Iceland Writers Retreat

  • Sarah Surgey
  • Tagged , , , , , , , , Leave a comment
  • 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.

     

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    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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    Sara Blaedel – Interview

  • Sarah Surgey
  • Tagged , , , , , , , Leave a comment
  • 19th August 2015
  • Sara2

    Continuing our Nordic literature week, Nordophile has been speaking with the hugely successful Danish author, Sara Blaedel. Sara Blaedel’s interest in story, writing, and especially crime fiction was nurtured from a young age, long before Scandinavian crime fiction took the world by storm. Despite a struggle with dyslexia, books gave Sara a world in which to […]




    Continuing our Nordic literature week, Nordophile has been speaking with the hugely successful Danish author, Sara Blaedel.

    Sara Blaedel’s interest in story, writing, and especially crime fiction was nurtured from a young age, long before Scandinavian crime fiction took the world by storm.

    Despite a struggle with dyslexia, books gave Sara a world in which to escape when her introverted nature demanded an exit from the hustle and bustle of life.

    Publishing ultimately led Sara to journalism, and she covered a wide range of stories, from criminal trials to the premiere of Star Wars: Episode I. It was during this time—and while skiing in Norway—that Sara started brewing the ideas for her first novel. In 2004 Louise and Camilla were introduced in Grønt Støv (Green Dust), and Sara won the Danish Crime Academy’s debut prize.

    Sara’s writing process is intense and she swears, “I am absolutely not fun to be with. And therefore everyone is happiest if I get it over with somewhere else.” That somewhere else is a summer house with huge windows affording a panoramic view, white terrace furniture, and a gas barbecue. In this seemingly tranquil environment, Sara formulates her brutal literary murder mysteries.

     

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    Research also plays an important role in Sara’s writing process. She believes that the imagination has its best chance to thrive within the framework of reality. “I work tirelessly to learn all I can in order to create the settings.” So most of the geographical locations that constitute Louise Rick’s universe are imported from the real world. Her apartment is Sara’s old apartment in Copenhagen, and she frequents the same cafés that Sara does.

    An essential tool Sara uses for her research and preparation is a large whiteboard she’s named her “killing wall.” The killing wall is home to sketches of the story’s development, giving Sara the visual stimulation that best ignites her creativity. Sara also relies heavily on a host of experts who offer input and feedback on her novels. “I am so fortunate to have good helpers in those areas where I really need factual knowledge—whether in the Homicide Division, Forensics or Forensic Psychology.”

    Her hard work and determination have branded her the “Queen of Crime” in Denmark.

    Today, Sara lives north of Copenhagen with her family. She has always loved animals; she still enjoys horse riding and shares her home with her cat and Golden Retriever. When she isn’t busy committing brutal murders on the page, she is an ambassador with Save the Children and serves on the jury of a documentary film competition.

     

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    Interview

    Having two successful parents within acting and journalism, was there a reason that the pull to express yourself in writing rather than acting was greater?

    Actually neither occupied me to any great extent when I was a child. I was mainly interested in horses but it is clear that all the words that surrounded me in my childhood and all the drive towards artistic expression and the journalism had an influence on me. Both of my parents always told me stories. My upbringing was full of stories. Especially my mother used her imagination when making up the bedside stories that she told me. But it was only in my adult life, and through various roundabout ways that I found my own way back to storytelling and found the will to pass them on.

     

    Denmark seems to be a culture hub right now, have you always felt the support from Denmark within the arts?

    I have always felt an incredible support from my Danish readers, booksellers, people in publishing and journalists. In Denmark, luckily a lot of books are read, and support for writers both directly and indirectly is really good through public libraries etc.

     

    Nordic noir is a genre, which has become synonymous with the Nordics. You started writing crime novels before this explosion, what was your motivation to go down the crime route?

    An uncontrollable curiosity combined with a lively and murderous imagination made it natural for me to start writing crime fiction.

     

    What can we expect from your latest offering “The Forgotten Girls”?

    Hopefully an entertaining and touching although scary story that will engage the reader and make the reader feel that my characters make for good company.

     

    You’ve just come back from ThrillerFest in New York, can you tell us a bit about your experience there?

    It is always wonderful to meet your colleagues and people from the business. An event like this helps to widen your own horizon, because it is so exciting to hear about other people’s way of approaching writing, to hear what they think and to learn from their experiences.

     

    The Forgotten Girls

    We are very excited by the latest release “The Forgotten Girl’s” which has once again seen Sara Blaedel explode onto the crime fiction scene, regardless if it is Nordic Noir, crime sells, we know that but it takes a good writer to keep the reader committed to the end of the book. And this Danish literary artist does just that, time and time again.

    “In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. After four days, Louise Rick—the new commander of the Missing Persons Department—is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a “forgotten girl.” But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago. As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed—and hidden—in the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed”.

     

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    Photos credited to: Steen Brogaard

    Sarablaedel.com

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