Frequently Asked Questions

Fees and Practicalities

The participant fee was ISK 305,000 in 2024. We will post the 2025 fee as soon as it is confirmed. Please visit our registration page for details on what is included (as well as a currency converter).

Iceland can be an expensive country to visit, so while you don’t need to pay for many additional events, things like meals and drinks can cost more than in other countries.

Please see our Terms, Conditions, & Cancellation Policy here.

Each year IWR looks for ways to provide funding to those who need financial assistance to attend the retreat. Please see the Scholarships page for further details. 

The Fosshotel Reykjavik has disabled access (please write to the hotel directly for guest room with specific accessibility needs). The excursion sites are also mostly fully equipped for disabilities. Please contact us with any specific requests or concerns and we will confirm everything for you.

Yes, that will not be a problem. Please note any dietary requirements on our registration form.

Yes. We secured a special conference rate at our venue, the Fosshotel Reykjavík, in 2024. Upon registration we will send you a special link to book at the 2025 IWR rate. But you are free to reserve accommodation anywhere else you wish. Please note, however, that we cannot advise on alternatives for accommodation.

If you wish to attend with a friend, you can each sign up to the IWR, and then book one twin or double room. You can also sign up a non-participating partner. Details are on our registration page.


Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no application process. We think you’ll get the most out of it if you have an interest in developing your skills as a writer, but there is no requirement for you to have been previously published or even to have an intention to publish. Whether you’re aspiring, published, or simply enjoy writing as a hobby, we think you’ll find inspiration and have something to learn from all of our small-group workshops. We are focusing on books — rather than magazines, guidebooks, or online writing — in both fiction and non-fiction. So, for example, there are no poetry or screenwriting workshops but writers who focus on those genres are still welcome. Likewise if you write in a language other than English that’s fine too, but the language of instruction is English.

The Iceland Writers Retreat is open to anyone who enjoys writing. Instructors will be focusing on writing for both fiction and non-fiction books, rather than genre fiction or other media. Having said that, we’ve welcomed delegates who wrote primarily poetry or plays, and they still found the workshops helpful. At our 2016 retreat, our featured author Gerður Kristný was also an award-winning poet. Whether you’re working on crime fiction, memoir, or even just scribbling for fun, we’re confident you’ll enjoy the workshops. After you register, we’ll be in touch about how to prioritize which workshops you would like to attend.

Workshops are taught in English, but of course the knowledge you gain should be applicable across all languages. Several of our previous delegates write in languages other than English, and they felt they gained a lot from the courses too.

Our featured writers come from numerous countries, as do our delegates. You can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as plenty of locals of course!

Event content and schedule

The Iceland Writers Retreat was founded by writers for writers. The focus of our program is to help you work on developing your writing, to introduce you to well-known writers, to give you the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people, and to introduce you to Iceland’s rich literary culture. There is no specific time dedicated in the schedule for you to pitch your book to agents or publishers, although of course there will be plenty of chances to network.

The five workshops you attend will be small groups of a maximum of 15 people with one writer. Our writers will also be attending the cultural tours, receptions and meals, so there will be plenty of time to mingle.

As the event approaches, we will send you information on all the different workshops that
will be taught, and you will be asked to prioritize your favourites. We usually post the titles of the workshops in around November; the titles of the workshops will be listed by the faculty names. (You can see what has been taught in previous years in our previous event pages.) Those who registered first for the event will be given priority to sign up for workshops. We will do our very best to give you a chance to attend your top choice workshops, although due to scheduling issues and maximum class sizes, this may not always be possible. (In the past, however, almost everyone was placed in most, if not all, of their top choices for workshops.)

Five workshops are standard. However, if there is enough space in a workshop that you desire as your sixth, we will do our best to make accommodations for an extra fee. 

Yes, that will not be a problem. Please note any dietary requirements on our registration form.

The Iceland Writers Retreat is available only as a complete package. You may choose whether you wish to book accommodation at our partner hotel or to book on your own. Details are available on our registration page.

Your trip to Iceland

Yes, and we highly recommend it! There is plenty to see in Iceland. When you book your hotel room, you will have the option of booking additional days. If you are flying to Iceland with Icelandair, you can use your time in Iceland as a stopover between Europe and North America (or vice versa).

You may also wish to consider signing up for our “Relax, Read & Write” extension, which includes two group dinners and an open mic night for participants to read from their work.

We’ll send you a detailed welcome kit upon registration that includes plenty of handy tips and links on travelling to Iceland. If you decide to purchase a tour to the famous Blue Lagoon, or make a visit to one of the capital’s outdoor geothermal swimming pools (and we highly recommend this), you should bring a bathing suit with you. Don’t worry if you forget, though; you can always rent one. And of course just drop us a line if you have any further questions!

Things kick off later in the afternoon on Wed (around 5 p.m.), so if you’re arriving from North America you’ll have most of the day to relax and even take a nap. If your flight is from Europe it will depend on the arrival time of your flight, but you should be fine with an afternoon arrival. The only event on the first day is the welcome dinner and author reading.
Our main event finishes in the late morning on Sunday, so you have time to get to the airport for an afternoon flight, possibly with a stop at the Blue Lagoon if you wish. Many of our participants choose to stay for the Relax, Read & Write two-night extension too.

Relax, Read & Write extension

Unfortunately not. We have special deals for the meals and accommodation and it’s only possible to book the entire two-night extension.


We thought about calling this event the Iceland Writers’ Retreat, but decided to keep our brand plain and simple and wanted to avoid confusion when others wrote about it. So we’re taking a page from several famous companies, like Diners Club and the Vancouver Writers Fest, and going apostrophe free.

We did think about calling our event Iceland Writing Workshops or Iceland Writing Conference, but we chose the word retreat instead because we wanted to convey a sense of friendliness and intimacy to the event. It doesn’t mean you’ll be isolated or on your own — although of course there is time dedicated for you to work on your writing yourself — but rather that you’ll have the chance to be in a unique environment that is conducive to creativity and have the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people, rather than huge, impersonal crowds.