Eliza Reid co-founded the Iceland Writers Retreat with Erica Jacobs Green in 2014. Her first book, Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They How Changing the World, was published to critical acclaim in Feb 2022. It was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick, an instant bestseller in Canada, and is forthcoming in numerous languages. She is a former editor of Icelandair’s in-flight magazine and has been published in numerous publications, including the New York Times and CNN Opinion.
In addition to her writing, Eliza works with Business Iceland to promote her adopted country as a destination for both tourism and investment. In 2017, she was named a United Nations Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Originally from Canada, Eliza has lived in Iceland since 2003. She and her husband have four children, and she has an adult step-daughter. Visit her at www.elizareid.com.
Erica Jacobs Green
Erica Jacobs Green has worked in book publishing for nearly twenty-five years. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a BA in English, she was most recently the Vice President, Editorial Director, for Children’s Publishing at National Geographic. Highlights of Erica’s publishing career include positions as a children’s book editor at Chronicle Books, founder of Ever After Studios (a book production company), and Director of Publishing at Discovery Channel (Discovery Communications).
Today, in addition to working on the Iceland Writers Retreat, Erica is a freelance writer, editor, and publishing consultant. Her articles and short stories have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and online. Erica has worked with award-winning authors and illustrators as well as an array of famed brands for children and adults: from Jane Goodall to Star Wars and from Weird But True to Williams Sonoma. Originally from California, Erica’s spent many years abroad as an American expat, including two years in Iceland. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband, two children, and a beagle in a house full of traveler’s artifacts. www.EverAfterStudio.com
Volunteer Coordinator & Social Media Manager
Lisa Gail Shannen
Lisa Gail Shannen hails from Manchester, England and loves creative writing and literature with a passion! Although she’s been fascinated with words from the age of seven (when all she wanted for Christmas was her very own dictionary) she didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of well-crafted text until she was introduced to Ibsen, Shakespeare, Chekov and other great icons of literature, via her work with critically-acclaimed directors such as Terry Hands and Hilda Hellwig at the National Theatre. Since then, she has studied for a BA in Language and Literature at the University of Iceland, taught English, authored copy text for various publications, including the main written content for the SVEF-nominated VisitReykjavík website, in addition to writing a number of travel guides, such as the Official Reykjavik City Guide, the Frommer’s Guide to Iceland and Travel Iceland: the latter two publications were co-authored with Jane Appleton.
Apart from her adventures in travel, she is also a singer and songwriter and has co-authored (with Jean-Christophe Salaün) a number of songs, which have since been synchronised to film, including Icelandic film ‘City State’ and ‘Des Grenouilles Sur Le Toit’—a nature documentary by Lamoureux Maxence, commissioned for French national television.
Lisa currently resides in Iceland’s capital city with her husband and children and appreciates the small things in life.
Elizabeth Nunberg has been involved with IWR as a volunteer since its origins. A native of Minnesota with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, she is very active within education in Iceland as co-founder of the International School of Iceland, founder and co-chair of the English Department at Hjallastefnan schools and an English instructor.
Elizabeth has written alternative English curriculum for young learners in the Icelandic public schools. She continues to cultivate her interest and talents in writing for children and parents.
Having lived in Iceland as an expat since 2000, Elizabeth enjoys her time being in nature, cooking, traveling and playing with her family: Kristján her spouse, three children and Mark the Cat.
Social Media & Marketing Coordinator
Jessica Key has a Master of Publishing degree from Simon Fraser University, where she wrote her thesis on IWR and marketing international writers retreats. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Vancouver Island University, where she was the Managing Editor of the school’s literary magazine, Portal, and an Editorial Assistant for the Ralph Gustafson Distinguished Poet Lecture Series. She lives in Vancouver with her rabbit Kenneth, and works as the Managing Editor of subTerrain Magazine, the Senior Editor of the International 3-Day Novel Contest, and as a Publishing Assistant at Anvil Press. Her work has fostered a love for short stories and personal essays, as well as organizing literary events. When she’s not at work (or reading) she can be found hiking in the local mountains or imbibing at a local craft brewery.
In the autumn of 2012, on a pitch black winter’s night, we sat around a table inside a white house beside the sea with a bottle of wine and a handful of candles, and we talked about starting the Iceland Writers Retreat, a space for writers and those who enjoy the craft of writing to retreat and to foster their creative spirit. After all, we mused, this island out in the North Atlantic would be the ideal spot for a writing escape.
After thousands of emails, pages of budgets, meetings in a mash-up of languages, and speaking engagements in front of all kinds of would-be participants, the first event was held in April 2014. The event has improved and expanded since then, with participants from around the world coming together for five days of learning, exploring, writing, and creative inspiration.
We want participants to escape with us and find renewed interest and excitement in their writing while forging new friendships with like-minded people. We see these five days as just the beginning of new projects, new community, new adventures.
We hope Iceland inspires you like it has inspired us, and that you enjoy your time at the Iceland Writers Retreat as much as we enjoyed creating it.
— Erica & Eliza