The Reykjavík International Literary Festival (RILF) is the premier literary event in Reykjavík, attracting readers and authors from around the world since its inception in 1985. The festival features a diverse range of events, including readings, conversations, lectures, children’s programs, film screenings, discussions, poetry readings, and writing workshops. All festival events are free and open to the public, with a strong emphasis on accessibility and live streaming options. Additionally, the festival focuses on issues of freedom of expression and human rights, dedicating specific events to these important topics.
RILF collaborates with numerous institutions and organizations, including libraries, the City of Literature, PEN International, ICORN, the Icelandic Literature Center, the Publishers’ Association in Iceland, Nordic House, and Gljúfrasteinn, the House of Halldór Laxness. The festival also partners with other literary events worldwide, offering various programs and showcasing authors. RILF also offers the highly coveted Reykjavík Fellowship Program, which allows international professionals with an interest in Icelandic literature and authors to participate in an extensive and desirable program.
The festival also presents Orðstír, an honorary award recognizing translators from Icelandic into other languages. Two translators are selected for the award eachtime, with the sponsorship of the office of the
President of Iceland, Business Iceland, the Association of Translators and Interpreters, and the Icelandic Literature Center. Previous award winners include Catherine Eyjólfsson and Erik Skyum-Nielsen (2015), Eric Boury and Vicky Cribb (2017), John Swedenmark and Silvia Cosimini (2019), and Tina Flecken and Tone Myklebost (2021).
Finally, RILF presents the Halldór Laxness International Literary Prize, recognizing internationally recognized authors who have contributed to the renewal of the narrative tradition, much like Laxness himself, who received the Nobel Prize in 1955. The prize, which is worth €15,000, was first awarded in 2019 and has been presented to Ian McEwan, Elif Shafak, and Andrey Kurkov. The Halldór Laxness International Literary Prize is supported by Gljúfrasteinn, the House of Halldór Laxness, Forlagið (the publisher of Halldór Laxness in Iceland), Business Iceland, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Ministry of Culture and Business Affairs.