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
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

Welcome to the world of Hallgerd of the Long-Pants, Gunnlaugur Serpent Tongue, Killer-Glumur, Haraldur with the-great-hairdo and Mjoll the-biggest-of-all-women-who-were-not-giants The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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8
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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9
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
10
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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12
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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15
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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16
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
17
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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23
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
27
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
28
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
29
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
more
30
May
20:00 - 20:00

Icelandic Sagas - The Greatest Hits

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HALLGERD OF THE LONG-PANTS, GUNNLAUGUR SERPENT TONGUE, KILLER-GLUMUR, HARALDUR WITH THE-GREAT-HAIRDO AND MJOLL THE-BIGGEST-OF-ALL-WOMEN-WHO-WERE-NOT-GIANTS The Icelandic Sagas are 40 unique stories describing the settlement of Iceland.…
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News: Friday, 8. April 2016

A Week of International Literary Events in Reykjavik

Iceland Writers Retreat

The third Iceland Writers Retreat will be held in Reykjavik from April 12th – 17th 2016. During the week, three public events will be held in connection to the retreat. The first one is a reading by the faculty of the retreat on Tuesday, April 12th. Two events follow on Thursday, a lunch hour talk by Kevin Larimer from Poets&Writers at the University of Iceland, and a literary evening with Canadian authors, at the Reykjavik Art Museum.

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News: Wednesday, 6. April 2016

Nominations for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize

Ragnheiður Hólmgeirsdóttir and Arnar Már Arngrímsson

The national members of the Adjudication Committee for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize just nominated 13 works for the prize in 2016. The selection was introduced at the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna.

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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
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
HKL
Halldór Laxness

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

Under the Glacie, 1968
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
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

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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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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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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Svava Jakobsdóttir

svavajakobs[1]

Svava Jakobsdóttir was born on October 4, 1930 in the small town of Neskaupstaður. She graduated from highschool in 1949 and completed a B.A. degree in English and American literature at Smith College in Northhampton in Massachusetts in 1952. Svava was a graduate student in Old Norse literature at Somerville College in Oxford, England, from 1952-1953, and studied Sweedish modern literature at Uppsala University in Sweeden from 1965-1966. Svava worked for the Icelandic Foreign Ministry and in the Stockholm Embassy from 1955 to 1964. She was a journalist for Lesbók Morgunblaðsins 1966-1969 and worked in the department of broadcasting at the National Radio (RÚV) in 1969-1970. Svava was a member […]

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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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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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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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Sjón

sjon

Sjón (Sigurjón B. Sigurðsson) was born in Reykjavik on the 27th of August, 1962. He started his writing career early, publishing his first book of poetry, Sýnir (Visions), in 1978. Sjón was a founding member of the surrealist group, Medúsa, and soon became significant in Reykjavik´s cultural landscape. Sjón has published many poetry collections, a number of novels, plays for theatre, librettos and material for children. In addition to his writing career, he has participated in art exhibitions and musical events of all kinds. He has collaborated with many other artists as well, most notably Björk, with whom he has composed music, conceived music videos, and written texts for songs, including […]

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Andri Snær Magnason

Andri Snær Magnason, rithöfundur.

Andri Snær Magnason was born in Reykjavík on July 14, 1973. His family has lived in the Reykjavík suburb Árbær, where ge grew up, through four generations but his family roots are also in the North of Iceland. Andri studied Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland and finished his B.A. degree in 1997. His final paper on the poet Ísak Harðarson was published by the University in 1999. Andri Snær worked for the Árni Magnússon Institute, researching its collection of taped Icelandic folk poetry. This project received an award from the President of Iceland and the poetry was later published as the CD Raddir (Voices) by the publishing house […]

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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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