Mehdi Ghasemi: Towards inclusive and culturally diverse literature in Finland

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Migrant Tales insight: A few days ago, I got an email from Mehdi Ghasemi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tampere and Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (SKS). He says that he’s working on a project that aims to increase the “visibility, readability, and research on immigrant authors in Finland.”

His latest book, Opening Boundaries: “Toward Finnish Heterolinational Literatures,” is an anthology by twenty-four immigrant authors living in Finland from sixteen different nationalities in ten different languages.

You can purchase the book here.

Ghasemi writes:

Opening Boundaries: Toward Finnish Heterolinational Literatures is a part of our project, entitled “Toward a More Inclusive and Comprehensive Finnish Literature,” conducted at the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) and the University of Tampere during 2018-2019. The anthology includes some literary outputs by twenty-four immigrant authors, living in Finland from sixteen different nationalities, and their works in ten different languages make this collection multilingual. However, for the sake of readability, the translation of some of their works in Finnish or English has been offered.

This cross-cultural collection of texts demonstrates the emergence and growth of new heterogeneous, multicultural and multilingual literatures within the Finnish literary canon. This anthology is also an indication of our cultural and literary activities, which, if appreciated, can further grow and enrich the Finnish literary canon. In that case, the literary works produced by immigrant authors in Finland not only diversify the narratives, languages, themes and genres of Finnish literature, but also add to the literary credits of their host society. This would pave the way for the celebration of ethnorelativism and recognition of all authors, regardless of their races and languages, involved actively to promote Finnish literature. Since immigrant authors reside in Finland, they usually take their subjects from the Finnish society, history, culture, language and literature, mix them with their transnational and transcultural experiences and eventually offer a body of literature, which proffers different insights and transforms Finnish literature in both form and content.