Literature Dec 31, 2020

Celebrate Iceland’s 10th year as a UNESCO City of Literature

Watch a poetry reading from Gröndalshús to celebrate.

Join literature fans across the globe to welcome the New Year with a special live streamed poetry reading in Gröndalshús – the former home of writer, illustrator and naturalist Benedikt Gröndal! Occupied by Gröndal from 1880 to 1907, the house is now owned by the city of Reykjavík and run as a literary house and residency by the Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature.

As a UNESCO City of Literature, Reykjavík will mark the beginning of the year with its fourth annual New Year’s poetry reading, bringing poets together from sunrise to sunset. This year, the city will also be celebrating its 10th anniversary as a UNESCO City of Literature through a number of events for book lovers to enjoy. You can watch the reading from January 1 here.

Reykjavík was designated a UNESCO City of Literature in August of 2011 – becoming the fifth city in the world to receive this honorary title. It was also the first non-English speaking city to become a City of Literature, which is a permanent title! As a part of UNESCO’s Cities of Literature, Reykjavík is the 29th member of the larger UNESCO Creative Cities Network – a program launched in 2004 to promote cooperation among cities which recognize creativity as a major factor in their urban development. To mark its 10th anniversary this year, Reykjavík will host a big birthday event in September where the City of Literature will hold its annual meeting and introduce the best in domestic literature to the other 38 cities.