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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29
Mar
28.12.16 - 02.12.17
All day

Kæj! Comics Exhibition

Comics for a Quarter Century Icelandic artist Þorri Hringsson exhibits a selection of works from his career in comics at the Reykjavik City Library, now spanning over a quarter century.…
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29
Mar
22.03.17 - 02.04.17
All day

Peekaboo - Polish and Icelandic Illustrations

Outstanding illustrations for children The exhibition Peekaboo opened at the Culture House in Reykjavik on Tuesday, March 21st 2017. It is part of the DesignMarch programme. The exhibition tells the…
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8
Apr
13:00 - 13:00

Story Hour in Norwegian

Reading, playing and singing with Matja Steen The Nordic House in Reykjavik offers story hours in Norwegian on the Saturdays February 11th, March 11th, April 8th and May 6th 2017.…
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6
May
13:00 - 13:00

Story Hour in Norwegian

Reading, playing and singing with Matja Steen The Nordic House in Reykjavik offers story hours in Norwegian on the Saturdays February 11th, March 11th, April 8th and May 6th 2017.…
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News: Wednesday, 15. March 2017

Jón Kalman nominated for the Man Booker International

Man-Booker-International-Prize

Icelandic writer Jón Kalman Stefánsson is nominated for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize for his novel Fish Have no Feet, translated to English by Phil Roughton.

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News: Wednesday, 15. March 2017

Aarhus 39 – International Children’s Literature Anthology

Ævar Þór

The Icelandic writer Ævar Thór Benediktsson has been selected to be a part of an international anthology for children and young adults in connection with the International Children’s Literature Hay Festival, held in Aarhus, Denmark, in October 2017. The anthology will be published in May this year at the Hay Festival in Wales.

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Quotes

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right
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
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”

 

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
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 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

Videos

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Woman from Poland

A video (in English) about the wall-art "Woman from Poland" by Ewa Marcinek and ...

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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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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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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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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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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Ólafur Gunnarsson

olafurgunnars[1]

Ólafur Gunnarsson was born in Reykjavík on July 18, 1948. He completed a commercial diploma from The Commercial College of Iceland in 1968. Ólafur worked for merchant Ásbjörn Ólafsson hf. from 1965-1971 and was the driver of the Reykjavík medical emergency from 1972-1978. Ólafur has worked as a writer since 1974. Poetry by Ólafur Gunnarsson had appeared in newspapers and magazines before his first novel, Milljón-prósent menn (Million-Percent Men), was published in 1978. He has published novels, short stories and children’s books as well as a travel story about his road trip with author (and co-author of the book) Einar Kárason in the U.S.A. in 2006. His novel, Tröllakirkja (Troll’s Cathedral, […]

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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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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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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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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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Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

yrsa

Yrsa Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavík on August 24th, 1963. She graduated from high-school in 1983, finished a B.Sc.- degree in civil engineering from the University of Iceland in 1988 and M.Sc.- degree in the same field from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in 1997. Yrsa works as a civil engineer for the engineering-company Fjarhitun, as well as being a writer. In 1998 Yrsa published her first book for children, Þar lágu Danir í því. To this date her books for children and teenagers are five, the newest is Biobörn (BIO Children), published in 2003. In 2000 the Icelandic department of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) awarded […]

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