Reykjavik Reads 2014 - Time for a story

Time for a Story - Reykjavik Reads 2014

In 2014, October became a Time for a Story, as short prose texts were put in focus. The festival was called Time For a Story in order to promote the message that most often we indeed have the time to read or tell stories. It doesn’t have to take long, perhaps all it takes is just a trip on the elevator in the mall. In October, stories therefore appeared in unusual ways and forms. They lightened up the autumnal darkness on walls of buildings, cheered shoppers up in Kringlan shopping mall - on walls, floors, elevators and elsewhere - and enraptured swimmers in the local hot pots. 

Time for a Story

The third Reykjavík Reads Festival kicks off on October 1 2014. The festival offers a versatile programme, filled with exciting events that will take place for the whole month of October. This year’s festival is devoted to short-stories, micro-stories and the art of writing stories. In short, it’s Time for a Story.

The Mayor of Reykjavík, Dagur B. Eggertsson, did launch the festival in Kringlan shopping mall, on Wednesday, October 1 accompanied by popular rap band Reykjavíkurdætur (Daughters of Reykjavik) and other artists. On the occasion of the festival, Þórarinn Eldjárn, one of Iceland's most celebrated short story writers, has selected 27 stories by a range of different authors. This new collection entitled Eins og Reykjavík (As in Reykjavík), which shows different sides of the city, will be published in digital form, and readers can access a free copy of the book until October 15 on On October 1 we also open the "Lunch Box" on the City of Literature website, in which a new short-story will appear every day. The stories are all short enough for readers to be able to enjoy them during their lunch- or coffee break.

More about the Reykjavík Reads Festival 2014

The festival was called Time For a Story in order to promote the message that most often we indeed have the time to read or tell stories. It doesn't have to take long, perhaps all it takes is even just a trip on the elevator in the mall. In October, stories will therefore appear in unusual ways and forms. They will lighten up the autumnal darkness on walls of buildings, cheer us up in Kringlan shopping mall's walls, floors, elevators and elsewhere, or enrapture us in a hot pot. Local schools will teem with stories and some of these stories will travel between them. It will even be possible to hear a micro-story when calling the City of Reykjavík's Service Centre, since the authors Kristín Ómarsdóttir and Óskar Árni Óskarsson have recorded a few of their stories so that callers can listen to them when on hold.

On October 8, Þórarinn Eldjárn talked about the festival’s short-story collection Eins og Reykjavík and explain what kind of threads bind these stories together. The event will take place in the literary salon run by Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature in Tjarnarbíó Theatre's café.

Multicultural and International Events

Café Lingua is a pop-up café run by the Reykjavík City Library. The City of Literature joins hands with Hola, the Spanish Language Association in Iceland, and hosts a Café Lingua night devoted to the stories of Gabriel García Márquez. Guests will learn more about this writer that passed away earlier this year by speed dating with story tellers that will talk about him and his stories both in Icelandic and Spanish.

There will be a lively programme in Tjarnarbíó Theatre on October 4 and 5 during the international performance arts festival All Change: International Fun Palace which will take place in Iceland for the first time. Diverse events will take us all the way to Kringlan mall, where the Icelandic champions in theatre-sports will show up and improvise stories for guests and unaware passers by. During a panel discussion we will talk about the nature of theatre and ponder whether the role of the playwright/story-teller is on the decline within the new theatre.

Stories for children

As always, events for children and families are part of the festival. This year, the Nordic House in Reykjavik will be bustling with life from October 4 when the exhibition Word-Adventures starts. The exhibition is organized in association with the International Children‘s Literature Festival in Reykjavík. The Peacock will spread its colourful tail feathers and show a versatile and exciting collection of children’s books from all the Nordic countries. The exhibition is a novel adventure world which one can both touch, play in and look at. It is created by the artist Kristín Ragna Gunnarsdóttir and writer Davíð Stefánsson in collaboration with the Nordic House and the Reykjavík City of Literature. This exhibition is open open for all and entrance is free. Schools are invited for guided visits and the exhibition is also open to the public, free of charge.

The Writers’ Union of Iceland offers school visits by two writers, Davíð Stefánsson and Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, as part of the project Writers in Schools and the Reykjavík Reads festival. They will discuss how we create stories and how stories come into being. During the winter months this project has a number of other exciting assignments which appeal to girls and boys of all ages. Further information about Writers in Schools can be found on the Writers’ Union website.

We create new stories

The City of Literature offers miscellaneous creative writing workshops as part of this year's festival for those who want to try their hand at writing. We would particularly like to draw your attention to open workshops for families that will take place in the Nordic House, where writer Davíð Stefánsson will guide participants through a process of story-writing. This is an ideal workshop for parents and children that would like to create stories together.

Elsewhere, fantasy writer Emil Hjörvar Petersen will unravel Marvels in Reykjavík in his lecture series and fantasy writing workshops organized by the City of Literature during the festival.

The Women’s Story Circle and the City of Literature invite women of foreign origin, as well as their native sisters, to participate in a writing workshop organized by the Canadian writer Angela Rawlings, who lives and works in Iceland.

Lastly, a short message story competition (Send Me a Story) for people from 10 - 16 years of age will be ongoing throughout the month. Kids can send their sms story of maximun 33 words, accompanied by their name and age, to the number 901-0500. Three stories will be awarded by phone company Vodafone.

A week with Polish short-stories

Polish short-stories will be in the spotlight during the final week of the festival. As a creative continuation of Marvels in Reykjavík, the week

will start with a journey into “other worlds” created by three celebrated Polish authors: Bruno Schulz, Stanisław Lem and Sławomir Mrożek. Their short-stories will be introduced and discussed in a reading group organized by the City of Literture. Polish stories will also be presented through images at the exhibition of works by a renown Polish illustrator Daniel Mróz, whose images have been an intergral part of the fictional worlds created by Lem and Mrozek. This exhibition will take place at the City Library on Tryggvagata.

On October 28, two Polish writers (Piotr Paziński and Ziemowit Szczerek) and three Icelandic writers (Kristín Eiríksdóttir, Halldór Armand Ásgeirsson and Þórarinn Eldjárn) will meet to read their short-stories and talk about this literary form. The event is part of the project Transgressions: International Narratives Exchange, which promotes Polish literature in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, and vice versa.


The Reykjavík Reads festival has an impressive number of partners, who help us make the festival both versatile and entertaining. Kringlan Shopping Mall, the Nordic House, the Reykjavík City Library, Reykjavík City's Department of Education - together with teachers, students and after school centres -  writers, booksellers, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service and many more.  All these partners play an important role in making Reykjavík a true city of literature.

Grassroots Festival

The objective of the festival is to encourage reading, to boost a lively discussion about literature and language and, last but not least, to draw attention to the value of the art of the word, both in cultural education and daily life. This festival is an annual event and October is thus becoming known as the month of reading and words in Reykjavík.

Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature encourages everyone who lives in Reykjavík and beyond to participate in the festival by showing up at the events, organizing their own events and last but not least to read and tell stories.