Literary forum to feature acclaimed minority and refugee writers from Nordic countries

Wednesday, 06 April 2016

The fourth Nordic-Baltic literature forum, entitled ‘Literature Across Cultures’, will be held in Tallinn on 7 April and will bring together a group of exciting and very different authors. They are not just Nordic writers, but citizens of the world. Their lives have taught them to view people and the world from a different perspective. We are delighted to bring you acclaimed minority and refugee writers from the Nordic countries.

Azar Mahloujian was born in Iran in 1949. She is a philologist who used to work in her homeland as a librarian. In 1982 she ended up in Sweden through human trafficking. At first she worked as a librarian in Sweden, but she has also worked as a freelance journalist for Sveriges Radio (Radio Sweden) and as a Farsi interpreter. She has written articles for one of the biggest daily papers in Sweden – Dagens Nyheter.

Rawdna Carita Eira is a Sámi poet and dramatist. She has a particular interest in cultural encounters that have taken place in Sápmi over the centuries and the different ways these encounters have influenced northern people. Sápmi encompasses the northern regions of four countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The literary forum will look at how Sámi people cope with these borders.

Hassan Blasim was born in Iraq, but has been living in Finland since 2004. Blasim writes in Arabic, but his books have been translated into more than 20 languages. In 2014 he won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize - the first Arabic title and first short story collection ever to win the award. He was labelled “perhaps the best writer of Arabic fiction alive” by The Guardian in 2010. Hassan also has a direct link to Estonia at present as Tartu New Theatre is staging his play #DIGITALHATSGAME.

“Minority and refugee literature is part of the rich literary heritage of the Nordic countries,” said Eha Vain, the initiator of the forum, from the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia. “Reading the works of writers from other cultural spaces helps us to better understand other cultures and people and to develop an understanding of ourselves.” Also attending the forum will be Finnish-Swede writer Mathias Rosenlund, Kurdish poet Chiman Karim and Finnish translator Juha Kulmala and others.

Read more about the literary forum and its speakers here.

The literary forum will open Tallinn Book Fair. The forum has been organised in association with the Estonian Publishers’ Association, the Estonian Writers’ Union, the National Library of Estonia, Tallinn Central Library, the Estonian Librarians Association, the Finnish Institute in Estonia and the Nordic embassies in Tallinn.