Join us for the Iceland Readers Retreat!


At the Iceland Readers Retreat, avid readers gather to listen to small group lectures and talks by renowned authors while learning about the rich literary heritage of this Nordic, book-loving nation. Our 2020 event was cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are looking forward to launching it in 2021. In that year, the event features award-winning writer Adam Gopnik, who will share reflections on his work, look at a few memoirs of note, and talk about his own encounters with Iceland. Between intimate discussions, we’ll enjoy bespoke literary-themed tours of the countryside, hear from a panel of Icelandic writers, and discover some of the magnificent cultural artifacts in Reykjavík’s museums. Running concurrently with the popular Iceland Writers Retreat (IWR), participants will have the opportunity to join readings and other programs with IWR faculty; we’ll announce our 2021 faculty later in 2020.

The perfect place to discover literary inspiration.”

– The Daily Beast

 Literary Tours

Literary-themed Golden Circle Tour

A unique variation on Iceland’s most popular excursion that includes stops at Geyser geothermal fields, Gullfoss waterfall, and the UNESCO-listed Þingvellir National Park (Thingvellir), as well as a visit to Iceland’s ancient seat of learning, Skálholt.


Literary Borgarfjörður

This trip travels west to the Borgarfjörður region, setting of the famous Egil’s Saga, as well as numerous other Icelandic sagas. We’ll circle the picturesque Hvalfjörður “Whale” fjord and visit the cultural centre Reykholt, where chieftain and writer Snorri Sturluson lived in the 13th century. Natural wonders on this tour include Europe’s largest hot spring, Deildartunguhver, and the waterfalls Barnafoss (“Children’s Falls”) and Hraunfossar (“Lava Falls”).

Reykjavik Literary Walking Tour

During the retreat, all participants are also invited to join a literary walking tour of Reykjavik, organized by the UNESCO City of Literature.



Museum Tour

We’ll discover some of Iceland’s magnificent cultural treasures on a special tour of one of Reykjavik’s top museums.




 Lectures & Panels

Panel Discussion with Icelandic Authors

Meet some of Iceland’s top authors at a panel discussion organized by Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature. The panel will include writers from various genres and introduce participants to Iceland’s vibrant literary scene. The 2020 panel was to include: Gerður Kristný (poetry), Fríða Ísberg (poetry and short stories), Ævar Þór Benediktsson (children’s books), and Lilja Sigurðardóttir (crime fiction), and we hope to confirm many of these authors will be able to join in 2021.



Lecture & Interactive Discussion led by the Featured Author

Adam Gopnik, our featured author for 2021, will give a talk about memoir focusing on his latest book as well as other memoirs. He’ll discuss the rules, hidden codes, buried pleasures, and unspoken dangers of this genre. Discussion to follow. Limited only to IRR participants.


Participate in Select IWR Sessions

In addition, the IRR includes sessions with the Iceland WRITERS Retreat, including:

  • A welcome drink, dinner, and reading with IWR and IRR faculty
  • Evening receptions
  • Pub Night with readings from local authors and live music
  • A closing Question and Answer Panel with IWR and IRR featured author
  • An opportunity to extend with the Relax, Read, and Write program

Advanced Reading

Participants will be provided with a short list of suggested books to read in advance that will be discussed during the event.




Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik will be our featured author to lead the 2021 IRR. His lecture and discussion will focus on memoirs, including his own. He taught at the second Iceland Writers Retreat in 2015.

Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. His books include At the Stranger’s Gate (2017), Paris to the Moon (2000), The King in the Window (2005), Through the Children’s Gate: A Home in New York (2006), Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life (2009), The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food (2011), and Winter: Five Windows on the Season (2011). Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, and also the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. In 2013, Gopnik was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. He lectures widely, and delivered the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Massey Lectures in 2011.

2020 Faculty (to be confirmed for 2021)


Fríða Ísberg

Fríða Ísberg

Award-winning author and poet
Gerður Kristný

Gerður Kristný

Icelandic Literature Award winner
Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Lilja Sigurðardóttir

Crime Fiction Author
Ævar Þór Benediktsson

Ævar Þór Benediktsson

Children's Book Author

Venue & Booking Information

The Venues

Accommodation, lectures and panels will be at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel in central Reykjavík.

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Why Iceland?

Iceland has a rich literary tradition dating as far back as the nation’s settlement 1100 years ago and offers an unforgettable setting.

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How Do I Book?

Simply visit our registration page to get started. Anyone is welcome to sign up and attend; registration will open on October 1. Spaces are very limited.

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Need Help?

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions or contact us via email.

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Iceland Readers Retreat 2021

April 28 – May 2, 2021

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Stack Entry


Per Person

  • 1 Free Entrance
  • Regular Seating
  • Custom Swags
  • Free Wifi
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Student Pass


Bulk Order

  • 20x Free Entrance
  • 20x Regular Seating
  • Custom Swags
  • Free Wifi
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VIP Pass


VIP's only

  • VIP Entrance
  • VIP Seating
  • Custom Swags
  • Free Wifi
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