International literary festivals and events coming up in the real world and online, with participation of Icelandic authors

10. September, 2020 News

Due to the present situation, around the world many book fairs, literary events, readings and book launches have been postponed or cancelled. But a number of events will be taking place in the real world in the near future, while others are moving online.

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Due to the present situation, around the world many book fairs, literary events, readings and book launches have been postponed or cancelled. But a number of events will be taking place in the real world in the near future, while others are moving online.

Coming up in September

In Slovenia the Vilenica International Literary Festival takes place 8-13 September. Authors Bergþóra Snæbjörnsdóttir, Kristín Ómarsdóttir and Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson will be participating online 11-13 September, with readings from their works, and will take part in a colloquy about Icelandic literature hosted by Sverrir Norland. In connection with the festival the Slovene Writers' Association will publish Raddir í loftinu. Anthology of Contemporary Icelandic Literature, which includes texts by more than twenty Icelandic authors. Read more here.

Andri Snær Magnason will be a guest of ilb (International Literature Festival Berlin) in Germany, 9-19 September. On 11 September he will take part in a programme on the theme VISIONS OF BIOECONOMY. Events will also be streamed on the festival's website. Icelandic-Palestinian author Mazen Maarouf is also a guest of this year's festival. He will talk about his book Brandarar handa byssumönnum on 17 September.

Nordic literary festival NORD will be held 18-19 September in Helsingør (Elsinore), Denmark. The programme includes discussions with authors from all the Nordic countries, interviews, readings and other events. Guests from Iceland will be Bergsveinn Birgisson and Fríða Ísberg, who have been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, which will be presented at an online ceremony on 27 October. The event will be televised in Iceland on RÚV.

Scandinavia House in New York is a stronghold of Nordic culture in the USA, where literary events are regular held, and a Nordic book club operates. On 22 September Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir will be the online guest of the book club, to read from her book Ungfrú Ísland (Miss Iceland in Brian FitzGibbon's translation), and to meet her readers.

The Transpoesie poetry festival is organised for the tenth consecutive year by EUNIC Brussels, the European Union National Institutes for Culture based in the Belgian capital. This year, reading events will go virtual starting with opening event on 23 September where Icelandic poet, Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir, will be with five female poets who share their poetic journey in their consecutive native languages, with translations available. 

On Thursday 24 September an online literary event will take place at which authors Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir and Kristín Eiríksdóttir will discuss their books, which have been published in English translation. The discussion will be chaired by Eliza Reid, the First Lady of Iceland. She will also make a brief presentation on Icelandic literature. The event is co-hosted by the Embassies of Iceland in Washington, London and Ottawa, and the Consulates General of Iceland in New York and Winnipeg.

At the end of the month the International Literature Festival Odesa in Ukraine, will take place. Emil Hjörvar Petersen will be a guest of the fair and read his poetry online on 25 september. 

Coming up in October

On 1 October Einar Már Guðmundsson and Gerður Kristný appear at NordOrd at the North Atlantic House (Nordatlantens Brygge) in Copenhagen, where they will talk about literature, sign copies of their books and answer questions from the audience. On Saturday 3 October GerðurKristný will also take part in Poetry without Borders 2020, along with poets from various countries.

At the beginning of October the American-Scandinavian Foundation will hold an online roundtable, in which poets Þórdís Helgadóttir, Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir, Sunna Dís Másdóttir, Ragnheiður Harpa Leifsdóttir, Melkorka Ólafsdóttir and Fríða Ísberg talk about new translations of their verse with translator Larissa Kyzer. The event is part of the Writers You Should Know online programme on contemporary Nordic writing, with readings by authors and discussions with viewers.

On Wednesday, October 14: An Introduction to Icelandic Writers is a panel pre-recorded in Reykjavík that will feature writer, poet and former IWR faculty Gerður Kristný, crime writer Lilja Sigurðardóttir, poet and former IWR volunteer Fríða Ísberg, and children’s book writer, playwright and former IWR attendee Ævar Þór Benediktsson. It will be moderated by IWR Co-Founder Eliza Reid. Co-presented with Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature.

In Bremerhaven the exhibition Hafið – Reflections of the Sea opens in October. It was previously on display earlier this year at Felleshus, the cultural centre of the Nordic embassies in Berlin. Among those with works in the exhibition are authors Andri Snær Magnason, Auður Jónsdóttir, Hallgrímur Helgason, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Linda Vilhjálmsdóttir, Ragnar Helgi Ólafsson, Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir, Sjón and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir. Curator is Eva Þengilsdóttir.

Coming up in November

Gyrðir Elíasson will be a guest at Christianshavns Bogfestival 2020, held 13 and 14 November at the North Atlantic House (Nordatlantens Brygge) in Copenhagen.

Literary and cultural festival Les Boréales takes place in Caen, France, in November each year. From the outset the festival has focused on the literature and culture of the Nordic and Baltic countries. This year three Icelandic authors will be guests of the festival, held 19-29 November: Bergsveinn Birgisson, Jón Kalman Stefánsson and Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir.

Major book fairs cancelled or online

In a normal year, Icelandic authors and publishers would soon be on their way to take part in the big, old-established book fairs in Gothenburg and Frankfurt, where authors make appearances, and publishers and book lovers from around the world gather to find out about the latest in the book world. Some time ago the decision was made to hold the Gothenburg and Frankfurt book fairs in a different way this year. The London Book Fair was cancelled at short notice in March.

Online book fairs in Gothenburg and Frankfurt

The Gothenburg Book Fair will be held online for the first time, 24-27 September. See the exciting programme here. Sadly it has proved impossible to invite guests from outside Sweden to attend the fair, as had been planned, so Andri Snær Magnason, Kristín Eiríksdóttir and Bergur Ebbi will not be appearing on this occasion.

The same applies to the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, one of the largest international book fairs in the world. Held in October, it too will be online this year. The Icelandic Literature Center will not be participating in the book fairs as it usually does, and there will be no Iceland stands this year.

Mitigating the impact of the pandemic

The Icelandic Literature Center is applying all possible measures to promote Icelandic literature and authors internationally during the present situation: grants have been made available for participation in online events instead of travel abroad, and an initiative has been launched to boost translations from Icelandic into other languages. Videos are in preparation about Icelandic authors and literature, and a special authors' website is also planned. This will be further publicised before long, along with other material useful in promoting Icelandic authors and their work abroad. 

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