Thursday, March 16, 2023 - 6:00pm
Brazos Bookstore--
2421 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005

Brazos Bookstore will host First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid in person on Thursday, March 16 at 6pm.

Eliza Reid will be in conversation with Melanie Lawson.

This event is hosted in partnership with the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston.


A New York Times Book Review Editor's Pick

"Secrets of the Sprakkar is a fascinating window into what a more gender-equal world could look like, and why it's worth striving for. Iceland is doing a lot to level the playing field: paid parental leave, affordable childcare, and broad support for gender equality as a core value. Reid takes us on an exploration not only around this fascinating island, but also through the triumphs and stumbles of a country as it journeys towards gender equality."

Hillary Rodham Clinton

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 a journalist, editor, and cofounder of the annual Iceland Writers Retreat. Eliza grew up on a hobby farm near Ottawa, Canada, and moved to Iceland in 2003, five years after winning a student raffle for a date with the man who became her husband, Gudni Jóhannesson. When he took office as president of Iceland on August 1, 2016, Eliza became the country’s First Lady. In that capacity, she has been active in promoting gender equality, entrepreneurship and innovation, tourism and sustainability, and the country’s writers and rich literary heritage. Being the spouse of the head of state is an immense privilege, full of surreal and wonderful experiences. Eliza has been candid about the role, which is an unofficial position with no job description, penning a lauded op-ed in the New York Times and delivering a TEDx Talk on the topic. Her first book, Secrets of the Sprakkar, was an instant bestseller in Iceland and Canada, a New York Times Book Review Editors' Pick, and is forthcoming or available in numerous languages.

Melanie Lawson just celebrated 35 years as an anchor and reporter at KTRK ABC 13. She is the anchor of Live at 5 and Eyewitness News at 11 a.m. She also hosts a weekly community affairs program called Crossroads, focusing on issues and events around the city. She has covered virtually every city, state and national election during her career. Melanie has interviewed a wide range of notables, including three U.S. Presidents, the Dalai Lama, poet Maya Angelou, former heavyweight champion George Foreman, director Spike Lee, legendary journalists Barbara Walters and Robin Roberts, evangelists Joel and Victoria Osteen, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and actors Harry Belafonte, Betty White and Denzel Washington. She’s also earned three Emmys for her reporting, among many other awards.

She has been honored for her work by Houston Community College, Houston Press Club, the Anti-Defamation League, Women in Film and Television, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Houston Association of Black Journalists, and the YWCA. She serves on the boards of Houston Ballet, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Houston Museum of African American Culture, Volunteer Houston and is a trustee for Princeton University. Melanie is also admitted to both the Texas and New York State Bars. Melanie and her partner, John Guess, are avid collectors of glass art and African American art. Lawson received her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University and a joint degree in Law and Journalism from Columbia University She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Houston Chapter of the Links, Inc. and the church founded by her parents, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. She is a member of IWF Texas-Houston and will moderate the session Global Citizens Engaged: Combatting Human Trafficking.

Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World By Eliza Reid, Jane Smiley (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Eliza Reid, Jane Smiley (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781728259413
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks - March 8th, 2023