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.




    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.


    A07-Blue Lagoon


    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




    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.


    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.



    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.




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

    Information about funding

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