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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5
Feb
20:30 - 21:30

Light Seeps In

A POETIC MEETING WITH EDMONTON Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature hosts a poetry event on the opening night of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival on Thursday, February 5th 2015. The…
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5
Feb
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
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12
Feb
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
19
Feb
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
26
Feb
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
5
Mar
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
12
Mar
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
19
Mar
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
26
Mar
21:00 - 21:30

Bedtime stories at Hotel Natura

The perfect way to spend a cozy evening and start your weekend in Iceland, these bedtime stories are free for guests to attend and presented in English by Icelandic actors.…
more
News: Tuesday, 20. January 2015

Writing Workshop for Women

Writing Workshop

Do you want to write in a multilingual environment? To celebrate the 100 anniversary of women’s right to vote in Iceland in 2015, we offer a free workshop for women under the guidance of writer Angela Rawlings.

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News: Monday, 19. January 2015

Light Seeps In

Light Seeps In

Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature hosts a poetry event on the opening night of the Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival on Thursday, February 5th 2015. The poets are Edmonton Poet Laureate, Mary Pinkoski, and Reykjavik poets Anton Helgi Jónsson and Elías Knörr. The one woman musical band dj. airplane and spaceship, aka Steinunn Eldflaug Harðardóttir, will also perform.

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Quotes

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right
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
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

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

 

The Atom Station, 1948
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
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”

 

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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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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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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Áslaug Jónsdóttir

aslaug[1]

Áslaug Jónsdóttir was born on March 31 1963. She grew up on the farm Melaleiti in Borgarfjörður in the west of Iceland. She did her secondary studies at Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð in Reykjavík, graduating in 1983. She studied at the Icelandic College of Arts and Craft from 1984 – 1985 and then went abroad for further studies. She was a student at Skolen for Brugskunst – Danmarks designeskole in Copenhagen, graduating from the department of drawing- and graphic art in 1989. Áslaug has also taken several art courses in Iceland, Sweden and in the United States. Since her graduation Áslaug has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, writer and visual […]

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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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Auður Jónsdóttir

audurjonsdottir[1]

Auður Jónsdóttir was born on March 30, 1973. She is a writer and freelance journalist and has published articles, essays and interviews in various journals and newspapers. Her first published work of fiction is the short story “Gifting” (Marriage), published in the literary magazine Andblær in 1997. Other short stories have appeared in magazines and collections since then. Auður’s first novel, Stjórnlaus lukka (Uncontrollable Luck, 1998), was nominated to the Icelandic Literature Prize in the same year. Since then, she has sent forward other novels as well as books for children and teenagers, among them a book about her grandfather, Halldór Laxness. Her novel Fólkið í kjallaranum (The People in […]

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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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Einar Már Gudmundsson

einarmargudmundsson[1]

Einar Már Gudmundsson was born in Reykjavík on September 18th 1954. He received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and History from the University of Iceland in 1979 after which he moved to Copenhagen to do graduate work in Comparative Literature at the University of Copenhagen. Einar’s first book, the collection of poetry Er nokkur í kórónafötum hér inni? (Is Anyone Here Wearing the Korona Line?), appeared in 1980. In 1985 he received first prize in a literary competition held by Almenna Bókafélagið, Book Publishers and Book Club, for the novel Riddarar Hringstigans (The Knights of the Spiral Staircase). His books have been translated into several languages and the widely acclaimed novel […]

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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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