Literary attractions

Discover Reykjavik's literary side by taking a literary walking tour through the heart of Reykjavik. Also, find bookshops, libraries and literary places of interest on our literary map.

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Explore our timeline

The timeline presents a broad overview of Icelandic literary history from the Saga age to the present.

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Events

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2
Sep
16.07.15 - 03.10.15
All day

Endurbókun / Ree-Booking: Book-Art Exhibition

Eight female artists, all members of the artist group ARKIR, display a variety of book-art at the Reykjavik City Library branch library in Spöngin in Grafarvogur. All the artwork is…
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News: Friday, 21. August 2015

Write.Drink.Read.

IDNO-590x442

The Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature and the Reykjavík International Literature Festival offer a happy writing hour at the Iðnó Theatre festival bar on Thursday, September 10. We write. We drink. We read our work.

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News: Friday, 21. August 2015

Literary Mixtape

Mixtape

Learn how to create a literary remix. We will read and discuss texts by contemporary Native American poets and writers of the Harlem Renaissance in this creative writing workshop. Then, you will create your own poems and stories in response.

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Quotes

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Vigdís Grímsdóttir
Vigdís Grímsdóttir

“My imagination makes any journey without you a journey with you. Without my imagination I couldn’t go anywhere”

Z: A Love Story
HKL
Halldór Laxness

“Flowers are immortal. You cut them in autumn and the grow again in spring somewhere.”

 

The Atom Station, 1948
HKL
Halldór Laxness

“It’s a pity we don’t whistle at one another, like birds. Words are misleading”

Under The Glacier
einarmargudmundsson[1]
Einar Már Gudmundsson

“I screamed and vanished into the depths of the soul where I encountered earlier planes of existence like birthdays from the past.”

Angels of the Universe, 1995
HKL
Halldór Laxness

“Whoever doesn´t live in poetry cannot survive here on earth.”

Under the Glacie, 1968
fridaasigurdar
Fríða Sigurðardóttir

“It was Martha who woke me up. This morning. Thinking about Katherine and her extraordinary trip, I had fallen asleep some time around dawn – a dreamless sleep.”

Night Watch 1990
matthiasjohannessen
Matthías Johannessen

“How strange the spring. I’m beginning to look forward

to waking at daybreak, looking out, inhaling

sky and earth, salt, and cool mountains”

"Happy Summer"
peturgunnarsson[1]
Pétur Gunnarsson

“on earth´s part / all days start beautifully / patiently it revolves and revolves / with its trees / and oceans and lakes / deserts and volcanoes / the two of us and the rest of you / and all the animals”

 

einarmargudmundsson[1]
Einar Már Gudmundsson

“I trace the interest in genealogy in Iceland to the lack of trees. Because of the sparsity of trees, people opt for family trees and find themselves forests among their forebears … ”

Angles of the Universe

Videos

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Light Seeps In – Poetry Night

Poets Anton Helgi Jónsson, Elías Knörr (aka Elías Portela) and Mary ...

Dear Iceland – A Poetic Letter from Edmonton

Edmonton Poet Laureate, Mary Pinkoski, visited Reykjavik for the 2015 Winter ...

Isla del sol / Sóley

Juan Camilo Román Estrada and Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson perform Juan's ...

Hamingjumaður / Un hombre afortunado

Adalsteinn Ásberg Sigurdsson reads his poem Hamingjumadur and Juan Camilo ...

Mynd / Image

Icelandic writer Thórdís Björnsdóttir reads her poem Mynd and Irène ...

Writer Sjón talks to The Guardian

The Icelandic writer Sjón tells The Guardian about modern folk tales and more. ...

Small Island, Big Stories

An introductory film for Iceland's Guest of Honour appearance at the 2011 ...

Sleipnir and the Joy of Reading

The eight legged horse of Odinn, Sleipnir, from Norse mythology is Reykjavik ...

A Season of World Literature: Mazen Maarouf

A poetry reading with Palestinian poet Mazen Maarouf, Reykjavík's first ICORN ...

Writer Pétur Gunnarsson´s take on Reykjavík´s literary history

Writer Pétur Gunnarsson´s take on Reykjavík´s literary ...

A short video on literary Reykjavík

Overview of literary Reykjavík which has been designated a UNESCO City of ...

Literature.is

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Pétur Gunnarsson

peturgunnarsson[1]

Pétur Gunnarsson was born in Reykjavík on June 15, 1947. He received his Masters degree (maitrise) in phylosophy from Université d’Aix-Marsaille in France in 1975. In his career as a writer, Pétur has taken part in numerous cooperative projects. In 1977 he wrote the play Grænjaxlar for The National Theatre of Iceland along with the actors and the music group Spilverk þjóðanna. He wrote the lyrics for the LP Lög unga fólksins, also in 1977 and the play Krókmakarabærinn in the same year in cooperation with the Icelandic Drama School. Pétur has also done work for radio and television, for instance he wrote the script for a documentary on Halldór […]

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Andri Snær Magnason

Andri Snær Magnason, rithöfundur.

Andri Snær Magnason was born in Reykjavík on July 14, 1973. His family has lived in the Reykjavík suburb Árbær, where ge grew up, through four generations but his family roots are also in the North of Iceland. Andri studied Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland and finished his B.A. degree in 1997. His final paper on the poet Ísak Harðarson was published by the University in 1999. Andri Snær worked for the Árni Magnússon Institute, researching its collection of taped Icelandic folk poetry. This project received an award from the President of Iceland and the poetry was later published as the CD Raddir (Voices) by the publishing house […]

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Fríða Sigurðardóttir

fridaasigurdar

Fríða (Áslaug) Sigurðardóttir was born on December 11, 1940 on the farm Hesteyri in Hornstrandir in the Westfjords of Iceland. She graduated with a Cand. Mag. degree in Icelandic language and literature from the University of Iceland in 1979. She worked as a librarian at the University Library and the American Library in Reykjavik from 1964 – 1970, worked at the faculty of humanities at The University of Iceland from 1971 – 1973, and was a sessional teacher at the University and The Iceland College of Education from 1973 – 1975. After 1978, Fríða dedicated her time to writing. Fríða Á. Sigurðardóttir’s first work was the short story collection Þetta er […]

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Matthías Johannessen

matthiasjohannessen

Matthías Johannessen fæddist í Reykjavík 3. janúar 1930. Hann lauk Cand.-mag.-prófi í norrænum fræðum frá Háskóla Íslands árið 1955, með íslenskar bókmenntir sem aðalgrein. Hann lagði stund á almenna bókmenntasögu og leiklistarfræði í Kaupmannahöfn um tíma og rannsakaði m.a. verk Gríms Thomsen. Matthías starfaði lengst af við Morgunblaðið, fyrst sem blaðamaður frá 1951-1959 og síðan sem ritstjóri fram í ársbyrjun 2001 þegar hann lét af störfum. Matthías hefur á löngum ritferli sent frá sér ljóðabækur, leikrit, ritgerðir, viðtalsbækur og ævisögur, þýðingar, annast útgáfur og samið formála að ýmsum ritum, auk fjölbreytts efnis í blöðum og tímaritum. Matthías er þekktur fyrir samtöl sín við kunna sem og síður þekkta einstaklinga, m.a. […]

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Bragi Ólafsson

bragiolafsson[1]

Bragi Ólafsson was born in Reykjavík on August 11, 1962. He studied Spanish at the University of Iceland for one year, and at the University of Granada in Spain 1985 – 1986. He has done a number of jobs in Reykjavík, at the post office, in a bank and a record store and was a member of different music bands for a number of years. One of them was the Sugarcubes, and Bragi toured with them in Europe and America. Bragi’s first published work, the poetry collection Dragsúgur (Draught), appeared in 1986. Since then, he has published other books of poetry, short story collections, plays and novels. His first novel, […]

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Jón Kalman Stefánsson

jonkalmanstefans[1]

Jón Kalman Stefánsson was born in Reykjavík on December 17th 1963. He lived there for the first 12 years of his life, then moved to Keflavík and returned to Reykjavík in 1986 with his higschool diploma. From 1975 – 1982 he spent a good deal of his time in West Iceland, where he did various jobs, worked in a slaughterhouse, in the fishing industry, doing masonry and for one summer he worked as a police officer at Keflavík International Airport. Jón Kalman studied literature at the University of Iceland from 1986 until 1991 but did not finish his degree. He taught literature at two highschools for a period of time […]

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Svava Jakobsdóttir

svavajakobs[1]

Svava Jakobsdóttir was born on October 4, 1930 in the small town of Neskaupstaður. She graduated from highschool in 1949 and completed a B.A. degree in English and American literature at Smith College in Northhampton in Massachusetts in 1952. Svava was a graduate student in Old Norse literature at Somerville College in Oxford, England, from 1952-1953, and studied Sweedish modern literature at Uppsala University in Sweeden from 1965-1966. Svava worked for the Icelandic Foreign Ministry and in the Stockholm Embassy from 1955 to 1964. She was a journalist for Lesbók Morgunblaðsins 1966-1969 and worked in the department of broadcasting at the National Radio (RÚV) in 1969-1970. Svava was a member […]

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Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

yrsa

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavík on August 24th, 1963. She graduated from high-school in 1983, finished a B.Sc.- degree in civil engineering from the University of Iceland in 1988 and M.Sc.- degree in the same field from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in 1997. Yrsa works as a civil engineer for the engineering-company Fjarhitun, as well as being a writer. In 1998 Yrsa published her first book for children, Þar lágu Danir í því. To this date her books for children and teenagers are five, the newest is Biobörn (BIO Children), published in 2003. In 2000 the Icelandic department of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) awarded […]

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Thor Vilhjálmsson

thorvilhjalmsson[1]

Thor Vilhjálmsson was born in Edinburgh in Scotland on August 12, 1925. He completed highschool in 1944, studied at the nordic department of the University of Iceland in 1944-1946, at the University of Nottingham in 1946-1947 and at Sorbonne in Paris from 1947-1952. Thor was a librarian at the National Library of Iceland from 1953-1955 and worked for the National Theatre from 1956-1959, as well as working abroad as a guide. Thor has served in numerous capacities for writers and artists, he was a member of the board of The Writer’s Union of Iceland from 1972-1974, and the chairman of the Federation of Icelandic Artists from 1975-1981. He was on […]

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Ingunn Snædal

Ingunn Snaedal

Ingunn Snædal was born in Egilsstaðir on August 10th, 1971 and grew up in Jökuldalur in East-Iceland. She graduated with a B.ed degree from The Iceland University College of Education in 1996 and studied Irish at Galway University in Ireland from 1996-1997. In 2006 Ingunn started her Icelandic studies at The University of Iceland. She lived in Ireland from 1996-1998, in Cost Rica and Mexico from 1998-1999, in Spain 2001-2002 and stayed in Denmark for the summer of 1998. In Iceland, Ingunn has been an elementary school teacher, a proof-reader, a housekeeper with a road-construction team, worked at a gas station, served at restaurants, run errands, been a mailman, a […]

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