Finland 100: The Literary Friendship of Finland and Estonia

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Venue: Estonian Writers’ Union (see on map)
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Original language: Finnish
Translated to: Estonian
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Quite a few things have happened between Estonian and Finnish writers. In May 1921, the great Finnish poet Eino Leino came to Estonia, an event which Estonian newspapers were already heralding in January. The classics of Estonian literature, Henrik Visnapuu and August Gailit, still young rebels at the time, wanted to pay homage to Leino, so they bought all the lilac blossoms they could find at the market of the Balti Jaam train station and poured them on the bed in Leino’s hotel room, so that only Leino’s fingertips were poking out of this sea of blooms. Is this the reason why Leino recalls in his memoirs that Estonia in May was particularly rich in blossoms? This, in turn, moves one to ask about the subsequent relations between Estonian and Finnish authors. The blooms of May make for an apt background to a panel discussion about the literary friendship of Estonian and Finnish literature, with publisher and quizmaster Tauno Vahter (1978) who has also translated important works of Finnish literature (for example, Sofi Oksanen); the Estophile among Estophiles, literary scholar Juhani Salokannel (1946), whose translations include the towering achievement of Anton Hansen Tammsaare’s Tõde ja õigus and who has also written a book on Estonian author Jaan Kross, and Swedish-Finnish author Emma Juslin (1985), a frequent visitor in Estonia whose second novel Frida ja Frida (2008) about the love of two women won the literary prize of the FST 5 television channel of the Finnish National Broadcaster. The conversation is moderated by Anna Laine, the programme manager of the Finnish Institute. The event is organised in collaboration with the Finnish Institute.


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