Icelandic Literature Center

Icelandic Literature Center
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

The Icelandic Literature Center is a public body. The role of the Center is to raise awareness of Icelandic literary culture, both in Iceland and abroad, as well as promoting its distribution through translation and travel grants. The objective is to ensure a wide range of high-quality publishing in Iceland, the international advancement of Icelandic literature, and the translation of literature from foreign languages into Icelandic.

Grant allocations are made annually to domestic publishing of Icelandic literature and translation subsidies for Icelandic literature abroad. The Center cooperates with many local entities in particular campaigns to raise awareness of Icelandic literature domestically.

The promotional work that the Icelandic Literature Center engages in abroad mainly involves participation in literary exhibitions. Among other things, the Center promotes various Icelandic literary works, awards received by Icelandic authors, as well as consulting with foreign publishers and translators.

Authors, publishers and organizers of literary events can apply for support in the promotion of literary works written by Icelanders. The Center also supports the publication of Icelandic works of literature and the publication of literary works translated into Icelandic, as well as the advancement of literary culture in Iceland. The Center always strives to allocate support to diverse activities in the literary field on both national and international levels.

The Center allocates grants each year to publishers and authors in Iceland and abroad: publication grants, grants for books for children and young readers, translation grants, innovation grants, travel grants for authors, residential grants for translators, sample translation grants and reader's report grants.

The Center supports and promotes Icelandic literature internationally and assists Icelandic authors and publishers in various ways with promotional activities abroad. The Center annually publishes a brochure of books published in Iceland over the course of the previous year, deemed promising for publication abroad. The Center assists Icelandic publishers in strengthening their bonds with colleagues abroad through publisher exchanges between Iceland and other countries.

In order to ensure professionalism in the allocation of grants, the Center commissions external literary advisers, appointed for one year at a time, to make proposals for allocations of grants. The board also monitor grants, as well as holding ultimate responsibility for compliance with the law. Gender equality is pursued in all the work the Center engages in, such as allocations of grants, authors' participation in events and selection of literary advisers.

The Center engages in targeted measures to encourage reading, in collaboration with a broad-based group in the literary field, with the objective of increasing interest in reading and deepening the relationship between authors and readers. One aspect of this is visits by authors to upper secondary schools, which commence in 2020 in collaboration with educational authorities and other partners. The Center also conducts annual reading surveys in Iceland, in collaboration with professional organizations and bodies within the literary sector.

The Center takes the initiative in active collaboration with as many professional and stakeholder organizations as possible in the fields relating to its activities, including authors, publishers, translators, universities, libraries, literary festivals, institutes, Icelandic embassies and the Reykjavik Literary Festival, Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature, the Arni Magnusson Institute for Icelandic Studies, Icelandic embassies abroad and Promote Iceland.

A Translators' Seminar is held in alternate years for translators of Icelandic literature into foreign languages, in collaboration with leading bodies in the literary field. A literary award to translators of Icelandic literature, Ordstir, is presented at the Seminar. Work is to continue on the development, promotion and use of the Translators page on the Center's website.

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

The Icelandic Literature Center's continuous work in promoting Icelandic literature has been of great assistance in terms of general awareness raising of Icelandic authors and literature, both nationally and internationally. The International Translators' Seminar in Reykjavik and Ordstir award, briefly mentioned previously, is an example of a project established and conducted by the Center that supports diversity within the Icelandic literary field and promotes Icelandic literary works to a broader audience. The Center has also organized events to further promote Icelandic literature internationally, such as a promotional effort to raise awareness and increase interest in Icelandic literature in the Nordic countries, a project which was engaged in between 2014 and 2016. Iceland has also had unique opportunities in promoting its literary works on a larger scale, such as attending as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2011. This presented a good opportunity to present Icelandic literary culture to not only Germany, but the literary sector on a larger scale, as well as an opportunity to promote Icelandic culture and arts in general.

The Icelandic Literature Center equally promotes Icelandic literature nationally. The Center has engaged in some projects in this endeavor, such the launching of a reading website in association with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature that hosted an annual reading competition between 2014 and 2018. The competition was a national competition in reading and has provided a foundation for further similar projects, such as the Time to Read campaign launched by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in association with the Directorate of Education in 2020.

Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 

In 2019, 3,738,284 USD was allocated to the program from the State Treasury (510.5 million ISK).

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partnerType of entity
Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
Public Sector