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The Literary Timeline

The literary timeline gives a brief overview of Icelandic literature and literary events from the time of settlement in the ninth century until today. Here we highlight some of the instances in this continuous and ongoing literary history, but needless to say we will only touch upon part of the story. Where possible, we will provide links and information about more in depth material. We hope the timeline will stir up some curiosity about Icelandic texts and writers and welcome all comments and questions from our readers.

Iceland is often referred to as the Saga Island, and Icelanders have long defined themselves as a literary nation. Literature is without doubt the strongest aspect of the cultural history of the people that settled this northerly island in the ninth century. Immediately they started recounting its story and committed it to calfskin two centuries later.

This great emphasis on the art of articulation has followed the nation ever since and is one of the cornerstones of its identity and history.

We hope you will enjoy learning a little bit about this literary history.

Greetings from Reykjavík City of Literature!