Finland 100: A Small Country in a Big World

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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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In the Finlandia Prize-winning novel Canal Grande (2001) by Hannu Raittila, the protagonist muses while in Venice about how Finns are always annoyed when foreign languages have excessive expressions and courtesies; this makes speaking cumbersome and obscures the point – in Finland, people always say what they mean and wait for a reaction, and if they have nothing to say, people simply keep quiet. This raises several interesting questions. How do Finns feel about other Finno-Ugric people, Estonians, for example – do they consider them to be verbose? And how have the Finno-Ugric people managed to say their piece in the world so far? The worldview of Estonians and Finns and the view of today’s world of Estonia and Finland will be discussed by novelist Riikka Pulkkinen (1980), whose existentially-tinged psychological stories explore difficult subjects like disease and death; the writer and journalist Elina Hirvonen (1975), whose novel Että hän muistaisi saman deals with the aftermath of various cultural and historical traumas and how these are passed on from one generation to another; writer Kätlin Kaldmaa (1970), who is one of the most internationally active Estonian writers in recent years, thanks partly to her rich work, partly to the fact that she was elected the foreign secretary of PEN International last year. The panel is moderated by writer Philip Teir and organised in collaboration with the literary festival Helsinki Lit.

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