Saturday, November 20, 2021

Having a Blast in Reykjavik



Please excuse me for this stream of consciousness blog, but I’m trying to write in a hurry so that I can run off to a private club in Reykjavic where scores of authors and friends, who made this week’s pilgrimage to participate in the ICELAND NOIR FESTIVAL, plan to hook up until the wee hours.


Moi, Stan, Yrsa, Barbara

Anyone who’s ever attended a writer’s conference understands the urgency calling out to Barbara and me to make that appointment.


This evening’s final panel session ended in a one hour presentation of anecdotes and good humor by the festival’s quartet of hosts, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Oskar Gudmundsson,  Ragnar Jonasson, and Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir.   


Eva, Oskar, Yrsa, Ragnar

Over the course of that session, I learned several interesting things.  Such as, a statue to “The Unnamed Bureaucrat” stands outside Reykjavik’s town offices, and the town hosts a museum dedicated to penises (yes, you read that correctly). But wait, there’s more.  Within that museum stand “empty” display cases holding “fairy penises.”  Fairies are sacred in Iceland, and one is said to need a sixth sense to see them—which might explain why the cases appear empty.


In a display of MIE team spirit, I’ve decided to leave those two topics for Stan (who’s also here) to elaborate upon in his next blog, as it is Stan who brought them to my attention. I’m assuming he’s better equipped than I to handle inquiries on those topics.


All I can say is, I LOVE ICELAND NOIR.  It’s unique in the world of book festivals because there is only one track of panels (allowing all to see every panel), AND there is not a book for sale in sight!  Iceland Noir is not about selling books, it’s about hanging out with your mates in a family reunion sort of affair.


This year featured relaxed chit-chat interviews with writers such as Sara Blædel, Ann Cleeves, AJ Finn, Anthony Horowitz, Shari Lapena, and Ian Rankin by the likes of Iceland’s Prime Minister and Iceland’s First Lady, among others. 


Anthony Horowitz and Iceland's First Lady

Ian Rankin and Iceland's Prime Minister

For most of us, this is our first appearance before a live audience in close to two years, and it falls in the midst of a Covid surge across Europe.


To borrow from Caro’s Friday blog on her recent experience at a live author event, “It was rather nerve wracking being in front of an audience again. Quite a few authors have doubts as to recalling the anecdotes, not being able to answer the question or simply, not remembering what the book was about.”


Yet, Iceland Noir reaffirms why we do what we do, how we share the same sort of introspective moments, and that there exists among crime writers a camaraderie unmatched in the writing world.




Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to run.




  1. I am so jealous that I'm not there. Next year if all the stars align...

  2. We all miss you, Michael. Just follow the Northern Lights and we'll be waiting for you!!!

  3. What Michael said! If I had known about the conference, I probably would have signed up, but it’s probably better this way. I got to stay in New York, get my third Covid jab,, and be at home for the ensuing misery. I would not have wanted to be on a plane this past week. So looking forward to the return of such gatherings of the tribe. Now that they have become possible again, I pray they stay that way.

  4. Sorry you weren't here, Sis, but your analysis is sound. The CDC issued its update the day after we departed JFK, so we flew in blissful ignorance. I join you in your prayers.

  5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know where Jeff was such that he knew about the empty display cases!