Reykjavik, Iceland

UNESCO City of Literature

Reykjavik (Iceland) has been designed as City of Literature on 2 August 2011.

The city of Reykjavik boasts foremost an outstanding literary history with its invaluable heritage of ancient medieval literature, the Sagas, the Edda and the Íslendingabók, Libellus Islandorum (Book of Icelanders). This longstanding tradition has naturally cultivated the city’s strength in literature education, preservation, dissemination and promotion.


Promotional poster for Sagenhaftes Island – Iceland Guest of Honour, 2011 Frankfurt Bookfair. © Fiton

For a city of small population, approximately 200,000 habitants, Reykjavik is especially appreciated for demonstrating the central role literature plays within the modern urban landscape, the contemporary society and the daily life of the citizens. With the support of the central government of Iceland, the city continues to pursue its development plans in support of languages, translation initiatives as well as international literary exchanges.

The city’s collaborative approach through cooperation between various actors involved in literature, such as in publishing, in libraries, etc, in addition to the strong presence of writers, poets and children’s book authors is also noted to give the city a unique position in the world of literature. 

Contact: Kristín  Viðarsdóttir ( kristin.vidarsdottir(at)



Montreal, UNESCO City of Design, and Reykjavik, UNESCO City of Literature, are launching a transdisciplinary collaboration project, to promote a young artist and an innovative approach to design.

Every year, the City of Montreal, through its Design Bureau, awards a 10,000 $ grant to a young designer from Montreal. This grant gives the opportunity to the candidate to implement a project on a theme related to the city, through a study trip, a training course or take part in a competition, a design workshop or a conference in one of the member city of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Since the creation of the Grant in 2008, the distinguished designers’ projects have all been implemented in another UNESCO City of Design. For the first time this year, the laureate, Emilie F. Grenier, a narrative-experience designer, chose the city of Reykjavik, UNESCO City of Literature, to set up her project: create a collection of narrative urban artefacts that will initiate a dialogue between the two creative cities, Montreal and Reykjavik. Indeed, narrative-experience design is a creative and exploratory process open to all subjects of design and intends to tell stories, foster reflection and emotion.

More information available at

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