Reykjavík International Literary Festival was held for the first time in 1985. The writers Thor Vilhjálmsson and Einar Bragi, together with Knut Ödegaard then Director of the Nordic House in Reykjavík, established the festival. This biannual festival soon became a staple in the city‘s literary life and is one of its key literary events.
The festival is respected both at home and abroad and can boast a remarkable guest list, counting Kurt Vonnegut, Günter Grass, J.M. Coetzee, Paul Auster, A.S. Byatt, Isabel Allende, Haruki Murakami, Taslima Nasrin and Herta Müller, just to name a few. In addition to these international writers, most of Iceland‘s greatest writers have taken part.
The hallmark of the festival is the intimacy created between the writers and their readers. International authors along with Icelandic writers present their works and take part in discussions. The events are traditionally open to all free of charge and attendance has always been high. The venues are the Nordic House in Reykjavík and Idnó Theatre by the Reykjavík City Lake.