February 19, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Melville House to publish book by mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr


Ignarr official photocelandic comedian invented a political party and won the mayoral election; his term ends June 2014

Brooklyn, NY, February 18, 2014 – Melville House has announced the acquisition of a memoir from the absurdist comedian who ran for Mayor of Reykjavík, Jón GnarrGnarr: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World will be published in June 2014. Gnarr founded Iceland’s “Best Party” in 2009, in the wake of the country’s economic collapse, to satirize his country’s political system. He campaigned, and won, on a platform of free towels for public pools, a polar bear for the zoo, and a drug-free Parliament “by 2020.” Gnarr has declared his retirement from politics at the end of his term in June. (More on Gnarr here.)

In Gnarr, the mayor recounts his formation of the Best Party, his own political journey, and the lessons he learned from his campaign and time in office. “Best party is coming to America and the world! Everybody should have the right to vote Best! We are the world!” says Gnarr, adding that “Just because something is funny and makes you laugh, doesn’t mean it can’t be serious.”

“If there’s two things we like at Melville House, it’s comedy and political activism, and we’ve published a lot of each,” says Melville House co-publisher Valerie Merians. “The American political scene is a pretty humorless place these days. We can learn a lot from Jón Gnarr.”

Acquiring editor Kelly Burdick says, “We’re excited to add Gnarr to the Melville House list, just as his political career comes to an end. Gnarr is obviously funny, but he’s also admirably candid, no doubt because he’s not actually a politician.” Burdick, associate publisher of Melville House, acquired World English rights from German publisher Klett-Cotta.

GNARR: How I Became the Mayor of a Large City in Iceland and Changed the World will be published as a hardcover on June 24, 2014. The author will be in New York to launch the book.

Contact: Julia Fleischaker; julia [at] mhpbooks.com; 718-722-9204

Acclaim for Jón Gnarr
“Certainly my favorite mayor. No competition, in fact.”
—Noam Chomsky
“More mayors in the world should be like Jón Gnarr.”
—Lady Gaga
“Jón Gnarr has given the mayor profession a new human earnesty with radical stand-up style, and has chiseled away the stagnancy in that post with explosive ridicule humor. The Best Party has put some sense back into Reykjavík’s bills and liberated it from corrupted politics and power games with straightforward housekeeping accountancy. Combined they have changed Iceland!!!”

About the author
Jón Gnarr was born in 1967 in Reykjavík. He formed the Best Party in 2009 and became mayor of Reykjavík in 2010. He starred in the series The Night Shift, which aired on BBC 4 in 2011.