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Don’t Chew on the Sharp End of the Pencil by EWG Members Between The Shelves by EWG Members “the “the They Called it The Incident by J. M. Johnson Loot For the taking by Don Levers Edmonton: Unbound by EWG Members Edmonton: Unbound by EWG Members

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Iceland Writers Retreat Information

I met with Eliza Reid, Canadian writer and editor based in Reykjavik, Iceland, last Saturday at Block 1912. Here's what I learned about the Iceland Writers Retreat.
There are 10 authors presenting throughout the April 8-12, 2015 retreat, up from last year's 8. The schedule itself is pretty packed, so it's more of a conference than a solitary retreat. Over two days, there are 6 x 90 minute workshops you can attend, and you get to rank your choices from about 10 of them. The goal is to have no more than 15 people in a class so there's more intimacy with the teacher.

The presenting authors (from 5 countries) are a blend of fiction and non-fiction. Apparently poets and playwrights attended and also found the sessions useful. Last year there were 52 participants.
Reyjkjavik itself is a UNESCO city of literature, one of only two in the world. Eliza showed me a picture of a book ad on a milk carton, which flabbergasted me. The Icelandic expression for "find your vocation" is "find your shelf", so you can get a taste of how important and how entrenched literature is in their society. Every Icelander has a book in his stomach.
Although the schedule has not been fixed yet for the 2015 IWR, some notable things that occurred last year include:
  • President of Iceland greeting all workshop attendees.
  • A reception at City Hall with the mayor of Reyjkjavik on the Wednesday arrival
  • A literary walking tour on Friday
  • Golden circle tour on Saturday with a literary spin: visiting the house of Iceland's Nobel-prize winning author. Icelandic authors doing readings throughout the tour.
  • Q&A session on Sunday
  • Optional trip to the Blue Lagoon hot springs (there are apparently lots (10) of outdoor swimming pools in Reyjkjavik, though, so there's lots to choose from).
  • Hotel Natura (4-star hotel) is close to geothermal sandy beaches where geothermal heat is pumped over to make the North Atlantic 20 Degrees Celsius.
I have some pamphlets and handouts both about the retreat and Iceland in general if anyone is interested. The estimated cost (priced in Icelandic currency, which can obviously fluctuate) is about $2,200 and is all-inclusive except for air travel, which costs <$1,000 return through Iceland Air.

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