Reykjavik International Literary Festival Names Guest Authors

In News by Porter Anderson

The 16th edition of Iceland’s biennial Reykjavik International Literary Festival has announced its 2023 lineup of authors.

Onstage in the Reykjavík International Literary Festival, a 2019 session at the city’s Culture House. Image: RILF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Intimate Venues, Audience Interaction
As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, the Reykjavík International Literary FestivalBókmenntahátíð í Reykjavík—is a biennial, public-facing event that this year is set to run April 19 to 23.

Happily for those of us who don’t speak Icelandic, the festival’s events are held in English. This year’s iteration is the 16th and so the program’s lifetime now spans more than three decades, as a series of events that places a premium on intimate performance spaces, those “cozy venues” the show’s organizers talk about.

As the festival’s director, Stella Soffía Jóhannesdóttir, told us in 2021, the American humorist and author David Sedaris was particularly taken by this in one edition of the festival. “He’s used to reading before, what, 3,000 people?” Jóhannesdóttir said. “He came and was reading in front of 50 people. He said, ‘Wow. This is amazing.’ He was really thrilled with the experience.”

Extensive programming details haven’t been announced yet, but Publishing Perspectives has been provided with a list of authors who are expected to appear in the course of the festival in April. They include:

  • Jenny Colgan
  • Mariana Enriquez
  • Jan Grue
  • Vigdis Hjorth
  • Hannah Kent
  • Kim Leine
  • Alexander McCall Smith
  • Dina Nayeri
  • Alejandro Palomas
  • Boualem Sansal
  • Åsne Seierstad
  • Gonçalo M. Tavares
  • Lea Ypi
  • Colson Whitehead
  • Benný Sif Ísleifsdóttir
  • Bragi Ólafsson
  • Eva Björg Ægisdóttir
  • Ewa Marcinek
  • Haukur Már Helgason
  • Hildur Knútsdóttir
  • Júlía Margrét Einarsdóttir
  • Kristín Eiríksdóttir
  • Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir
  • Natasha S
  • Pedro Gunnlaugur Garcia
  • Örvar Smárason

Publishing Perspectives also anticipates participating in a still-developing portion of the programming.

The show is structured around workshops, book signings, and Q&A sessions with the authors—rather than being a straight run of readings—and admission is free of charge.

The program “is an opportunity to celebrate the power of the written word and to bring people together around a shared love of books,” says Jóhannesdóttir, who is not only the festival director but also a senior editor with Storytel Iceland and a former acquisitions editor with Forlagið.

“We’re thrilled to welcome such a talented lineup of authors this year,” she says, “and can’t wait to see the community come together to embrace the written word.”

As programming comes together for April’s festival, you’ll find details appearing on the festival’s site.

More on international literary festivals is here, more on international book fairs, trade shows, and festivals is here, and more on the Icelandic market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.