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Record Number of Icelandic Books Published in 2019

A record number of works of fiction are set to be published this year in Iceland, RÚV reports. A surge of publications in children’s literature, poetry, and other genres suggest this year’s Christmas Book Flood will be the biggest yet. Bryndís Loftsdóttir of the Icelandic Publishers Association says there are many reasons for the increase.

“This looks like it’s going to be an absolute record year in terms of publication in many genres and thus also perhaps possible to say that there is an incredible amount of growth and an unbelievable amount of new, young writers stepping forward,” Bryndís stated.

Children’s literature publications have increased by 47% from last year, and young adult books by 39%. Icelandic works of fiction are 21% more numerous than last year, while 51% more poetry books and plays will be published this year than in 2018.

Bryndís says that there is no one aspect that explains the increase, but that publishers’ optimism, as well as passion in the industry play a part. “Then there’s the country’s enjoyment of reading.”

Another aspect is a new system established by the government this summer which allows publishers to apply for partial reimbursement of costs related to publication of books in Icelandic. The committee has received 157 applications since the system was launched this summer, 99 of which have already been approved.

Bryndís says Icelanders will have plenty of books to choose this Christmas. “You want to tell readers, of course read your favourite author but also give yourself time to get to know all of these new names that are coming up and their work.”

Fans of Icelandic literature who don’t speak the language will also be glad to hear that translations of Icelandic literature into foreign languages have tripled over the past decade. Around 40 titles have recently been translated into English, or will soon be published in English, in the US and UK, according to the Icelandic Literature Centre.

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