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Islands and Literature

  • Torshavn, Faroe Islands 14 Norðari Ringvegur, Thorshavn 100, Färöarna Torshavn Faroe Islands (map)

The Tower at the End of the World

- Islands and Literature

Tórshavn 11-15 May 2017

Small islands and remote geographical units evoke a tapered condition lending themselves to all kinds of contradictions as being commonly associated with a simultaneity of prison and paradise, local anchoring and universalism, isolation and connection, the gaze from the outside and the gaze from the inside, past and present, importance and unimportance, modern and other-worldly, vulnerability and robustness/resilience, tourist meccas and ecological refugia. This is way of the ultraminor calling for great imaginations while at the same time collecting themselves on still being ultraminor. Island cultures and ultraminor cultures in general are geographically open, coherent spaces with a magnificent view in all directions. This view and coherence are differently echoed in the structure of island culture: the liteature, the marked, tourism etc. "Poetry is the only palaces we have got in The North Atlantic", as the Icelandic writer Einar Már Guðmundsson points out. A similar feeling of greatness is connected to island literature throughout the world.

This conference will be held in Tórshavn, the capital of The Faroe Islands. We have invited poets and scholars from different parts of the world to elaborate on and discuss matters like the role of islands and island literatures in contemporary literature, archipelagos and the sea, islands as places of exception, islands between old waterways and the new connecting order of today’s floating modernity, islands and the tensions between vernacular and cosmopolitan, the motif of islands in relation to different imaginations on place as being the local, national, regional and the global, islands and placebranding, islands as performative topographies, islands and experiences of the anthropocene etc. The conference will offer keynote speeches, papersessions, panel discussions, guided tours in Tórshavn etc.

Putting the Faroese writer William Heinesen’s symbolic statement of The Faroe Islands as a whole world in a grain of sand in the front, this conference will shed light on literature, geography, worldmakings and globalization in island literatures around the globe and employ it via the interdisciplinary approach ofComparative Literature, Island Studies etc.

Arrangører: Nordur Hus på Færøerne, Bergur Rønne Moberg og Sjón


Jamaica Kincaid, Antigua/Us

Donna Morrissey, New Foundland/Canada

Marcello Fois, Sardinia/Italy

Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Iceland

Minae Mizumura, Japan

Carl Jóhan Jensen, Faroe Islands

Filinto Elisío, Cap Verde

Ulla-Lena Lundberg, Åland Islands

Robert Alan Jamieson, Shetland Islands/UK

Nathacha Appanah, Mauritius /France

Sjón, Iceland



David Damrosch (keynote), US

Margaret Cohen (keynote), US

Delia Ungureanu, Hungary

Henk van der Liet, Netherlands

Kirsten Thisted, Greenland/Denmark

Malan Marnersdóttir, the Faroe Islands

Paulette A. Ramsay, Jamaica

Ottmar Ette, Germany

Gottskálk Jensson, Iceland

Ástraður Eysteinsson, Iceland

Pete Hay, Tasmania

Bergur Rønne Moberg, the Faroe Islands