Monday, 17 June 2019

LIWRE, Writers in Lahti, Finland

This weekend, I attended the Lahti International Writers Reunion LIWRE in Lahti, Finland. A collegue from Scotland contacted me on all the various social media I have recently joined and finally I noticed, so I arranged to go up for the last session and the poetry reading in the evening. The theme was Nature and Writing and it lead to an interesting and varied discussion that talked about the Death of the Author and distancing the author from their work, the role of social media, the difference between nature (ie the world around us) and nature (our character) and how they come together and are kept apart in writing. 

I really enjoyed the reading; eight writers from around the world with very different styles, but at times similar themes. I really enjoyed Kätlin Kaldmaa's singing in Estonian and bear poems and Kári Tulinius's energetic Icelandic poems. It would have been nice to have some kind of social gathering that the audience could also join in after the reading, drinks or something, as the writers all ran off to a dinner and I didn't get much time to speak to anyone, including my friend. I know the event is mostly for the writers, but it would maybe attract more guests if there was chances to speak to the writers.

They did a great job of translating all the speeches on paper beforehand (though some went off script) and translating the discussions and even the poems for the poetry evening were translated into English and Finnish, but all the social media announcements I could find on Facebook and Twitter were in Finnish. It would be good to have someone providing a bit of English social media commentary as I've been struggling to find literary events in English. It's a biennial event, so I hope to be able to see more (and maybe be included) in 2021. 

I did get to chat to an non-Finnish author based in Helsinki who made me aware of a group called Sivuvalo which helps non-Finnish authors, so I will contact them next week and see what they offer. 

All in all, an interesting day and hopefully the beginning of more literary things for me. 

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