Sofie Vanherpen (°1981) studied Germanic Philology (Dutch and English Literature and Linguistics, 1999-2004) and Swedish (2005-2007) at the university of Ghent. From October 2005 until May 2006, she did an intership as a librarian at the library of the Scandinavian department at the university of Ghent as part of her studies in Information and Library Science at the university of Antwerp (2005-2006).
In June 2008 she started working as a cataloguer in the Booktower - the University Library of Ghent. About a year later, in September 2009, she started working as an independent scholar on her PhD project, entitled Auðr/Unnr djúp(a)uðga Ketilsdóttir: tracing the life and legacy of a female legend through texts. The topic of her project is the representation of one specific Viking-age woman in medieval and early modern Icelandic literature over a period spanning roughly from the middle of the 12th century to the late 19th century and how cultural memory and 9th century female Viking identity are constructed and transmitted in literary form in Iceland over a longue durée period.
To a present-day audience, this Viking-age woman is known by two names; the first one is Auðr (she is known as Unnr djúp(a)uðga, the famous foremother, in Laxdæla saga). However, various contemporary medieval texts, similar to Laxdæla, paint an alternative picture of Unnr to the one found in Laxdæla. These contradictory medieval interpretations in their turn are reinterpreted and rewritten in early modern Icelandic literature to form new representations of Aur. The portrait of Unnr, or Auðr as she is called in most of these other sources, is shaped and reshaped over time in Icelandic literature resulting in conflicting interpretations of this one female character.