The city of Reykjavik boasts foremost an outstanding literary history with its invaluable heritage of ancient medieval literature, the Sagas, the Edda and the Íslendingabók, Libellus Islandorum (Book of Icelanders). This longstanding tradition has naturally cultivated the city’s strength in literature education, preservation, dissemination and promotion.Reykjavik and the rest of Iceland have a very strong literary tradition dating back to the old Norse era. The first four cities of literature were English-speaking, so it is great to have a non-English-language city. It's just unfortunate that readers of the Icelandic-language probably number no more than 300,000 world-wide.
For a city of small population, approximately 200,000 habitants, Reykjavik is especially appreciated for demonstrating the central role literature plays within the modern urban landscape, the contemporary society and the daily life of the citizens. With the support of the central government of Iceland, the city continues to pursue its development plans in support of languages, translation initiatives as well as international literary exchanges.
The city’s collaborative approach through cooperation between various actors involved in literature, such as in publishing, in libraries, etc, in addition to the strong presence of writers, poets and children’s book authors is also noted to give the city a unique position in the world of literature.
With Reykjavik, the Creative Cities Network now has 29 members. As the fifth City of Literature, the city joins Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City and Dublin in enriching the Network with its best literary practices.
10 August 2011
City of Literature 5
I previously wrote about Dublin becoming the fourth UNESCO City of Literature. UNESCO recently designated Reykjavik in Iceland as the fifth UNESCO City of Literature. From the UNESCO website