Tunglið, is a one-of-a-kind imprint that only to life during the end of each lunar cycle to publish books in batches of 69
Over the decades, book burning has become a sign of protest, but this Icelandic publishing house has embraced it as an usual business model. Tunglið, a small publishing imprint, the name of which literally translates into moon in Icelandic, only prints books during the full moon, in batches of 69. Not only this, the publishers also incinerate any leftover books at the end of each lunar cycle.
The publishing house which was found by the writer and artist duo, Dagur Hjartarson and Ragnar Helgi Olafsson, was based on the principal of keeping incentive manuscripts from “languishing unpublished.” The duo realized that in order to make these books appear, “it would have to involve making them disappear.”
They call this a poetic act.
In an interview with The Guardian, the duo says that the publishing house, “uses all the energy of publishing to fully charge a few hours instead of spreading it out over centuries…for one glorious evening, the book and its author are fully alive. And then, the morning after, everyone can get on with their lives.“
While this practice may seem outlandish at first, it makes sense when you look at the statistics of publishing in Iceland. 1 in 10 people in the country will publish a book in their lifetime. The overtly literary country also has the jólabókafloð,also known as the Christmas book flood, which is the tradition of giving each other books as gifts on Christmas eve.
In their one and only burning of books outside Iceland in Basel, Switzerland, they had a hard time explaining that the act was poetic rather than political. Their book burning process is almost theatrical, using only french cognac to aid the process.
Political or not, it is an act of defiance for sure and quite a refreshing disruption to the act of immortalising one’s self in literature.