Five reasons to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat

Five reasons to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat

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:

  1. A Wide Variety of Workshops, Led by Internationally Acclaimed Writers
  2. It’s Smaller Yet More Global Than Most Writing Conferences
  3. Excursions in Reykjavik and the Icelandic Countryside
  4. Immersion in Iceland’s History and Culture
  5. The Camaraderie and Shared Understanding Between Writers

Read the full article here.


#5onFri: Five Reasons to Attend the Iceland Writers Retreat



“Why the Iceland Writers Retreat is simply perfect”

“Why the Iceland Writers Retreat is simply perfect”

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.

You can read the entire post here:

On being ravished, or why the Iceland Writers Retreat is simply perfect

IWR Chats with Former Faculty Member Kate Williams

IWR Chats with Former Faculty Member Kate Williams

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!





Iceland Writers Retreat author readings hosted in conjunction with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature

Iceland Writers Retreat author readings hosted in conjunction with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature

In celebration of the fourth Iceland Writers Retreat, we will are thrilled to announce that we’ll be hosting an evening of author readings in conjunction with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Iðnó building, by the Reykjavik city lake, at 8 pm on Tuesday, April 4th and will feature readings by this year’s fabulous Iceland Writers Retreat faculty. The evening will be moderated once again by the wonderful Egill Helgason.

Our Featured Authors are: Olof Palme Prize winner Carsten Jensen; bestselling author Bret Anthony Johnston; New York Times bestselling author Chris Cleave; author and Iceland Writers Retreat alumna Claudia Casper; chef and author David Lebovitz; Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan; author, ethnologist and journalist Vilborg Davíðsdóttir; Man Booker Prize shortlist nominee Madeleine Thien; bestselling author Meg Wolitzer; Somerset Maugham Prize winner Nadifa Mohamed; Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse winner Paul Murray; and, author of The Paris Wife Paula McLain.

For more information in both Icelandic and English see our Facebook event





Iceland Writers Retreat at the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington, DC

Iceland Writers Retreat at the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington, DC

Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Iceland Writers Retreat booth at the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington DC this weekend. This was the first time we’ve attended this incredible event and we were thrilled to be able to meet so many interesting people and tell them about the Iceland Writers Retreat and our fabulous 2017 faculty. We had so much fun and even met some of our great IWR alumni! This year’s AWP was a massive success with over 12,000 people in attendance and around 800 exhibitors, with lots of lovely books, of course. Apart from our popular IWR bookmarks and flyers, and the wealth of literature on Iceland provided by Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature, the Icelandic Literature Center, and Iceland Naturally, all those who stopped by our booth got to sample some delicious OMNOM chocolate from Iceland and could pick up some handy notebooks and pens from Icelandair.

We’d sincerely like to thank everyone who signed up to receive our newsletter – we’ll be sending you all a welcome post very soon.

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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

Iceland Writers Retreat named one of Iceland’s most interesting start-ups!

Iceland Writers Retreat named one of Iceland’s most interesting start-ups!

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.

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