Multilingual Nordic Region at Helsinki Book Fair

Multilingualism and Diversity as a Resource in the Cultural Field presents two discussions at Helsinki Book Fair, both focusing on the possibilities and challenges of literary activity in non-dominant languages in the Nordic Region. On Saturday 29th the discussion Multilingual Nordic Region – Possibilities and Challenges brings together poets and publishers, who work in different non-dominant languages in the Nordic Region. On Sunday, the discussion Publishing Literature in Arabic in the Nordic Region, conducted By Ahmed Al-Nawas, concentrates on this specific language group in a diaspora. A partner organization of the project, Sivuvalo, offers also a multimedia poetry reading Mutanttikieltä on Saturday 29th, with poets Muhaned Durubi (Arabic), Ye Yint Thet Zwe (Burmese) and Roxana Crisólogo (Spanish).

Multilingual Nordic Region – Possibilities and Challenges

Panellists: Sara Margrethe Oskal, Hamdam Zakirov, Mona Henning and Roxana Crisólogo
Moderator: Outi Korhonen
Helsinki Book Fair, Sat 29.10 at 2-3 pm, AINO
Language: English

The discussion focuses on writing and publishing in a non-dominant language in the Nordic Region. How do the writers and publishers move between the different languages? How does the text change from the original language to the translations? What kind of new possibilities does writing or publishing in a non-dominant language offer? Are there any language-specific issues when we deal with literature written in Arabic, Sámi, Spanish or Russian in our Nordic countries?


sara_margrethe_oskal_photo_torill_olsenSara Margrethe Oskal is one of the nominees for the Nordic Literature Prize 2016 with her latest poetry collection “Savkkuhan sávrri sániid” – “Utrettelige ord”. She writes in Sámi and lives in Kautokeino, Norway. She has also a wide theatre career as a director, script-writer and actress. (Photo: Torill Olsen)


hamdam-zakirovHamdam Zakirov’s latest poetry collection, previously translated to Estonian, was published this year in Finnish, translated by Jukka Mallinen as Kaukana Mereltä, Reunamerkintöjä Kavafisiin (Ntamo). Zakirov is author of several poetry collections. He has switched his main language already as a child from his first language, Tajik, to Russian, the language in which he writes his poetry in Finland.

mona-henning13Mona Henning has run for more than 20 years the award-winning publishing company Dar Al-Muna that publishes books in Arabic in Sweden, focusing on children’s literature. Dar Al-Muna has become an important bridge for both Swedish literature to the diasporic Arabic-speaking markets and for the Arabic-speaking population to the Swedish children’s culture.

roxana_crisologo-sivuvaloRoxana Crisólogo is the coordinator of Sivuvalo project of non-dominant language authors in Finland and author of four poetry books in Spanish. The publications of Sivuvalo project have offered possibilities for writers in non-dominant languages with several different solutions to the question of language; a multilingual publication (Sivuvalo), a Burmese-English-Finnish publication (Ye Yint: We hate war, mother) and a Sámi-English-Spanish publication (Inger-Mari Aikio and Nilllas Holmberg: Roađđi – Rosa Boreal).

The discussion is moderated By Outi Korhonen, coordinator of Multilingualism and Diversity as a Resource in the cultural field / Culture for All Service

Publishing in Arabic in Nordic Countries

Mona Henning, Zainab Witwit and Ahmed Al-Nawas
Helsinki Book Fair Sunday 30.10 at 12.30-1.30 pm,  Minna Canth

The increasing amount of Arabic speaking people of all ages has created new possibilities and needs for literature in Arabic within the European area. Publishing house Dar Al-Muna focuses on Nordic childrens literature translated into Arabic, whereas Hekayh creates geographically extense markets for e-books in Arabic. These initiatives based in Sweden offer possibilities both for the local Arabic speaking populations as for the literature export.

Mona Henning, Director of the publishing house Dar Al-Muna, Zainab Witwit (in the photo), director of digital publishing at Hekayh and Ahmed Al-Nawas, Diversity Adviser of Culture for All Service discuss about publishing in Arabic in the Nordic Region.

The discussions are organized as a collaboration with Nordic Culture Point and Culture for All Service.


On the left: Zainab Witwit, on the right: Ahmed Al-Nawas