About Iceland Writers Retreat

Our writing competition winner is announced!

Our writing competition winner is announced!

For the third year in a row, we have partnered with Iceland Travel to run a competition to win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat. This year’s theme was “Iceland — Regard The Moon” and we received over 350 submissions from the around the world.

The winner of the competition is Heidi Ball from the UK, with her story “White Light”. Continue reading

Meet the Recipients of this Year’s Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award

Meet the Recipients of this Year’s Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award

This year is the second year the Iceland Writers Retreat has offered the Alumni Award. This prestigious award is funded in its entirety by generous IWR alumni and friends. It gives its recipients full or partial funding to attend the next Retreat, which will take place April 5 to 9, 2017 in Reykjavik. The winners are chosen based on both merit and financial need, and submissions were reviewed by IWR alumni volunteers. We received almost 600 applications from around the world and the quality of submissions was extremely high.

The recipients are:

Victor Yang: Victor spends lots of time teaching, biking, and thinking about food when he is not parked in front of Microsoft Word at a coffee shop. He spends his days as a labor organizer at the janitors’ union in Boston. His job, as a writer and an organizer, is to listen to other people’s stories and ask that they be shared. His essays are forthcoming in The Rumpus and Tahoma Literary Review. He grew up in Canada, rural China, and Kentucky and is now based in Boston.

Peter Ngila is a Kenyan writer. He graduated from Mount Kenya University in August 2015, where he was studying journalism. His short fiction has appeared in magazines and journals in Kenya and beyond including Jalada Africa, Prachya Review, Brittle Paper, Lawino, Ebedi Review among others. Peter has attended Writivism Creative Writing workshops in Kenya and Tanzania, and taken part in The Writivism Mentoring Process. He also attended the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Migrations Flow Workshop in Nairobi. Peter has a number of manuscripts, including a short story collection, a novella and a novel (in progress). He will go to Nigeria in January 2017 for six weeks to complete work on a novel.

Nathan ‘NJ’ Ramsden (partial scholarship) lives in West Yorkshire, UK. He writes mostly short fiction based on mythology and folktale, though he has also published one novel (Nothing’s Oblong), and is currently working on a translation of the long medieval poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’. Nathan taught English for several years before choosing to focus on writing and to set up a small press. In his spare time, he loves baking, bookbinding, and making music with synthesizers and an old jazz bass. Although he enjoys reading and translating Icelandic, this will be Nathan’s first trip to Iceland; he hopes to improve his spoken language as well as see some of the country and stock up on a few more books.

Akvile Buitvydaite (partial scholarship): After exploring many countries on her solitary travels, Akvile finally slowly settled down in Copenhagen. She grew up in a small town in Lithuania and the variety of places that she has visited has given her an opportunity to treasure the diversity of this world. She has been teaching for several years and at the moment is taking a degree in English and Cultural Studies. Writing has always played a role as a very intimate and personal expression of her solitude, whereas lately, she has become more explicit about it and thus received many encouraging responses. Slowly, she began to cultivate this passion and transform it into fiction. She wants her writings to tackle the questions of social justice and to evoke an emotional understanding of a human life.

We’ll be profiling all the recipients in more detail in the coming weeks.

The other finalists for the prize were (in alphabetical order):

Kirsten Barkved (Canada)
Brandon Breen (United States)
Tanvir Bush (United Kingdom)
Jenn Carson (Canada)
Emily Craven (Australia)
Julia L Guarch (United States)
Dela Gwala (South Africa)
Rachael King (New Zealand)
Katrina Jorene Maliamauv (Malaysia)
Regomoditswe Mamogale (South Africa)
Kim Parkhill (Canada)
Anastasia Pascoe (United States)
Arsalan Pirzada (Pakistan)
Marcie Rendon (United States)
Lena Rutkowski (Denmark)
Sally Ryhanen (Australia)
Nora Shychuk (United States)
Ryan Skaryd (United States)
Lucy Steeds (United Kingdom)
Lisa Sullivan (United States)
Ingeborg Swart (Netherlands)
Holly Truslove (United Kingdom)
Hannah van Didden (Australia)
Sophie Wellstood (United Kingdom)
Terry Anne Whitebeach (Australia)
Pierre Zahnd (France / United Kingdom)

An additional 52 people received “honorary mention”.

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat!

Win a spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat!
We’ve partnered with Iceland Travel to offer one person a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat in April 2017.  The winner will receive the full retreat package, including a free hotel stay, tours, most meals, and all workshops for the duration of the event, from 5 to 9 April.*
This contest has now closed. The winner will be announced on December 15.

Continue reading

Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award: Applications now accepted!

Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award: Applications now accepted!

The Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award offers talented writers in need of financial support an opportunity to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat in Reykjavík, Iceland in April, 2017. The deadline for applications for the 2017 award has now passed. We will announce the winner on 1 December, 2017. 

Who can apply

Anyone who is aged 18 or over on April 5, 2017 is eligible to apply. The winning candidate(s) must demonstrate that s/he does not have the financial means to attend the conference without this award.* Candidates do not need to be professional writers, but should be serious about the craft and interested in developing their skills and contacts. Their writing interests should fit well with the faculty for the 2017 retreat (i.e. literary fiction, non-fiction, memoir).

Family members of the judges and those who have already attended the IWR are not eligible to apply.*

What does it cover?

Entrants can apply for either full or partial funding. Full funding covers all participation in the Iceland Writers Retreat, as detailed on our website (including accommodation). The scholarship also includes round-trip flights to Iceland.

Partial funding covers the participant fee only, and neither accommodation nor round trip flights.

The award does not include airport transfers, travel insurance, travel visas (if applicable), other incidentals or meals not listed in the itinerary, or the Relax & Write extension.

How will the recipients be chosen?

The recipients will be chosen based primarily on two factors: a) The potential s/he demonstrates (or has demonstrated) as a writer and b) his/her need for financial support to be able to attend. We will also evaluate based on the other questions in the application, so make sure to tell us about yourself and why you think you’d be the perfect match for the Iceland Writers Retreat.

The applicant should also be available for media interviews before and during the Retreat, and be able to explain how s/he would help to share their experience with others after the fact. This may include being asked to prepare a short report on their experience to be published on the IWR website.

Applications will be reviewed by a group of IWR alumni. The final decision on the award recipient will be made by the IWR Founding Directors.

Deadline for applications: Monday, 31 October, 2016. Midnight, PST. 

*If this financial stipulation does not apply to you, or if you have already attended the IWR, please consider entering our writing competition, which is open to all. We will provide details of this event soon.

Reykjavik pond ©RomanGerasymenko

About the Iceland Writers Retreat

Held for the first time in April 2014, the Iceland Writers Retreat is an event comprised of a series of small-group writing workshops and cultural tours designed to introduce participants to Iceland’s rich literary heritage. Faculty in 2017 include Sara Gruen, Nadifa Mohamed, Vilborg Davíðsdóttir, Madeleine Thien, David Lebovitz, and Meg Wolitzer. The Iceland Writers Retreat was named one of the world’s best writers’ retreats by the Sydney Morning Herald, and one of the top 10 “Events to travel for in 2014” by Four Seasons Magazine.

About the IWR Alumni Award

This is the second time the IWR Alumni Award has been granted. It is so named because it has been funded by former IWR participants. We are extremely grateful for their generosity.

The 2016 recipients of the Award were Megan Ross and April Wolfe.

IWR Alumni Award winners 2015 ©romangerasymenko

IWR Alumni Award winners 2016 ©romangerasymenko

Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award: April Wolfe’s Story

Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award: April Wolfe’s Story

The economy dive hit me hard. I’m a writer by trade, but not the fun kind, which left me little time to work on my own creative projects, let alone remember what they were. Going to a writing retreat was out of the question — who had the time or money? So when Eliza called to tell me I’d been granted an award to travel to Iceland and study with renowned authors, I nearly dropped to the floor.

Continue reading