Sleipnir and the Joy of Reading
Reykjavík City of Literature has made the mythological horse Sleipnir its special partner. Sleipnir, who is the eight-legged horse of Odinn 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 there are plans to further these initivatives and encourage cooperation between different players.
The City of Literature hosted its first Reykjavík Reads Festival in october 2012. This month long festival, which is for people of all ages, is meant to become an annual event.
The name Sleipnir means he who travels swiftly. Sleipnir is the horse of the god Odinn, and is said to be the best of all horses. In some sources he is
said to have runes carved on his teeth. In modern times, the saying goes that the canyon Ásbyrgi in North-Iceland was formed by Sleipnir, as one of his 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. In the summer of 2012, Sleipnir encouraged children of all ages to take part in the Reykjavík City Library Summer Reading program.
Artist Gunnar Karlsson is the author of Reykjavík City of Literature’s Sleipnir.