Christer Magnusson has lived in Iceland for many years, but attended the Iceland Writers Retreat for the first time this year. This is his story.
Akvile Buitvydaite was a recipient of a partial Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award. This is her story.
Kimmery Martin has shared her experiences about the Iceland Writers Retreat on her blog. She writes that the event had “an invigorating cosmopolitan feel,” thanks to participants who attended from 20 countries. The story has many interesting photographs and practical information on travelling in Iceland, whether for the IWR or not.
You can read the full story on Kimmery’s website.
Victor Yang was one of four recipients of the Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award in 2017. This is the story of his experience at the IWR.
DIYMFA published a list of five reasons to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat, by 2017 participant Sara Letourneau. “I came home from this trip inspired, clear-headed, and ready to return to writing after a month where my confidence in my craft had pretty much shattered. And for that, I am profoundly grateful for the IWR experience,” she writes.
Sara’s top five reasons to attend are:
- A Wide Variety of Workshops, Led by Internationally Acclaimed Writers
- It’s Smaller Yet More Global Than Most Writing Conferences
- Excursions in Reykjavik and the Icelandic Countryside
- Immersion in Iceland’s History and Culture
- The Camaraderie and Shared Understanding Between Writers
Read the full article here.
Writer and illustrator Megan Herbert has attended the Iceland Writers Retreat three times. In addition to leading a popular free workshop on screenwriting at this year’s event, she was live drawing details from her workshops and other parts of the conference.
Dorothyanne attended the Iceland Writers Retreat for the first time this year.
In a personal blog about the experience, she writes: “To say it was life-changing sounds trite and overblown, but it was so for me. … It feels intimate, safe, friendly, warm, and oh so supportive.”
Dorothyanne discusses her workshops, which were led by an “overwhelmingly spectacular” faculty.
Chris Cleave, award-winning British novelist, was a faculty member at the fourth Iceland Writers Retreat. In his typical self-deprecating yet good-natured humour, he led a workshop on criticism: how to get it, how to seek it out, and what to do with it once you have it.
The fourth Iceland Writers Retreat has just come to an end. While we sift through the photos and memories (a detailed post will be coming soon!), check out this column by our faculty member David Lebovitz, who led small-group workshops on putting personality into food writing and on how to write a cookbook.
Last year, British novelist, broadcaster, and historian Kate Williams gave readings and hosted two workshops at the Iceland Writers Retreat. As the 2017 retreat rapidly approaches, she recalls the highlights of her stay in Iceland and gives future attendees a glimpse of what to expect from the Land of Fire and Ice.
Interview by Elliott Brandsma.
Kate, describe some of your favorite parts about the Iceland Writers Retreat. What did you enjoy most about the event last year?
I loved meeting the wonderful participants and hearing their brilliant ideas for books – and our reading evenings – the British Ambassador came to one!
What were your impressions of Iceland? What struck you most about the country and its people?
I chose to come to the Writers’ Retreat as I was already a huge fan of Iceland – the scenery, the country, the people and your entire political outlook. And of course the great literature you have produced. I was struck by the incredibly beautiful scenery and how you could imagine yourself back in the Age of Vikings simply by just being there. I felt as if I could hear the old Icelandic gods talking to me……
Iceland is a place that leaves a lasting impression on people for many reasons. How, if at all, has your writing changed since visiting the country?
Iceland makes you more aware of the myths in the landscape. There were definitely secrets in the stones….
What do you like most about working as a broadcast journalist, television personality, professor, historian, and novelist? How do you juggle such distinctly different roles and still find time to write?
Hmm! I am very lucky to have so many demands on my time and am so fortunate to be able to do what I love every day. But I do admit that things fall down by the wayside. I dread being asked by TV companies to film me at home as there are piles of books everywhere….
You’re an avid author of historical fiction and have appeared in several television documentaries about historic events and time periods. If you could travel back in time, which time period would you choose to visit, and why?
I’d have to come to Iceland in the true times of the Vikings! And I have a lot of questions to ask of the subjects of my books, Emma Hamilton, Queen Victoria, Empress Josephine.
As a regular television commentator on the royal family, can you share with us some little-known facts about the Queen of England and her kin?
If you are talking to the Queen and she moves her handbag to the other arm – that’s your signal to make a graceful exit. By doing so, she is usually signaling to a lady in waiting or similar person to come and whisk her away so your conversation is about to come to an end!
What projects are you currently working on? What can we expect to hear/see from Kate Williams in the next year or two?
My final book in my trilogy about an Anglo- German family – I am currently correcting it and it is due out at the end of the year. Life in the 30s in the run-up to war…..
Say something about yourself that people might be surprised to know.
I am afraid of sponge. I have got better on it and I don’t mind bath sponges these days but I hate mattress kind of sponge!
Who are some of the authors on your reading list right now? Now that you’ve experienced Iceland firsthand, what book would you recommend future IWR attendees read before coming to Iceland to write and gather inspiration?
Independent People [a novel by Icelandic Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness] is a wonderful book. I love more recent engagements with Iceland, Hannah Kent …and Sarah Moss’s memoir of a year living in Iceland post the economic crash fills me with envy – the thought of living for a year in your beautiful country! The Iceland Writers’ Retreat is the most inspiring experience – don’t miss it!