Iceland Writers Retreat

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 21st August 2015
  • writers-retreat-2

    Nordophile has dedicated this week to Nordic literature. We have interviewed Sara Blaedel, featured The Nordic Literature Prize awards, asked questions to some of your favourite Nordic authors on our Twitter page and showcased some Nordic book fairs and festivals coming up later this year in some of the Nordic cities. To round of this […]




    Nordophile has dedicated this week to Nordic literature. We have interviewed Sara Blaedel, featured The Nordic Literature Prize awards, asked questions to some of your favourite Nordic authors on our Twitter page and showcased some Nordic book fairs and festivals coming up later this year in some of the Nordic cities.

    To round of this special week, we are bringing you Iceland Writers Retreat. For many writers a retreat is where it all begins, nurturing an idea, engaging with other writers and building the confidence to put pen to paper.

    Could you be funded to attend?

    The Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award has been funded to support one writer with outstanding potential to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat in Reykjavik, Iceland in April, 2016.

     

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    The Event

    The third annual Iceland Writers Retreat will feature small workshops and panels by renowned authors, focusing on the art and craft of writing. Through exclusive trips and talks by local writers, it will also introduce participants to Iceland’s rich literary tradition. Between sessions, we’ll offer you time to find inspiration and write in an unforgettable setting as well as show you some of Iceland’s natural and cultural sites.

     

    Workshops and Panels; Over the course of the retreat, each participant will be enrolled in a total of five small-group writing workshops (max.15 participants) led by internationally acclaimed authors, a Q&A panel with all faculty, and numerous readings and social functions.

     

    Where and When?

    The third annual Iceland Writers Retreat will take place in Reykjavik April 13 – 17, 2016.

     

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    The Founders

    ELIZA REID owns and operates a company specializing in event management and marketing communications. She is also a writer and editor and has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers in the UK, U.S., Iceland, and her native Canada. Eliza holds an honours BA in international relations from Trinity College at the University of Toronto and an MSt in modern history from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.

    Eliza’s current and past projects include working as the editor for Icelandair’s inflight magazine, Icelandair Info; copy editor, writer, and marketing consultant for many of Iceland’s largest organizations; and project manager for successful international conferences in Reykjavik.

    Eliza has lived in Reykjavik, Iceland since 2003. She has travelled extensively and published about experiences as varied as almost being stranded in Timbuktu and dining with strangers in Uzbekistan. She lives with her husband and their four energetic young children.
    Visit her at www.elizareid.com.

     

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    ERICA JACOBS GREEN has worked in book publishing for nearly twenty years. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a BA in English, past highlights of Erica’s publishing career include positions as a children’s book editor at Chronicle Books, founder of Ever After Studios (a book production company), and Director of Publishing at Discovery Channel (Discovery Communications). As a freelance writer and editor, her articles and short stories have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and online. Erica has worked with award-winning authors and illustrators as well as an array of famed brands for children and adults: from Jane Goodall to Star Wars and Dr. Oz to Williams Sonoma.

    Today, Erica is a Senior Editor at National Geographic in the children’s book group. She also is the Co-Founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat and is at work on a novel. Originally from California, Erica spent eight years abroad as an American expat, including two years in Iceland. She recently moved back to Washington, DC where she now lives with her husband and two small children in a house full of traveler’s artifacts. http://ericajgreen.wordpress.com/

     

    Iceland Writers Retreat_at Cityhall_0. Image by Roman Gerasymenko

     

    So what actually happens at the retreat?

    TIME TO WRITE: We’ve dedicated blocks of time for writers to focus on writing. Participants can choose to stay in the quiet hotel or wander over to a café in town. We’ll provide a list of the best coffee shops and libraries for writing.

    EXCLUSIVE RECEPTIONS: Iceland wants to welcome you. We hope that, as in previous years, participants will be invited to cocktail receptions hosted by local embassies and Icelandic leaders, and will confirm details closer to the event.

    MUSIC, FOOD, & MORE: Late night offerings include a chance to hit the streets of Reykjavik to see live music, listen to readings by local writers, and dine at some of Reykjavik’s best eateries. And you’ll be well fed: IWR enrollment includes breakfast, three lunches and one dinner, plus coffee during breaks and cocktail receptions.

    [The Retreat] included many interesting activities outside of the workshops.” Heidi, Australia, 2015 participant

    “RELAX & WRITE” OPTIONAL EXTENSION: Once you’ve been inspired by Iceland and by the writing workshops, why not spend some additional, quieter time in Reykjavík to work on your writing and enjoy the continued company of some of your fellow writers? The optional “Relax & Write” two-day extension includes two additional nights’ accommodation. You have free time during the days to take additional tours, walk through town, shop for souvenirs, or write in a local café. The group will then gather in the evenings for dinner together. At the second dinner, we’ll have an open mike night where you’ll have an opportunity (if you wish) to share some of your own work with your fellow IWR participants.

     

    IWR_2015_062_©_Roman_Gerasymenko

    photo; RomanGerasymenko

     

    Why Iceland?

    Iceland has a rich literary tradition dating as far back as the nation’s settlement 1100 years ago. The country’s 12th and 13th century sagas — heroic tales of family feuds, adventures and heroism — are revered as both historical and literary works of art and have inspired modern tales from the Lord of the Rings to Wagner’s four operas, The Ring of the Nibelung.

    Iceland’s only Nobel Prize winner, Halldór Laxness, was recognized in the field of literature in 1955. The country publishes more books per capita than any other nation on Earth. And its capital, Reykjavik, is the world’s first non-native English speaking UNESCO City of Literature.

    While it has a strong literary tradition, Iceland’s natural attractions are justifiably world famous. Within just a short drive of the picturesque capital, you’ll find moss-covered lava fields, snow capped peaks, steaming geothermal fields, powerful glacial rivers, and photogenic waterfalls.

    A modern, safe, and friendly country, Iceland is an easy-to-reach destination. It is just a three-hour flight from the UK, and five hours from the East Coast of North America — and stopovers in the country are free for up to a week if you are travelling from one continent to the other with Icelandair.

     

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    To find out more information and watch videos from last year’s retreat visit IcelandWritersRetreat.com

    Information about funding IcelandwritersRetreat.tumblr.com

    Special thanks to Eliza Reid for allowing Nordophile to use their text and information.

     

     

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    Icelandic singer – DíSA

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 4th August 2015
  • Sculpture_EP_Cover_4_zpsq3gfrfpk

    Nordophile is featuring Icelandic singer/songwriter DíSA from Reykjavik. Bringing her Icelandic vibe to her adoptive country Denmark, DíSA combines all the Nordic qualities to mesmerise with her musical talent. Bio Icelandic born DíSA is a singer and songwriter based in Copenhagen, Denmark. DíSA’s music is about challenging and expanding the boundaries of modern pop music, and she […]




    Nordophile is featuring Icelandic singer/songwriter DíSA from Reykjavik. Bringing her Icelandic vibe to her adoptive country Denmark, DíSA combines all the Nordic qualities to mesmerise with her musical talent.

    Bio

    Icelandic born DíSA is a singer and songwriter based in Copenhagen, Denmark. DíSA’s music is about challenging and expanding the boundaries of modern pop music, and she finds inspiration in the wild, Scandinavian nature. DíSA’s Music shares the qualities of her native country – it is cold yet compelling and you always sense an underlying risk of eruption.

     

    DíSA debuted in 2013 with the single ‘Sun’ that premiered on the lifestyle magazine Nowness.com. Subsequent, it created a lot of blog attention, with a dark and beautiful video. The single was well received by the Danish press as well describing DíSA’s vocals as “unearthly” and “angelic”. With DíSA’s symphonic and picturesque compositions, she is the latest demonstration of Iceland’s enormous pool of talent.

    Photo Chris Calmer

    DíSA released her second single ‘Stones’ 3rd of February 2014 – the day after she played her debut concert as support act for Ellie Goulding.

    The song is produced by Brian Batz (Sleep Party People), and the video is made by Icelandic video artist Máni Sigfússon, who have made a perfect match between the Icelandic nature and the music of DíSA.

    Since then DíSA has been working with various songwriters in London, Gothenburg and Stockholm and is currently, and will be performing at this year’s Iceland Airwaves. Her debut EP, Sculpture, was released worldwide on March 24th, 2015.

     

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    DíSA has earned praise from Pigeons and Planes [“spooky but entirely compelling”], The Line Of Best Fit [“truly exciting”], Hilly Dilly [“if ‘enchanting-pop’ wasn’t a sub-genre before, it should be now”] and many others. She has played Scandinavian industry festivals Iceland Airways, by:Larm and Spot festival.

    disamusic.com

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    Cycle – Music & Art Festival.

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 30th June 2015
  • cycle

    Nordophile is very excited to announce the Cycle – Music & Art Festival, taking place at various locations in Iceland between the 13th-16th August.     Bringing together superstars of the creative world such as Olafur Eliasson, Icelandic Love Corporation and Simon Steen Andersen with rising stars such as Eyvind Gulbrandsen, Skark Ensemble and Pinquins the […]




    Nordophile is very excited to announce the Cycle – Music & Art Festival, taking place at various locations in Iceland between the 13th-16th August.

     

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    Bringing together superstars of the creative world such as Olafur Eliasson, Icelandic Love Corporation and Simon Steen Andersen with rising stars such as Eyvind Gulbrandsen, Skark Ensemble and Pinquins the inaugural Cycle Music and Art Festival will take place this summer between August 13–16 in Kópavogur, Iceland. The festival is a new platform for exploring and exhibiting the meeting point of creative worlds, producing and presenting works that reach outside the traditional boundaries of discipline, craft and process. Pioneering international artists in the fields of new music, performance art, visual arts, sound art and architecture will collaborate and create across a city-wide site with music as a central focus. By introducing existing ideas, sounds, materials and our habitat in a new context, Cycle will seek to redefine the traditional art festival as a site of creation not just consumption. It will experiment with new ways of using the concert hall and museum whilst escaping them to showcase performances and installations in public spaces and found locations. We are aiming to push artists to engage outside of the boundaries imposed by their disciplines with the intention of altering their own and their audience’s perception of their surroundings and in doing find a meaningful alternative to the avant-garde. Cycle Music and Art Festival builds on the foundations laid by The Icelandic Chamber Music Festival. The festivals will run in parallel, encouraging young, classically trained musicians to engage with contemporary art and new music, interdisciplinary works and sustainability. Promoting the flourishing interdisciplinary music/art scene the festival will bring together musicians, artists, academics and audiences in an exciting city-wide site, where encounters with the familiar are renewed as experimentation and participation take centre stage.

     

     

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    Fjóla Sverrisdóttir is the Managing Director of the festival. Fjóla uses her broad background in both music and international business and her passion for entrepreneurial art to create a festival where artists can grow. Fjóla Dögg Sverrisdóttir holds degrees in musical education and business and works as an independent project manager in the creative industry with a focus on music and design. She is currently completing a masters degree in Project Management at the Reykjavik University. Fjóla has many years of experience in working in an international business environment through her work as a team leader at an Icelandic based multinational company. Fjóla’s musical education and personal interest in the arts in combination with her project management and business skills make her the ideal Managing Director for the Cycle Art and Music Festival.

     

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    Gudný Gudmundsdóttir is one of the Art Directors of the festival. Guðný is a violinist and the artist director of Skark Ensemble. She founded the Icelandic Chamber Music Festival in 2008 and brings her experience with festivals and her passion for bringing artists from different disciplines together to create Cycle Music and Art Festival. Gudný Gudmundsdóttir studied violin in Reykjavík, Freiburg and Berlin. She is currently finishing a masters degree in Musicology from the Humboldt University in Berlin. Gudný founded the very successful Icelandic Chamber Music Festival in Iceland in 2008 and has directed it to this day. The festival, which takes place every August, is a platform for young musicians and composers and offers music courses, workshops, lectures and symposiums. Gudný is the co-founder and artistic director of the Skark Ensemble, a string ensemble for contemporary music in collaboration with other art disciplines, such as visual arts and architecture.

     

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    Tinna Thorsteinsdóttir is the other Art Director of the festival. Tinna is an accomplished pianist who has a broad experience with new music. She has curated and managed various music festivals in Iceland and was awarded the DV Culture Prize for Music in 2013. She holds degrees as a classical pianist from Universities in Germany and the USA. Her main emphasis is on 21st-century music and interdisciplinary performance with collaborations within various art fields. Tinna was the Artistic Director of the music festival and masterclasses Vid Djúpid in Iceland 2005-2008. She curated the large-scale art and music exhibition Piano at Reykjavík Arts Festival in 2014. Tinna is founder of and curates the new music series Peripheriberry (Icel. Jaðarber) at Reykjavík Art Museum as well as being one of two Artistic Directors of the Cycle Music and Art Festival.

     

    Locations

     

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    Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum was opened in 1994 and bares the name of the female artist and sculpturist Gerdur Helgadóttir,who passed away in 1975 only 47 years old. Gerdur was a pioneer in three-dimensional abstract artform and was a leader for female sculpture artists in Iceland. Her estate left the municipality of Kópavogur 1400 sculptures in 1977 with the condition that Kópavogur would build a museum for these artworks.

     

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    Salurinn was the first concert hall in Iceland opened in 1999. The design of the hall was made by architects Jakob Líndal and Kristján Ásgeirsson. Designing the concert hall, an emphasis was put on ensuring the best acoustics possible and as much Icelandic material as possible.

     

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    The Kópavogshæli Asylum was built 1925-1926 according to drawings by architect Gudjón Samúelsson (architect of Hallgrímskirkja church). This was first an institute for tuberculosis patients and later it was an institute for leprosy patients. In the 1950’s the building was turned into a home for people with intellectual disabilities and it was run as such until 1975. There is an ongoing investigation into how people were treated as residents of this home.

     

     

    The old Kópavogur townhouse stands at the roots of Kópavogur. Erlendur Zakaríasson, a stonesmith, built the house in 1902-1904 using sculpted stones and stone glue like he used also when building the Icelandic Parliament in Reykjavík in 1880-1881. This house is the oldest building in Kópavogur and one of few stone-stacked buildings still standing outside of Reykjavík.

     

    Some of the Artists

     

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    Adapter is a German-Icelandic ensemble for contemporary music based in Berlin. The core of the group consists of a quartet with flute, clarinet, harp and percussion. Together with steady guest instrumentalists this core grows into chamber music settings with up to ten players.

    On international concert tours and in the studio Adapter plays world premieres and other selected works of the recent past. The ensemble also produces and co-produces larger interdisciplinary projects – and is interested in exploring and testing the limits of trans-medial approaches in various settings.

    In workshops Adapter transfers knowledge of how to write, study and perform contemporary music to composers, instrumentalists and creatives worldwide. Adapter stays in touch with the latest developments in the differing scenes of contemporary creation – maintaining a progressive, authentic and powerful style.

     

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    The theatrical performance group Sómi þjóðar (Honorary Nation) and a few young Icelandic musicians collaborate in exploring a new territory in the low culture opera The Bear by William Walton. They enter an exciting and new dialogue with the operatic form in an unconventional way, when opera meets contemporary theatre at the local pub Players in Kópavogur.

    This chamber opera (approx. 50 min.) will premiere on the 16th of August in Kópavogur, as part of Cycle Music and Art Festival. The Bear team members are Tryggvi Gunnarsson, director, Hugi Jónsson (baritone) as Smirnov, Guja Sandholt (mezzo-soprano) as Popova and Pétur Oddbergur Heimisson (bass-baritone) as Luka. Music direction is in the hands of pianist Matthildur Anna Gisladóttir.

     

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    Gunnar Andreas Kristinsson (1976) holds a BA degree from the Reykjavík College of Music and an MA from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague. With the exception of a few vocal works and one electronic piece, his compositions are mostly instrumental, varying from solo pieces to orchestral works. Many of them have found their way into festivals worldwide, such as Nordic Music Days, Gaudeamus Festival, Dark Music Days, Ultima, Suså Festival and the Darmstadt Summer Course.

    The first CD dedicated solely to Gunnar’s music, Patterns, received a Kraumur Award in 2013. Gunnar was nominated as Composer of the Year and his orchestral piece, Angelic Mechanisms, was nominated as Composition of the Year at The Icelandic Music Awards 2013. His clarinet concerto, Sisyfos, was RUV’s (The Icelandic Broadcasting Service) contribution to The International Rostrum of Composers in Helsinki in May 2014 and his piece Arma Virumque Cano was selected for a performance at ISCM World Music Days in Wroclaw in October 2014.

     

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    Flutist and interdisciplinary artist Berglind Tómasdóttir frequently explores identity and archetypes in her work. Tómasdóttir has worked with elements of video art, theater and music through various performances, including the acclaimed I’m an Island (2012). Her work has been featured at Reykjavík Arts Festival, MSPS New Music Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana, The 2013 National Flute Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, REDCAT in Los Angeles, CMMAS in Morelia, Mexico and the Bang on a Can Marathon in San Francisco. Berglind Tómasdóttir holds degrees in flute playing from Reykjavík College of Music and the Royal Danish Music Conservatory in Copenhagen and a DMA in contemporary music performance from University of California, San Diego.

     

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    PÁLL GUDMUNDSSON FRÁ HÚSAFELLI

     

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    ENRICA SCIANDRONE

     

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    BERGRÚN SNÆBJÖRNSDÓTTIR

     

    Find out more at cycle.is 

     

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    Interview – Ragnar Jonasson

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 12th June 2015
  • iceland

    Nordophile spoke with one of the most talked about Nordic Noir authors right now, Ragnar Jonasson. His book Snowblind is released in the UK June 15th and before we read it, we wanted to understand how it all began.   Interview Snowblind is released in the UK this month. Tell us what we can expect from […]




    Nordophile spoke with one of the most talked about Nordic Noir authors right now, Ragnar Jonasson. His book Snowblind is released in the UK June 15th and before we read it, we wanted to understand how it all began.

     

    ragnar jonasson

    Interview

    Snowblind is released in the UK this month. Tell us what we can expect from the book?

    Snowblind is a crime novel set in the northernmost town in Iceland, Siglufjordur. A young policeman, Ari Thor, moves north for his first job, in the dead of winter when the sun cannot even be seen at all due to the high mountains and it snows more or less every day, sometimes so much that the only road into town is closed off. Siglufjordur is a very real place, where my father grew up, and it is a picture perfect village, but it does get very dark and cold in the winter. In the story, Ari Thor needs to adjust to the claustrophobic surroundings and the darkness while trying to investigate a death which he believes may be murder while his boss has a different view. It’s hard to say exactly what more to expect, but I am a big fan of the Golden Age of crime, as well as of modern Nordic Noir, so hopefully you might be able to spot a bit of each genre there.

     

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    Nordic Noir is a genre which is continually snowballing. What is it do you think that intrigues us so much about crime in the Nordic countries? 

    I think it has very much to do with the setting. The Nordic authors very often focus on the Nordic landscape and setting in their books, and are hopefully able to transport the reader to a new place, different and often slightly colder! Also, the Nordic countries have a reputation for being peaceful places, for example, we have very little crime in Iceland, and therefore the contrast is perhaps interesting.

     

    Ari Thor is the protagonist, did you build the story around him or did the character evolve with the story?

    I had written a short novel about Ari Thor before, where he was not a policeman at all, but just a young guy, a theology student, looking for his father. When I decided to write a crime series, starting with Snowblind, I wanted to use this character and build on the background I had created. The fact that he was young, a few years younger than me, also enabled me to be more comfortable writing about him.

    iceland

     

    What events have you got coming up?

    My next event is the Edinburgh International Book Festival where I will join Scottish writer Malcolm Mackay to talk about the international language of murder on August 19th.

    In September, I will be at Bloody Scotland in Stirling, joining Gunnar Staalesen and Johan Theorin to discuss Nordic Noir, on September 12th. Earlier that same day I will also take part in a conversation with Dr Kathryn Harkup to talk about the works of Agatha Christie.

    And in November, I’m taking part in Shetland Noir, which takes place in Shetland on November 13-15.

    Very much looking forward to all those events!

     

    iceland

    Contact; ragnar-jonasson.squarespace.com

    Photo credits; SigurdurAegisson & Sigurjon Sigurjonsson.

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    Don’t leave Iceland out in the cold.

  • Sarah Surgey
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  • 29th May 2015
  • stuckiniceland

    Out of all the Nordics, Denmark and Sweden seem to get a lot of the attention. Whether it’s the ease in which people from around Europe, can get to them or the fact that we have a lot of dramas and films from there coming our way right now. But the fact is, you mustn’t […]




    Out of all the Nordics, Denmark and Sweden seem to get a lot of the attention. Whether it’s the ease in which people from around Europe, can get to them or the fact that we have a lot of dramas and films from there coming our way right now.

    But the fact is, you mustn’t discard the other Nordic countries, as you will be missing out. After coming across http://stuckiniceland.com/ I was very intrigued by this Nordic nation.

    Iceland is a unique Nordic place, which over recent years has really started to assert itself through its tourism and business.

    It holds some very special events such as; the Icelandnoir festival ,which celebrates its Nordic Noir authors. Countless music festivals in and around Reykjavik. The Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival and DesignMarch which showcases all areas of design, from architecture to fashion and furniture to product design.

    Because Iceland only holds around 325,000 inhabitants, it means they are indulged with vast space, stunning and every changing landscapes and a high quality of life to enjoy. Being outdoors and participating extreme sports is an Icelandic pastime which is enjoyed all year round.

    From beaches to volcanoes and from glaciers to forests, you can see just why people want to show it off, whilst keeping it a secret!

    Stuck in Iceland, is a humorous, informative and passionate blog about Iceland.

    Make Iceland one of your Nordic destinations this year. And if you do, these guys will gladly help you!

     

    Stuck in Iceland

    Visiting Iceland is an Life Altering Experience

    Jon Thorsteinsson and Sigurdur Fjalar Jonsson run the indie travel blog Stuck in Iceland which was launched in September 2012. Jon works as a marketing specialistat the Nordic IT company Advania and Sigurdur Fjalar is the marketing director at the Idan Educational Center. They run Stuck in Iceland as a side project but the site has been growing fast since it was launched and has accumulated just over 131 thousand users during that time.

    stuckiniceland

    Their site features a lot of great travel advice but also contains information the quirks of Icelandic culture and is sprinkled with fascinating details of Icelandic history. “We are amazed by the strong feeling of affection people feel for our country after they have visited it. Above all they are captivated by Icelandic nature and the extreme elements here. It is pretty clear to me that many of  these people find their visit to Iceland a life altering experience,” comments Jon.

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    He adds that originally Stuck in Iceland was originally based on their own travels around the country but now a lot of the content on site, both long form articles and videos, now comes from people abroad who have visited Iceland and have been captivated by their experience are very keen on communicating their experience to the world. “ We absolutely love this content, it is authentic as it is based on real life experiences of traveling in Iceland and as such it is really useful for those who are planning their Iceland trip,” comments Jon.

    iceland

    Photo credit Martin Schulz. Read his full article here http://stuckiniceland.com/east/me-myself-iceland-and-the-volcano/

    Photo of Jon Thorsteinsson, taken from http://stuckiniceland.com/extreme/scaling-the-majestic-icelandic-peaks-of-vatnajokull/

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