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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30
Jun
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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30
Jun
15:00 - 16:30

Dark Deeds - Literary Walk

A Guided Tour in English Reykjavík City Library hosts a guided literary walking tour every Thursday in June, July and August at 3 pm. This is a fun way to…
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7
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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7
Jul
20:00 - 22:00

Reykjavik Safari

Culture Walks in Six Languages The cultural life in the centre of Reykjavík will be introduced in English, Polish, Vietnamese, Spanish, Persian and Portuguese. Where are the museums and libraries,…
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14
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…
more
21
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…
more
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…
more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

Under the Glacie, 1968
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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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