One ordinary spring morning in Reykjavik, Iceland, Thordis Elva kisses her son and partner goodbye before boarding a plane to do a remarkable thing: fly seven thousand miles to South Africa to confront the man who raped her when she was just sixteen. Meanwhile, in Sydney, Australia, Tom Stranger nervously embarks on an equally life-changing journey to meet Thordis, wondering whether he is worthy of this milestone. After exchanging hundreds of searingly honest emails over eight years, Thordis and Tom decided it was time to speak face to face. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, they meet in the middle, in Cape Town, South Africa, a country that is no stranger to violence and the healing power of forgiveness.South of Forgiveness is an unprecedented collaboration between a survivor and a perpetrator, each equally committed to exploring the darkest moment of their lives. It is a true story about being bent but not broken, facing fear with courage, and finding hope even in the most wounded of places. Personable, accessible, and compelling, South of Forgiveness is an intense and refreshing look at a gendered violence, rape culture, personal responsibility, and the effect that patriarchal cultures have on both men and women.
About the Author
Thordis Elva (b 1980) is known to Icelanders as a writer, journalist, public speaker and Woman of the Year 2015. Nine of her plays have been professionally produced. Her book about gender-based violence, Á mannamáli (The Plain Truth) was one of the most awarded Icelandic books of 2009, earning her a nomination to the Icelandic Literature Prize. In 2011, Thordis Elva founded an equality campaign that sparked a national debate, earning her a nomination to the Society Awards.
In 2012, she was commissioned to reinvent the approach to violence prevention and sex education in Icelandic schools. The resulting short films ‘Get Consent!’ (Fáðu já!) and ‘Stand Up For Yourself’ (Stattu með þér!), have won local and international awards. Thordis Elva was elected Chairman of the Board of the Icelandic Women’s Shelter 2012-2014 and has served on government committees working with the issue of violence.
She is a sought-after speaker on subjects like equality, gender issues, reproductive rights and revenge porn, the last of which is the subject of her latest lecture tour. She currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden with her partner Vidir and their son.
Thomas Stranger is based in Sydney, Australia. He has worked in both the Youth and Outdoor Recreation Sector since completing his Bachelor of Social Science in 2002. He also holds Certificate III and IV in Youth Work and is currently in the latter stages of a Masters of Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Outdoor and water based pursuits have been a steady and constant source of rejuvenation, and it’s safe to say this will always be the case.
His career path has seen him work in various sectors (Community Services, Charity, Construction, Hospitality) and he remains open to opportunities for change and challenge in the future, but for now is deeply content working locally and residing by Sydney harbour with his fiancé Cat.