Vigdís Finnbogadóttir at her 80th birthday celebrations at the University of Iceland in April 2010. Photograph: Bjarni Grímsson
of Reykjavík as a UNESCO City of Literature. The labels, which will be in both Icelandic and English, symbolize the significance of literature in the urban landscape and they relate to its history and heritage, and by tracing the steps of writers, stories and poetry around the city, bridges are built between generations and over cultural boundaries. The intent is also to encourage general interest in literature and invite locals and visitors to see the city in a new light. Another project in the pipeline is an exhibition at the Reykjavík Art Museum of art by international writers in collaboration with Reykjavík as a City of Literature. There is interest in organizing such an event as a travelling exhibition, for instance in collaboration with other UNESCO Cities of Literature. The works on display will be by renowned writers. Possible names are Jorge Luis Borges, Emily Brontë, Kurt Vonnegut, V.S. Naipul, William Heinesen, George Sand, e.e. cummings and many more. IN CONCLUSION From the outset, Icelanders have looked to their literary heritage, their stories and poetry, where the language has been preserved and developed and the nation's identity forged. It is imperative for Icelanders and other devotees of
Icelandic literature that the art of the word continue to be at the core of the nation's culture. The City of Reykjavík hopes that it will be granted the opportunity to take on the ambitious task of becoming one of UNESCO's Cities of Literature. As a young city of roughly 200.000 people, that nevertheless boasts a diverse and vibrant cultural life, Reykjavík believes it has a lot to offer other cities in the network. Similarly, Reykjavík is keen to take advantage of the opportunities that come with the designation, learn from others and take part in creating and working towards projects in cooperation with creative people all over the world. Exchanging ideas, fostering communication between writers, translators and professionals, collaboration on electronic media and web portals – these are all projects that Reykjavík City and its partners are looking forward to taking part in. Reykjavík also sees great opportunities in working with other UNESCO Creative Cities, especially in the fields of music, film and design, all of which are budding art forms in Iceland. It is the hope of the City of Reykjavík and those collaborating with it on this bid, that UNESCO will take Reykjavík's interest with goodwill and lend its support to the important task of safeguarding Icelandic literature and language, while enforcing dynamic international connections.
Looking to The Future
Published on Jul 23, 2012