Reykjavík UNESCO’s Fifth City of Literature Skip to content

Reykjavík UNESCO’s Fifth City of Literature

By Iceland Review

Reykjavík is the fifth city in the world to be nominated UNESCO’s City of Literature; Reykjavík city will join the ranks of Scotland’s Edinburgh, United States’ Iowa City, Australia’s Melbourne and Ireland’s Dublin. Reykjavík is the first City of Literature where English is not the native tongue.


From the City Hall in Reykjavík. Photo by Bernhild Vögel

“I am honored Reykjavík was chosen. The city is known for art and culture around the globe and the nomination confirms the importance of our culture; that of all valuables, culture is the most important one,” Jón Gnarr, the mayor of Reykjavík told

Reykjavík is nominated because of its rich and historical literature tradition. The nomination details the invaluable middle age literature still preserved in the city, naming Íslendingasögur or the “Sagas of Icelanders”, Eddukvaedi or “Poems of Edda”, and Íslendingabók or the “book of Icelanders”.

“We are thrilled to see Reykjavík nominated. The nomination will bring attention to literature produced in Iceland and the deep-rooted literature tradition,” Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust told

The nomination is permanent pending the city is able to honor their obligations.


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