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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28
Jul
26.07.16 - 08.08.16
20:00 - 21:15

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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28
Jul
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds Guided Literary Walk

The Reykjavik City Library hosts the Dark Deeds Literary Walking Tour (in English) every Thursday this summer. The tour focuses on the shadier side of Reykjavik as it appears in…
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4
Aug
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds Guided Literary Walk

The Reykjavik City Library hosts the Dark Deeds Literary Walking Tour (in English) every Thursday this summer. The tour focuses on the shadier side of Reykjavik as it appears in…
more
11
Aug
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds Guided Literary Walk

The Reykjavik City Library hosts the Dark Deeds Literary Walking Tour (in English) every Thursday this summer. The tour focuses on the shadier side of Reykjavik as it appears in…
more
15
Aug
20:00 - 21:15

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
16
Aug
20:00 - 21:15

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits in 75 Minutes

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
18
Aug
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds Guided Literary Walk

The Reykjavik City Library hosts the Dark Deeds Literary Walking Tour (in English) every Thursday this summer. The tour focuses on the shadier side of Reykjavik as it appears in…
more
25
Aug
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds Guided Literary Walk

The Reykjavik City Library hosts the Dark Deeds Literary Walking Tour (in English) every Thursday this summer. The tour focuses on the shadier side of Reykjavik as it appears in…
more
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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News: Friday, 20. May 2016

Lena Gorelik in Reykjavík

Lena Gorelik

Lena Gorelik is a writer in residence in Reykjavík in April and May 2016. The writer in residence programme is a cooperation between Goethe-Institut in Copenahagen and the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature. Lena is the seventh author hosted by this programme in Reykjavík.

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Quotes

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right
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
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”

 

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
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
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

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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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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Arnaldur Indridason

arnaldurindridason[1]

Arnaldur Indridason was born in Reykjavik on January 8 1961. He graduated with a B.A. degree in history from the University of Iceland in 1996. He was a journalist at Morgunbladid newspaper from 1981 – 1982 after which he became a freelance script writer. From 1986 – 2001 he worked as a film critic for Morgunbladid. Arnaldur has published a number of thrillers, the first was Synir duftsins (Sons of Earth) in 1997. Most of his novels involve the same team of detectives. He has adapted three of his books for the Radio theatre at the Icelandic Broadcasting Service. Arnaldur is one of Iceland’s leading crime story writers. He has […]

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Hannes Pétursson

hannespetursson2[1]

Hannes Pétursson was born in Sauðárkrókur in the north of Iceland on the 14th of December, 1931. He graduated from college in Reykjavík in 1952, and received his Cand Mag in Icelandic and Icelandic Literature from the University of Iceland in 1959. He also studied Germanics at the Universities of Cologne and Heidelberg from 1952-1954. Hannes held posts at publishing companies from 1959-1976, where he edited local history books about the region of Skagafjörður. His first book, Kvæðabók (Poetrybook), was published in 1955, and since then he has published several collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, academic texts, essays, and biographies. Among his many translations is The Metamorphosis, […]

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Gyrdir Elíasson

gyrdireliasson[1]

Gyrdir Elíasson was born in Reykjavík on April 4, 1961. His family comes from the East fjords but he grew up in the town of Sauðárkrókur in Northern Iceland and went to both elementary school and college there. He lived for a while in the western part of the country, in Borgarnes and Akranes, but later in Reykjavík. Gyrðir has been a full time writer almost all his adult life, he has published a number of poetry books, novels and collections of short stories. He is one of Iceland’s most acclaimed writers of his generation. Hirst published book is the poetry collection Svarthvít axlabönd (Black-and-White Suspenders) from 1983. Gyrðir is also […]

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Vigdís Grímsdóttir

Vigdís Grímsdóttir

Vigdís Grímsdóttir was born in Reykjavík on August 15th 1953. She graduated from the Iceland University of Education with a Teaching Diploma in 1973, received a BA-degree in Icelandic Studies and Library and Information Science from the University of Iceland in 1978, and a degree in Education from the Iceland University of Education in 1982. She was a candidate of Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland 1984-85. Grímsdóttir worked as an elementary- and college teacher in Reykjavík and Hafnarfjörður until 1990 but has since then focused almost exclusively on writing. Her first book, the short story collection Tíu myndir úr lífi þínu (Ten Pictures from Your Life), appeared in […]

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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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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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Þorsteinn frá Hamri

thorsteinnfrahamri[1]

Þorsteinn (Jónsson) frá Hamri (from Hamar) was born on March 15, 1938 on the farm Hamar in Þverárhlíð in Borgarfjörður. He completed his primary education at Reykholtsskóli in 1954 and studied at Iceland’s Teacher Training College during the years of 1955-1957. Þorsteinn worked as an assistant librarian at Kópavogur Library between 1961-1967, but since then he has devoted his time to writing. He has also scripted radio programs, read proofs, and translated a number of books. Þorsteinn was the secretary of the board of The Icelandic Writer’s Associsation from 1966-1968 and a vice member of the board of The Writer’s Union of Iceland 1984-1986. He was also a member of […]

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Vilborg Davíðsdóttir

vilborgdavids[1]

Vilborg Davíðsdóttir was born on the 3rd of September, 1965 in Þingeyri. She graduated from the Ísafjörður high-school in 1984 and studied English at the University of Iceland for two terms, 1985-1986. She completed a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iceland in 1991, and a BA in folkloristics in 2005. Vilborg worked as a journalist, reporter and producer in various media from 1985 to 2000. She has since dedicated herself to writing and translating, and is also studying for a masters degree in folkloristics at the University of Iceland. Her first novel, Við Urðarbrunn, was published in 1993 and a sequel, Nornadómur, in 1994. Við […]

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Árni Þórarinsson

arnithorarins[1]

Árni Þórarinsson was born in Reykjavík on August first 1950. After finishing high school in Reykjavík in 1970, he studied comparative literature at The University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and gradated with a B.A. degree in 1973. Árni has worked as a journalist and in the media for years. He started out as a journalist at Morgunblaðið newspaper in the summers of 1971 and 1972, and worked full time at the same paper from 1973 – 1976. He was the editor of the weekend edition of Vísir newspaper from 1976 – 1979, also writing film reviews, and the editor of Helgarpósturinn newspaper from 1979 – 1984, doing critique […]

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