Reykjavík International Literary Festival September 6 -9

The Reykjavík International Literary Festival takes place for the 13th time on September 6-9, 2017 at venues throughout Reykjavík. The festival itself is lauded as a key Northern European literary event, and, in its lifetime, it has hosted many distinguished writers, including Svetlana Alexievich, Margaret Atwood, Seamus Heaney, Günter Grass, Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and José Saramago.

The festival was founded in 1985 and has brought together writers from across the world to Reykjavík; over 300 foreign authors have traveled to Iceland to partake since its inception.

This year, we welcome Yaa Gyasi, Eka Kurniawan, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Morten Strøksnes,  Esmeralda Santiago, Han Kang, Sjón and Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir along with many others. To see the full list of participating authors click here.  

Interviews, seminars, and talks are conducted in English. Authors will read in their own language, with Icelandic and English translations available. Admission is free, except at the Lit Ball.

The Festival visit's Akureyri for the first time

The Literary Festival will visit Akureyri in norht Iceland for the first time this year with special literary program on Tuseday the 5th in Hof Cultural and Conferense Center.

  • 11:30-13:00: Hamragil: A Bookish Meet-Up: Anne Cathrine-Riebnitzsky reads from her newest book Hurricane and the silence. Esmeralda Santiago give a reading from Almost A Woman. They’ll speak of their experience of books. Q&A to follow.
  • 17:00-19:30: Hamrar: Women, Self-Image, and Migration: Authors Esmeralda Santiago and Arnar Már Arngrímsson have a heart-to-heart. 
    Five Voices: New Work From The Chaplet Series, Pastel: Readings by: Margrét H. Blöndal, Hlynur Hallsson, Megas, Þórgunnur Oddsdóttir, Kristín Þóra Kjartansdóttir 
    Women And War: Families In Fiction: Author Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky and librarian Hólmkell Hreinsson, of the public library in Akureyri, meet for a lively chat.

Festival Program In Reykjavík:

Tuesday, September 5

  • 16:00-17:00 Hljómskálagarður Park: A Literary Cricket Match: The Authors Cricket Club, a cricket-playing society of authors from the U.K., will face off, showing spectators some of the basic moves in the sport.
  • 21:00-22:00 Stúdentakjallarinn: What is Cricket?: The Authors speak about themselves, their writing projects, and the magic of playing cricket. Moderator: Stefán Pálsson

Wednesday, September 6

  • 16:00-16:45 Iðnó: The Absent Author: Avijit Roy was an author from Bangladesh who was murdered two years ago. Bangladeshi author, blogger, and activist Naila Zahin Ana and Sjón, the president of PEN Iceland, will discuss Roy’s life and work.
  • 16:00-17:00 Stúdentakjallarinn: Manifestos: Creative Writing students at the University of Iceland read from their writing manifestos. The reading will be held in Icelandic.
  • 17:00 Reykjavik City Hall: The Reykjavik International Literary Festival Opening Reception: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and Eka Kurniawan give opening addresses to officially launch the Literary Festival. Featuring live music from Tómas R. Einarsson, Gunnar Gunnarsson, Sigríður Thorlacius.
  • 20:00-20:50 Iðnó: The Politics of Language: A roundtable discussion with Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Auður Ava ÓIafsdóttir. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith
  • 21:00-21:50 Iðnó: Stories and Struggles: A roundtable discussion with Yaa Gyasi and Tapio Koivukari. Moderator: Antje Deistler.

Thursday, September 7

  • 11:15-12:00 Nordic House: The Self in Autobiographical Poetry: A roundtable discussion with Maja Lee Langvad and Eva Rún Snorradóttir. Moderator: Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir.
  • 12:00-12:30 Nordic House: Everything That I Don’t Remember: In conversation with Jonas Hassen Khemiri. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith.
  • 12:30-13:00 Nordic House: Homegoing: In conversation with Yaa Gyasi. Moderator: Antje Deistler.
  • 13:00-13:45 Nordic House: Not Just Noir: Nordic Crime Fiction: A roundtable discussion with Lone Theils, Jónína Leósdóttir, and Ragnar Jónasson. Moderator: Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
  • 16:00-18:00 Stúdentakjallarinn: Literary Pub Quiz: Join poets Anton Helgi og Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir for a late-afternoon beer and quiz. The quiz will be held in Icelandic.
  • 20:00-20:50 Iðnó: Man And Nature: A roundtable discussion with Fredrik Sjöberg and Morten Strøksnes. Moderator: Antje Deistler.
  • 21:00-22:00 Iðnó: A Poetry Reading: Featuring poets Maja Lee Langvad, Aase Berg, Christine De Luca, Bubbi, Anton Helgi Jónsson and Kött Grá Pje.

Friday, September 8

  • 10:00-10:50 Nordic House: A Morning Cup of Poetry: Christine de Luca speaks about her work and her favorite poetry over a cup of coffee in the library at Nordic House.
  • 11:30-12:00 Nordic House: The Fly Trap: In conversation with Fredrik Sjöberg. Moderator: Antje Deistler.
  • 12:00-12:30 Nordic House: The Vegetarian: In conversation with Han Kang. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith
  • 12:30-13:15 Nordic House: Beauty and Ugliness: A roundtable discussion with Man Booker prize finalists, Eka Kurniawan and Jón Kalman Stefánsson. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith.
  • 14:00-16:00 University of Iceland, Askja 132L: On Tyranny: Professor Timothy Snyder delivers the Jón Sigurðsson Memorial Lecture, hosted by the Historical Institute of the University of Iceland. Moderator: The President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.
  • 15:15-16:00 University of Iceland, Veröld: Escribiendo una vida/Writing a Life: Esmeralda Santiago discusses translating her own work. In collaboration with the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages.
  • 16:00-18:00 Stúdentakjallarinn: Endings: Creative Writing students at the University of Iceland read work on the theme ENDINGS.
  • 20:00-20:50 Iðnó: In Their Own Words: A multilingual reading, featuring work from Hiromi Kawakami, Tapio Koivukari, Etgar Keret, Arnaldur Indriðason and Sigrún Pálsdóttir.
  • 21:00-21:50 Iðnó: Politics of the Flesh: A roundtable discussion with Aase Berg, Han Kang, and Kristín Eiríksdóttir. Moderator: Björn Halldórsson.
  • 22:00-22:45 Iðnó: Digested Reads: Shakespeare and More: Reading with satirical book critic John Crace.

Saturday, September 9

  • 11:00-11:50 Nordic House: Lessons From the 20th Century: In conversation with Timothy Snyder. Moderator: Halldór Guðmundsson.
  • 12:00-12:50 Nordic House: Form and Fantasy: A roundtable discussion with Etgar Keret and Sjón. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith.
  • 13:00-13:50 Nordic House: Story, Origin, Identity: A roundtable discussion with Esmeralda Santiago and Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir. Moderator: Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson.
  • 13:00-13:30 Nordic House: The storyteller Ingibjörg Ásdís Sveinsdóttir will tell the folk tale of the good cow Búkolla, using stones, bones, branches etc. with the participation of the audience (for children
  • 6-9 years old).
  • 13:30-15:30 Nordic House: Filling the Gaps: Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir in charge of a workshop session.
  • 14:00-14:30 Nordic House: Women and War: In conversation with Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky. Moderator: Max Easterman.
  • 14:30-15:00 Nordic House: Shark Drunk: In conversation with Morten Strøksnes. Moderator: Antje Deistler.
  • 15:00-15:30 Nordic House: In Brief: In conversation with John Crace. Moderator: Rosie Goldsmith.
  • 15:00-16:30 The public library in Gróf (Borgarbókasafnið í Grófinni): A Literary Walk Through The Thief Of Time (Tímaþjófurinn). Accompanied by the author, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir. The literary walk will be conducted in Icelandic.
  • 22:00-01:00 Iðnó: The Book Ball: Live band - dancing highly encouraged. Tickets at the door.

Sunday, September 10

  • 14:00-16:00 University of Iceland, Veröld: Orðstír - Authors and Translators: An afternoon packed full of translation talk. The recipients of the Orðstír translation award and other translators chat with the authors they’ve translated over the years.