Sleipnir and the Joy of Reading

SleipnirYour Reading Buddy

Reykjavík City of Literature has made the mythological horse Sleipnir its special partner. Sleipnir, who is the eight-legged horse of Odin in Norse mythology, can travel freely from one world to another, and is thus symbolic for the mind-travel that we experience through reading. It is safe to say that Sleipnir is no ordinary horse, as he stands for the power of imagination and poetry.

In the name of Sleipnir, the Reykjavík City of Literature takes part in projects that encourage children and young people to read. The City of Reykjavík supports various reading- and creative projects in schools, day-cares, libraries and at cultural centres, as well as by hosting the annual Children’s Culture Festival, and Sleipnir takes part in all of these. There are plans to further these initiatives with a special Sleipnir programme for schools, daycares and libraries. This project will be launched in the fall of 2016.

The name Sleipnir means he who travels swiftly. Sleipnir is said to be the best of all horses. Some sources claim that he has runes carved on his teeth. In modern times, the saying goes that the canyon Ásbyrgi in North-Iceland was formed by Sleipnir, when one of his giant hoofs touched the ground. This canyon is shaped in the form of a horse-shoe.

Sleipnir will be associated with various reading initiatives for the younger generation. His first task for the City of Literature was to invite children and their families to an outdoor literary quiz at the Reykjavík Children’s Culture Festival in April 2012. Since then, the live-Sleipnir has started appearing at events hosted by the City of Literature and a book has been written about him.

Each summer, Sleipnir encourages children of all ages to take part in the Reykjavík City Library Summer Reading program.


Sumarlestur með Sleipni



Sleipnir is also the symbol for the Reykjavik City Children’s Literature Prize. The prize is awarded annually in three categories: illustration in a children’s book, translation of a children’s book into Icelandic and finally a children’s book originally written in Icelandic.

Artist Gunnar Karlsson is the author of Reykjavík City of Literature’s Sleipnir.



Video’s with Sleipnir

 Sleipnir and the Joy of Reading