Book Launch: Secrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza Reid in conversation with Adam Gopnik

February 8th

McNally Jackson Virtual Event

Iceland is the best place on earth to be a woman—but why?

For the past twelve years, the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report has ranked Iceland number one on its list of countries closing the gap in equality between men and women. What is it about Iceland that makes many women's experience there so positive? Why has their society made such meaningful progress in this ongoing battle, from electing the world's first female president to passing legislation specifically designed to help even the playing field at work and at home? And how can we learn from what Icelanders have already discovered about women's powerful place in society and how increased fairness benefits everyone?

Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, examines her adopted homeland's attitude toward women—the deep-seated cultural sense of fairness, the influence of current and historical role models, and, crucially, the areas where Iceland still has room for improvement. Reid's own experience as an immigrant from small-town Canada who never expected to become a first lady is expertly interwoven with interviews with dozens of sprakkar ("extraordinary women") to form the backbone of an illuminating discussion of what it means to move through the world as a woman, and how the rules of society play more of a role in who we view as "equal" than we may understand. Secrets of the Sprakkar is a powerful and atmospheric portrait of a tiny country that could lead the way forward for us all.

Eliza Reid is the co-founder of the acclaimed Iceland Writers Retreat. Eliza grew up near Ottawa, Canada, and moved to Iceland in 2003. She is the sitting First Lady of Iceland. Canadian-born writer Eliza Reid never expected to live in Iceland at all—much less become its First Lady. But after meeting her Icelandic husband at university, Eliza's life transformed when he won the presidency. Her new position granted her remarkable insight into the roles of Icelandic women in business, politics, the home, and more. Eliza's immigrant perspective offers an uplifting examination of Iceland's reputation: one of the best places in the world to be a woman.

Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his more than thirty years at the magazine, he has written more than a million words throughout hundreds of essays, from personal memoirs to reviews and profiles, along with much reporting from abroad, and including fiction, humor, and art criticism. His books, ranging from essay collections about Paris and food to children’s novels, include Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York, Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, and Winter: Five Windows on the Season (Fiftieth Anniversary Massey Lecture), At The Strangers’ Gate, and most recently, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, as well as the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. In March of 2013, Gopnik was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Republic. Two months later, he received an honoris causa from his Alma mater, McGill University and that same year also received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work in the musical theater includes the libretto and lyrics for the musical comedy “Our Table” with David Shire, and for the oratorio “Sentences” with Nico Muhly. He was made an officer of the Legion d’honneur in 2021. He lives in New York with his wife, Martha Parker, and their two children, varyingly present, Luke and Olivia.


Buy the Book: 
Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World By Eliza Reid Cover Image
ISBN: 9781728242163
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Sourcebooks - February 8th, 2022