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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31
Aug
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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1
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
4
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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6
Sep
19:30 - 21:30

Meet the Author - Carsten Jensen

The program will take place in scandinavian languages. Meet the famous danish author Carsten Jenson in the Nordic house in Iceland. Free entrance. CARSTEN JENSEN (f. 1952) is a Danish…
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6
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
11
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
13
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
15
Sep
20:00 - 21:45

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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News: Wednesday, 17. August 2016

NonfictioNOW Call for Panel Proposals

NonFictionNow_LogoSmall

The NonfictioNOW conference, to be held 2–4 June 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland, seeks panel proposals that bring together three to five people to engage with rich and vibrant nonfiction topics.

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News: Friday, 20. May 2016

Icelandic Sagas – The Greatest Hits

Icelandic-Sagas

This summer, from May through August 2016, a unique play based on the Icelandic Sagas is staged at the Reykjavík Concert Hall Harpa. The play, which is in English, gives visitors and Icelanders alike a refreshing and funny insight into these old stories written about the Viking time in Iceland.

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Quotes

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right
svavajakobs[1]
Svava Jakobsdóttir

“She got out of bed very early that morning. She went about everything quietly so as not to wake her parents in the next room. She then crept to the desk by the window and tore yesterday off the calendar.”

The Lodger and Other Stories
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

Under the Glacie, 1968
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”

 

HKL
Halldór Laxness

“One never knows how things are going to turn out, and that’s why I say it’s essential never to lean too far to the one side, especially in politics.”

Independent People
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
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
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
svavajakobs[1]
Svava Jakobsdóttir

“She had begun to fear those moments which interrupted her usual rush from morning to night. More and more often she lost her poise if she stopped to make a desicion.”

The Lodger and Other Stories

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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Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

audurolafsdottir[1]

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1958. She is a lecturer of art history and -theory at the University of Iceland and has also taught art history elsewhere. For some time she was the director of the University of Iceland’s Art Museum. Auður Ava has also been a curator and has written about art and art theory in newspapers and magazines. Aður Ava’s first published work of fiction was the novel Upphækkuð jörð (Elevetated Ground) in 1998. Her second novel, Rigning í nóvember (Rain in November) came out in 2004, followed by Afleggjarinn (Rosa Candida) in 2007. Auður sent forward her first book of poetry, Sálmurinn um glimmer (Hymn on […]

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Einar Kárason

einarkarason[1]

Einar Kárason was born in Reykjavík on November 24, 1955. After finishing highschool in 1975, he studied literature at the University of Iceland until 1978. He did a variety of jobs with his studies, but since 1978 Einar has been a full time writer. He sat on the board of the Writer’s Union of Iceland from 1984 to 1986, was vice-chairman from 1986 to 1988 and chairman from 1988 to 1992. As chairman of the Writer’s Union, Einar sat on the boards of among others The Federation of Icelandic Artists and The Icelandic Association on Books. He has been one of the board members of the Reykjavík International Literary Festival […]

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Njörður P. Njarðvík

Njörður P. Njarðvík, verðlaun Jónasar Hallgrímssonar

Njörður P. Njarðvík was born in Ísafjörður, in the West-fjords Iceland, on June 30th 1936. He matriculated from the Akureyri secondary school in 1955, graduated from The University of Iceland with a cand mag. in Icelandic and Swedish in 1964 and recieved his Fil. dr. degree from Göteborgs Universitet in Sweden in 1993. Njörður is professor emeritus at The University of Iceland. Njörður was a secondary school teacher in Reykjavík from 1956-63 and 1965-6, was a newspaper literature- and theatre critic from 1962-3 and teacher at the Icelandic School of Education from 1963-4. He managed the Skálholt publishing house from 1964-66. He then moved to Sweden where he lectured at […]

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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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Sigurður A. Magnússon

sigurduramagnusson[1]

Sigurður A. Magnússon was born on March 31, 1928 at Móar in Kjalarnes near Reykjavík. He graduated from highschool in 1948 and then went on to study theology, Greek and religious history at the University of Iceland untill 1950. In 1950 Sigurður went to Copenhagen to study theology and literature at the University of Copenhagen for a year. He studied history and literature at the University of Athens untill 1952. After that Sigurður moved to Sweden where he studied literature at the University of Stockholm. He completed a B.A. degree in comparative literature at The New School for Social Research in New York in 1955. Sigurður was a teacher at […]

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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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Gerdur Kristný

gerdurkristny[1]

Gerdur Kristný was born on June 10, 1970 and brought up in Reykjavík. She graduated in French and comparative literature from the University of Iceland in 1992. Her B.A. dissertation was on Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal. After a course in media studies at the University of Iceland from 1992-1993 she trained at Denmark’s Radio TV. She was editor of the magazine Mannlíf from 1998 – 2004, but is now a full time writer. Gerður Kristný has published poetry books, short stories, novels and books for children, as well as a book about the Westman Islands Festival in 2002 and the biography Myndin af pabba – saga Thelmu (A Portrait […]

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Áslaug Jónsdóttir

aslaug[1]

Áslaug Jónsdóttir was born on March 31 1963. She grew up on the farm Melaleiti in Borgarfjörður in the west of Iceland. She did her secondary studies at Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð in Reykjavík, graduating in 1983. She studied at the Icelandic College of Arts and Craft from 1984 – 1985 and then went abroad for further studies. She was a student at Skolen for Brugskunst – Danmarks designeskole in Copenhagen, graduating from the department of drawing- and graphic art in 1989. Áslaug has also taken several art courses in Iceland, Sweden and in the United States. Since her graduation Áslaug has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, writer and visual […]

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Sjón

sjon

Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavik on the 27th of August, 1962. He started his writing career early, publishing his first book of poetry, Sýnir (Visions), in 1978. Sjón was a founding member of the surrealist group, Medúsa, and soon became significant in Reykjavik´s cultural landscape. Sjón has published many poetry collections, a number of novels, plays for theatre, librettos and material for children. In addition to his writing career, he has participated in art exhibitions and musical events of all kinds. He has collaborated with many other artists as well, most notably Björk, with whom he has composed music, conceived music videos, and written texts for songs, including […]

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Guðrún Helgadóttir

gudrunhelgadottir[1]

Guðrún Helgadóttir was born in Hafnarfjördur on September 7th, 1935 and grew up there as one of many siblings. She worked as a secretary at Reykjavík Higher Secondary Grammar School 1957-1970 and as department manager at the National Health and Insurance Office 1973-1980. Guðrún represented the People’s Alliance on Reykjavík City Council 1978-1982 and was a member of the Icelandic legislative assembly 1979-1995. She was Speaker of the Althing 1988-1991, the first woman to hold that position. Guðrún’s first book, Jón Oddur og Jón Bjarni (Jón Oddur and Jón Bjarni), appeared in 1974 and is the first of three about these scheming twin brothers. All have been republished numerous times and a film […]

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