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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1
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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1
Sep
17:30 - 18:30

Story teller from Peru

Café Lingua Fall Program Opens on September 1st On Monday, September 1st the story teller José Antonio Nuñez Ukumari from Lima, Peru will start the Café Lingua fall program at the…
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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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News: Wednesday, 13. August 2014

Words from a Bench

Words from a Bench, Reykjavik

Writers from Reykjavik and York, England, have joined hands with the Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature to make stories and poetry available to passers-by in Rowntree Park in York and Hljómskálagarður Park in Reykjavik.

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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

“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
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
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”

 

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Steinunn Sigurðardóttir

steinunnsigurdar[1]

Steinunn Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavík in 1950. She finished her Matriculation Examination at the Reykjavík Higher Secondary Grammar School in 1968 and a BA in Psychology and Philosophy at the University College in Dublin in 1972. She published her first book, the poetry collection Sífellur (Continuances), 19 years old and received immediate attention. In 1995 she received the Icelandic Literature Prize for the novel Hjartastaður (Heart Place). Her books have been translated into other languages and a French movie based on the novel Tímaþjófurinn (The Thief of Time) premiered in 1999. Sigurðardóttir was a reporter at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV) and a news correspondent with intervals from 1970-1982. […]

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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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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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