Iceland’s capital has just jumped up in the culture stakes with the new title, 'City of Literature'. The UNESCO World Heritage Organisation has designated Reykjavik with such a reputation as part of the Creative Cities Network.
Launching at the Reykjavik International Literary Festival on September 7-11 the city will officially be titled 'Reykjavik City of Literature'. An extensive list of international authors will appear throughout the city to help celebrate the honour that is expected to enhance literary life in the city.
Iceland’s rich reputation within the literary world must have placed the city in good stead for the title with an invaluable heritage of ancient medieval literature, the Sagas, the Edda and the Islendingabok. The city is home to a large range of writers, poets and children’s book authors so it is no small wonder that the distinction has been bestowed upon such an important figure in literary history.
One of the most impressive feats the country can boast about is the modern generation’s ability to still be able to read 1,000 year old sagas written by the Vikings. Icelandic is the oldest living language in Europe and a large emphasis is still put on preserving the ancient tongue. This is encouraged by a special government agency that creates new Icelandic words for new technological terms rather than taking on the foreign equivalent.
The country can also boast of its extraordinary percentage of 99% of resident over the age of 15 being able to read and write. This is perhaps down to the fact that Icelanders publish more books and newspapers per capita than any other country.
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