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.
It is well-known that Iceland is the perfect home and travel destination for writers, readers, and all book-lovers alike. Here is a list of places that provide a real backdrop for some of your favourite books and movie/television adaptations.
- Lake Myvatn
Game of Thrones fans might recognize Iceland as “Beyond the Wall” from Game of Thrones, and the land of ice and fire. One specific spot that has appeared in the show is Lake Myvatn. This site (seen above, credit to ESTIVILLML – FOTOLIA) was seen in season 3, episode 5: “Kissed by Fire”. The cave that sits on this lake, which is called Grjotagja, is also known as the as the cave where Jon and Ygritte’s love scene took place.
This volcano is named in Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne. In the novel and the adapted motion picture, the volcano is the passageway to the centre of the Earth. Snæfellsjökull is both a volcano and a glacier. According to Visit Iceland, “Snæfellsjökull glacier is said to be one of the seven great energy centres of the earth, and has been attributed various mysterious powers.”
This town in south-eastern Iceland, close to Brunnhorn Mountain, was one site where the film Stardust was filmed. Stardust is based on the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. The cold air whipping off the water and view of the mountains provided the perfect panoramic background for part of the perilous journey. Neil Gaiman also developed American Gods while he travelled through Iceland.
- Fate of the Gods exhibition at Vikingaheimar
This exhibit centres on Norse mythology, myths, and magic. The exhibition showcases different types of art that are modern and contemporary interpretations of Nordic culture. Many prominent writers, including J.R.R. Tolkien, W.H. Auden, and William Blake were inspired by the Icelandic Eddas. Here is a way to go to the very beginning of the magic of the Icelandic literary tradition.
Visitors can also visit the Islendigur Viking Ship, which is in the same location.
“It’s an event for everyone who enjoys writing, not just for published authors“, say’s Eliza Reid, co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat in her recent interview for Frjáls Verslun, Iceland’s leading business magazine. The two-page story, which lists the Iceland Writers Retreat as one of their top 100 most interesting start-ups, details the event’s story from inception to first reception in 2014, and highlights how the program, with its compelling combination of workshops led by well-known authors and literary-themed adventures into the Icelandic countryside, has been attracting new groups of visitors from all over the world and helping to establish Iceland as a great destination for those who love writing and literature.
Iceland Writers Retreat co-founder Eliza Reid gave 10 insider tips to travelers visiting Iceland in this piece for the Toronto Star.