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Land of fire, ice and literature

A retreat in Iceland shows you that the Nordic isle knows how to treat those who live by the pen

Published on May 4, 2014 11:54 AM

When poor writers turn up in Iceland, instead of being detained by the visa office, they are received by the president at his official residence.

I am generalising, of course, but that really happened when I attended the first Iceland Writers Retreat last month.

On a rainy Friday evening, I was bussed along with more than 50 other participants of the retreat to Bessastaoir, the historic farm-turned-school-turned- presidential dwelling.

Set in a windswept knoll, commanding sweeping views of a lake, with a little chapel and cemetery outside, the residence was built between 1761 and 1766, but the site dates back to the 10th century AD.

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