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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20
Sep
12.08.14 - 31.10.14
11:00 - 18:00

Shadows – Comics exhibition

Comic artist Bjarni Hinriksson opens an exhibition in in the comics department of the Reykjavík City Library, Tryggvagata 15, Friday August 15th, at 16.00. Bjarni studied comic art at the…
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News: Thursday, 4. September 2014

Art in Translation in Reykjavík 18 – 20 September

Amy Tan

An international conference hosted by the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Academy of Arts, the University of Manitoba and the Nordic House in Reykjavík the 18 – 20 September 2014.
This conference, initiated in Iceland 6 years ago, is now being held for the third time in Reykjavik. It features international visual and performance artists as well as scholars from a wide diversity of fields and with a very broad range of interests, coming together to share their ideas and innovations. On this occasion, the theme is The Art of Being In Between.

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News: Thursday, 14. August 2014

WordSound – Einar and the Voices

WordSound

Writer Einar Kárason teams up with Voices of a Nation for a program of the spoken word of this celebrated Icelandic author and authority on Iceland´s literary heritage. The program is part of the Reykjavik Jazz Festival.

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Quotes

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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"
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

“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 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
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

Under the Glacie, 1968
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

 

The Atom Station, 1948
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
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
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”

 

Videos

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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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Vilborg Dagbjartsdóttir

vilborgdagbjarts[1]

Vilborg Dagbjartsdóttir was born at the farm Hjalli in Vestdalseyri on July 18, 1930. She studied for the theatre in 1951 and from 1952-1953 she joined a course in acting. Vilborg graduated as a teacher from Iceland’s Teacher Training Collage in 1952 and studied for Library and Information Science at the University of Iceland in 1982. Vilborg worked as a writer and schoolteacher for years, but has now retired from teaching. She has published a number of books for children, both fiction and non fiction books. She has also published collections of poetry for adults and is one of Iceland’s best known poets. Vilborg has translated many books for children and […]

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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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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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Guðbergur Bergsson

gudbergurbergsson[1]

Guðbergur Bergsson was born on October 16th, 1932 in Grindavík, Iceland. He received a Teaching Diploma from the Iceland University of Education in 1955, went to Spain for further studies and graduated in Spanish, literature and art history from La Universidad de Barcelona in 1958. Since then he has spent much of his time in Spain. His first books, the novel Músin sem læðist (The Prowling Mouse) and the poetry collection Endurtekin orð (Repeated Words), appeared in 1961. Since then he has published numerous books of various kinds, short stories, over 20 novels, children’s books, autobiographical novels, and more. He has also written articles about literature, art, and social issues […]

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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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Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir

ingibjorgharalds[1]

Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir was born in Reykjavík on October 21st 1942, and grew up there. She graduated with a Mag. Art degree in film studies from Moskow School of Film in 1969. From 1970 – 1975 she worked as Assistant Director at Teatro Estudio in Havana, Cuba. While living in the Soviet Union and on Cuba, she wrote and translated articles for Icelandic newspapers. Ingibjörg moved back to Iceland in 1975 and worked as a journalist and film critiq for Þjóðviljinn newspaper for a number of years. Since 1981 Ingibjörg has been a full time poet and translator. Her first collection of poetry, Þangað vil ég fjúga (I Want to Fly There), […]

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Hallgrímur Helgason

hallgrimurhelga[1]

Hallgrímur Helgason was born on February 18th 1959 in Reykjavík. He studied at the Art Academy of Iceland from 1979-1980, and at the Art Academy of Munich from 1981-1982. Since then, he has worked as both an artist and writer. His first novel, Hella, was published in 1990, followed by several others, as well as one collection of poetry. His novel 101 Reykjavik (1996) drew immediate attention and was subsequently translated throughout Scandinavia, Europe, and England. In 1999 it was nominated for the Nordic Council´s Literary Award. A movie of the book, directed by Baltasar Kormákur, one of Iceland´s leading film makers, was produced in 2000 and released worldwide. Baltasar […]

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Þórarinn Eldjárn

thorarinneldjarn[1]

Þórarinn Eldjárn was born in Reykjavík on August 22 1949. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Lund in Sweden between 1969 and 1972, Icelandic at the University of Iceland 1972-1973, and completed a phil.cand. degree in literature at the University of Lund in 1975. Þórarinn lived in Stockholm from 1975 to 1979 and spent a year in Canterbury in 1988-1989. Since 1975 Þórarinn has worked as a writer and translator. He has published a number of poetry collections, short-story collections and novels as well a translating fiction for adults and children from English and the Scandinavian languages. Among them are novels by Göran Tunström, and Lewis Carroll’s […]

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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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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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