Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Jóhann Magnús Bjarnason (1866-1945)

Teacher, author.

Born in Iceland, at the age of 9 years he came to Canada with parents and settled on the Mooseland Hills in Halifax County, Nova Scotia where they lived until 1882 when they moved to Winnipeg. He attended high school and normal school there. At 21 he married Gudrun Bjornson. Over 25 years he taught school in various rural areas of Manitoba, later working for four years as secretary for a large contracting firm at Vancouver, British Columbia.

His published works included Tales and Poem (1892), A Book of Poems (1898), a novel Erikur Hanson published in three parts (1899 to 1903), a novel Braziliufararnir published in two parts (1905 and 1908), a collection of short stories, Vornaetur a Eigsheidum (1910), Haustkvold vid Havid (1923), Karl Lili (1935), and a serialized novel Raudardalurinn (The Red River Valley). In addition, he wrote numerous short stories and poems that appeared in Icelandic periodicals. He was made a Knight of the Royal Order of the Icelandic Falcon.

He retired to Elfros, Saskatchewan where he died on 8 September 1945. He is commemorated by a monument in the Rural Municipality of Bifrost.


“J. M. Bjarnason, writer, dies”, Winnipeg Free Press, 10 September 1945, page 4.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 22 January 2011

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