The question of writers using foreign languages in Finland was discussed with foundations and writers’ unions

(this press release can be found in Finnish in the website of Taike: erikielisten kirjailijoiden tilanteesta keskusteltiin kirjailijaliittojen ja s��ti�iden edustajien kesken)

Lukukeskus, Culture for all -service and Sivuvalo project in cooperation with Villa Kivi and Arts Promotion Centre Finland organized two discussions about the theme of writers that belong to new linguistic minorities in Finland. 

Questions like the following were treated in the two discussions:

Are works of poets and writers with immigrant background Finnish literature?
How could poets and writers who live in Finland but write in other languages than Finnish or Swedish participate better in the Finnish literary field and contribute to the Finnish society?
How can literature written in different languages be understood and evaluated in the Finnish art-supporting systems?
What kind of challenges do writers with immigrant background face in Finland?

The first conversation  took place in Villa Kivi on Tuesday November 5th. It concentrated on the obstacles and possibilities of inclusion of foreign language writers in the Finnish literary field. The participants were leaders and / or other representatives of Finnish Writers’ Unions for both Finnish and Swedish language literature; main organizations of the literary field like Fili, Sanasto and Finland�s Pen; representatives of projects related to promotion of reading like Lukukeskus and Lukuinto and finally, projects creating encounters that aim to cross linguistic barriers in literature like Runokohtauksia project that creates free translations or re-writings of poems in new languages in a dialogue between Finnish and foreign writers and Sivuvalo that promotes and brings the point of view of foreign language writers to events and discussions in the Finnish literary field. 

The second conversation was organized in Arts Promotion Centre (Taike) on Wednesday November 6th , and it focused on possibilities and obstacles of funding literature written in foreign languages in Finland. The participants were representatives of the most important art-funding bodies in Finland, including  Arts Promotion Centre,  Swedish Cultural Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation and Kone Foundation and the conversation was led by Rita Paqvalen, director of Culture for all -service. Special planning officer Paula Karhunen presented the results of her study about the position of migrant writers within the state support showing statistics about the development of the percentages of different linguistic groups among the applicants and allocated grants. Leading representatives of Swedish Cultural Foundation, Kone Foundation and Finnish Cultural Foundation presented their different positions regarding funding foreign language literature in Finland. Writers including Polina Kopylova, Roxana Cris�logo, Yousif Abu Al-Fawz, Marcel Jaentschke, David Gambarte and  Zoila Crespo commented the discussion from their points of view. Director of Taike Minna Sirn� finished the discussion stating that the decision-taking committees of Taike should have more representatives of different cultural backgrounds and special efforts for this will be put during her governing period.

A complete inform of the two conversations will be given later by Culture for all �service.


Additional information:

Sivuvalo: Roxana Cris�logo, roxanacrisologo(at)

Sivuvalo � Onko t�m� suomalaista kirjallisuutta? (�Sidelight � Is this Finnish literature?�) is a multicultural project which aims at bringing up the works and views of poets and writers with immigrant background living in Finland but writing in other languages than Finnish or Swedish.

The purpose of the project is to make visible and bring together immigrant and non-immigrant writers and their communities through debates, workshops and poetry performances. This way Sivuvalo strives for a conscious and inclusive society which is open to different voices, cultures and languages. The coordinator of Sivuvalo is Roxana Cris�logo, one of the board members of Catalysti.