Bergen joined ICORN on 1 January 2008 and the city welcomed its first guest writer the same day. Since then the city has hosted four ICORN guest writers, and is currently (March 2015) waiting for the fifth to arrive.
ICORN guest writers hosted by Bergen City of Refuge are Ayaz Khonsyawashan, Kurdish poet and journalist from Iran, Hossein Heidary, Kurdish journalist from Iran, Lokeesan Appuththurai, Tamil journalist from Sri Lanka and Kareem Amer, blogger and writer from Egypt.
Bergen is located by the fjords of western Norway. It is traditionally an international city, known for its visible traces of history, for tradition and small-town charm. It has 275 000 inhabitants and is surrounded by mountains and the sea. Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen from the time of the Hanseatic League (pictured), the fish marked, the aquarium and the funicular Fløibanen offering a great view of the city, are among the popular sites to visit. Not to mention Troldhaugen, home of famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
Bergen Public Library hosts the guest writers and coordinates their activities in close collaboration with other administrative units of the city. The library has a small guest writers' office where the guest writers may work in close connection to library colleagues and library facilities and events in the building. The library is situated in the centre of the city, with most cultural institutions close by. Bergen Public Library has six branch libraries. In 2014 the library hosted more than 1600 events and had 1,2 million visits. The library maintains close contact with libraries throughout the country and internationally and with other literary and cultural institutions in Bergen.
Some other cultural institutions in the city:
- The University of Bergen
- Bergen University College
- The Literature House (Litteraturhuset) with debates and cultural events
- Skrivekunstakademiet i Hordaland - The Writer's Academy in the county of Hordaland
- Den Nationale Scene - the main theatre in Bergen
- KODE - The Art Museums of Bergen
- Troldhaugen - The composer Edvards Grieg's home and museum
- Grieghallen - the concert hall in Bergen, also hosting Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
- Festspillene - Bergen International Festival - a large annual musical festival
- The Hanseatic Museum, The University Museum and other historical museums