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Local writers walk the streets and town squares of Reykjavík, the settings of their stories. We, the readers of Reykjavík, follow in their footsteps and make the characters come to life. Anna Steinunn Valdimarsdóttir, primary school teacher

Other Events Primary schools in Reykjavík run a number of ongoing projects to encourage reading, often in collaboration with other parties. The Writer's Union of Iceland has for instance collaborated with schools on the project Writers in Class for a few years now, which is meant to create a bond between writers and students and encourage interest in literature by offering a literary programme for students of all ages. The writers work in pairs, and the programs are varied and adjusted according to age group. The city's preschools also work systematically with literature and one example is a project called Writer of the Month, where children get to know a new writer each month, reading his/her work with their teacher, followed by a visit from the writer. Yet another entertaining project is the so called Message Bag, a collaborative effort of a few preschools and one primary school, where students and the teacher choose a poem or story to work with and take the assignment around the participating schools, where it develops and changes until a joint exhibition is held to display the end result.

An interactive profile of poet Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807–1845). MS Icelandic Dairies website,

The Great Recital Competition is one of the biggest undertakings of the primary schools in the country. This is an annual event supported by many parties, including the Icelandic Publishers' Association, Reykjavík City, public libraries in Iceland and The Icelandic Language Commission. Seventh grade students throughout the country take part in the project, which is meant to call attention to and evoke an interest in reading and recital of literature. The competition always starts on the Icelandic Language Day in November, there are preliminary rounds in each school where students read poetry and other texts by

Design: Hvíta húsid


UNESCO City of Literature


Icelandic writers, and closing celebrations are held in the spring where the winners from each school perform. These celebrations are popular events and the participants are subsequently often asked to read at various other occasions. Even though this is a competition, emphasis is placed primarily on the great work that takes place in each school during preparations. Reciting fiction has always been interwoven with Icelandic culture, and this program is a part of sustaining an interest in recitation among the youngest generations while also calling to mind the theatrical roots of poetry.

Reykjavik City of Literature - Submission  
Reykjavik City of Literature - Submission  

Reykjavik City of Literature - Submission