Deep North - Stories from Iceland

Fiction

Iceland Review publishes translations of short stories by Icelandic authors.

Features

Deep dives into current events, contemporary issues, and the lesser-seen sides of Icelandic society.

Interview

Interviews with artists, scholars, politicians or other notable figures in Iceland.

Photography

View Iceland through the lens of some of the country's most accomplished photographers.

Looking Back

Looking back in Iceland's history, at the curious incidents, colourful characters, and heroic deeds that shaped the nation.

Issues

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Cream of the Crop

Row after row of steep but flat-topped mountains, interspersed with deep fjords. There’s barely enough land in between to make up a coastline, let alone farmland. But on the green patches between the cliffs and the waves, there are still

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Material World

When Canadian media theorist and philosopher Marshall McLuhan wrote that “the medium is the message,” he did not mean that

paganism iceland

Pagan Poetry

Ásatrú Society, how may I help you?” This was neither the voice of a gruff metalhead nor the voice of

Mad World

“Exceptionally rudimentary software” On Friday, November 11, I attended an appointment with a psychologist in Reykjavík. For weeks leading up

Staying Power

Elsa Pálsdóttir was doing what she loved most: Deadlifting. As she rested between sets, she chit-chatted with a man of

Disaster on Dark Seas

U-300 On the morning of November 20, 1944, a single U-boat cruised silently at periscope depth beneath the rough waves

Getting the Word Out

The Icelandic Literature Centre awards grants to some 80-100 translations from Icelandic to other languages each year. The number of applications

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Elín Elísabet Einarsdóttir

Wielding Narrative

History is a fairly new academic subject in Iceland, having first entered into university curriculums in the 1970s. The discipline is a form of intellectual time travel that puts historians in charge of bringing information from past to present – a task made immediately more complicated by the distortion of context. Put simply: history is […]

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Helga Páley Friðþjófsdóttir

The Dwarf with the Ear

People who travel through space often have poor digestion because their internal clock gets thrown off mid-air. Time travellers such as myself on the other hand, get a ringing in their ears, sometimes long before we even set off. The ringing is constant, a sign of our continual desire to exit the moment. You can […]

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baby swimming

A Splash of Happiness

Long before I got pregnant, I heard about parents in Iceland taking their newborns swimming from a colleague of mine who joined baby swimming classes with her infant. She shared her experiences online, and in one of her videos, her four-month- old son stood unaided in the hands of his swim teacher. I was intrigued; […]

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architecture Kirkjusandur apartments

Building Blocks

“Our city belongs to all of us. It’s so much more than a collection of buildings.” To architect Jórunn Ragnarsdóttir, a city is an organic entity, a collaboration between the architects who design its buildings and the inhabitants who populate them and traverse the streets between them. Jórunn is one of Iceland’s most respected architects […]

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Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir rithöfundur

A Difficult Read

Every New Year’s Eve for a decade, Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir made the resolution to write a book. It took a while, but in 2019, Magma was published – a harrowing story about how a young woman loses herself within the confines of an emotionally abusive relationship affected by the pornification of society. It was published in […]

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Þórólfur Guðnason

Doctor’s Orders

Over the past 18 months, Þórólfur Guðnason has gone from quasi-anonymous medicine man to bona fide historical figure. Along with Director of Health Alma Möller and Director of Civil Protection and Emergency Management Víðir Reynisson, Þórólfur forms the so-called “troika” – the face of the government’s response to COVID-19. He’s Iceland’s Anthony Fauci: the imperturbable voice of reason and restraint. It’s a complicated role predicated mainly on credibility, demanding a certain immaculateness when it comes to personal precautionary measures.

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State Of The Artist

THE PLUMBER For many years, the minimalist composer Philip Glass worked as a plumber. He did this not only before he started composing but also alongside his music work. Once, while installing a dishwasher in a SoHo loft, he glanced

Seyðisfjörður

In Due Force

Autumn’s gauze curtain On Sunday, October 3, Hlöðver Hlöðversson stared into a camera in Northeast Iceland. He wore a cream-coloured cap, a grey jacket, and a stern expression. Behind him, there was mist and marshland – only that marshland would not have been an accurate description of the landscape a few days previous. “Is this […]

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Facing North

The Arctic Circle Assembly took place in Harpa last October. Dignitaries from all over the world attended the event, filling up the conference centre with important-looking people in suits, younger people in tighter-fitting suits handing them papers, and slightly-more-dishevelled people with backpacks poring over figures and data with a look of concern.

The doyen at the helm of this event, which even now, when a global pandemic is raging, brings more than 1,500 in-person participants from over 50 countries to Reykjavík, is Iceland’s former president for over two decades, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. The Assembly was cancelled in 2020, but this year, Ólafur Ragnar sent out invites for a party.

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Cricket Krikket

Cricket Conquest

It’s a grey spring day in Southwest Iceland. In the town of Hafnarfjörður, in Víðistaðatún park, few people are out and about except for the occasional dog owner taking their pet for a stroll. One pauses under the angled façade of Víðistaðakirkja churchto cast an inquisitive glance at a group gathered on the field. Then a […]

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john snorri icelandic mountaineer

Closer to the Stars

The Savage Mountain When John Snorri Sigurjónsson was 14 years old, he flipped open a magazine and fell in love with a mountain. “From that point onward,” he would later remark, “there was only one mountain in my eyes.” He may have been referring to an article from 1987, which ran under the heading “Suicide […]

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I Only Think About You In Long Sentences

You dumped me during a recession. You’d just lost your job at the ad agency. You said you needed to make a radical change in your life, you’d run aground, were stranded, it was over, and yet, you said, you wanted to part on good terms and before I could think whether I wanted to […]

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