Summary

Drawing on real-life events, Kent retells the story of Agnes Magnusdottir, convicted of murder in 1829 Iceland. Kent won the 2011 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award for this work when she was a 26-year-old Ph.D. student in Australia; rights have since been sold to at least 18 countries after heated bidding.


A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horried at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?