic background, as well as her understanding of the intricacies and difficulties of the human condition.