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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13
Feb
25.10.15 - 24.04.16
All day

Visit the Monsters!

An Exhibition for the Whole Family Gerðuberg Culture House invites the whole family for a visit into the world of the Little and Big Monsters, the characters from Áslaug Jónsdóttir‘s…
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18
Feb
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
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25
Feb
16:30 - 17:30

We Need a Change. The Dream of Iceland

Writer talk and reading On Thursday, February 25, the Catalan-Spanish writer Jordi Pujolá will talk about his book, Necesitamos un cambio. El sueno de Islandia (2015), at the café Kaffislippur…
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25
Feb
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
3
Mar
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
10
Mar
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
17
Mar
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
24
Mar
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
31
Mar
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
7
Apr
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
14
Apr
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
21
Apr
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
28
Apr
21:00 - 22:00

Bedtime Stories - readings from Icelandic literature

Every Thursday at 9 pm at Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Natura you can enjoy Bedtime Stories where actors read Icelandic literature for you in English. At the hotel you can get hot…
more
News: Wednesday, 3. February 2016

LoveStar nominated for Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire

Grand-prix-de-limaginaire-logo

The novel LoveStar by Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason, translated to French by Eric Boury, has been nominated for the 2016 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. This French literary prize is awarded for speculative fiction.

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News: Monday, 1. February 2016

Grants for the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute

vigdis-mynd_litil

On January 27th 2016, directors of eleven Icelandic companies and Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, signed agreements pertaining to generous grants to the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages at the University of Iceland.

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Quotes

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right
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”

 

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
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
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
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

Under the Glacie, 1968
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Ævar Örn Jósepsson

aevarorn[1]

Ævar Örn Jósepsson was born in Hafnarfjörður on August 25, 1963. He is the youngest of four siblings. He lived in the Reykjavík suburb of Garðabær for the first two years of his life (and claims to have escaped from there without permanent harm), then in Hafnarfjörður, but moved to the countryside, close to the town of Akranes, when he was 16 (he was bribed with a dog). He finished higschool in Akranes in 1983, having been an exchange student in Belgium from 1981-1982. Ævar Örn studied journalism, political science and philosophy at the University of Sterling in Scotland from 1986-1987, and graduated as Magister Artium of philosophy and English […]

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Guðmundur Andri Thorsson

gudmundurandri[1]

Guðmundur Andri Thorsson was born in Reykjavík on December 31st 1957. He graduated from M.S. high school in 1978 and with a B.A. degree in Icelandic and comparative literature from The University of Iceland in 1983. He did his Cand.mag studies at the same school from 1983 – 1985. Guðmundur Andri worked as a journalist and literary critic at DV newspaper and Þjóðviljinn for some time and has for years hosted his own radio program, Andrarímur, at The Icelandic National Radio. He was editor of literary journal Tímarit Máls og menningar from 1986 – 1989 and again from 2009. He also worked as an editor for Mál og menning publishing house […]

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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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