Authors write books and work with written language, but although the job title is often associated with fiction, the work of writers is much broader than that. Authors are often divided into categories according to the type of work in question and the job title is even narrowed down, i.e., poet, novelist, screenwriter or playwright.

A distinction can be made, for example, between those who write fiction on the one hand; novels, short stories, poems or plays, and on the other hand authors who write on a specific subject within more specialized fields such as scholarly works or textbooks.

Most authors work independently and do not have a permanent employer, although they often work in collaboration with book publishers. Authors with a good command of languages and culture also often work as translators.

Main tasks

• collecting material and doing source work
• writing
• revising texts, often in collaboration with an editor or publisher

Competence requirements

No single criterion applies to beneficial qualities or traits of writers. However, it can generally be said that creativity is an advantage, as well as the ability to express oneself in written language. It is generally good to be able to work consistently, even though authors’ procedures can be very different, from working systematically every day over a certain period of time to writing a lot in a shorter period of time.

However, it is beneficial to be able to work systematically and independently, as writing is often a difficult and time-consuming process.

Based on – Forfatter


No single course of study is the only correct one for an author. Various study programs at the secondary and university level can offer suitable preparation. It can be mentioned that writing is taught as a 60-credit minor at the Faculty of Icelandic and Cultural Studies at the University of Iceland.

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