News and Press Releases


The Lahti International Writers' Reunion to relocate in 2017

The 2017 Reunion will convene June 16—17 in the impressive Art Nouveau setting of Lahti Folk High School, right in the centre of the city, a short walking distance away from the railway station.

The theme of our discussions will be: "One World?":
“A whisper carries further than a shout. Literature works from within, but what does it do to us, and how? Does it shape attitudes, does it hide something, does it tell lies? The theme of the first Lahti Reunion in 1963 was ’The Writer and prejudice’. Have prejudices changed since then?
The foundations of national identity are often laid with poetry, songs, and novels. Monuments are known to have a crushing effect. What is national literature in a global village? Is nationality a blessing or a burden?”

The reunion has a rotating system of discussion moderators. Ms. Riikka Pelo, novelist, enters her second term as moderator, while  Mr. Joni Pyysalo, poet and novelist, who presided over the Reunions of 2013 and 2015 cedes his place to Mr. Juha Pekka Pulkkinen, novelist and radio journalist.

For two days, writers from all over the world will present and discuss their views on the Reunion’s overall theme. As always, the public can follow the discussions free of charge.  The Reunion will also organize an international poetry evening as well as a prose matinee.

You can take a look at the venue here:


Cancellation notice: Nora Ikstena and Levan Beridze

Latvian author Nora Ikstena and Georgian-German author Levan Beridze are regrettably unable to attend the Reunion of 2015.

However, Nora Ikstena has kindly given the organizers permission to read her already prepared presentation during the Reunion. LIWRE wishes Nora and Levan well and hopes to re-invite them another year.


Nora Ikstena   Levan Beridze.


Cancellation notice: Italian author Antonia Arslan cancels due medical condition

LIWRE regrets to annouce that the Italian author Antonia Arslan, who is best known for her novels dealing with Armenian culture and the genocide of 1915, has had to cancel her attendance at the Lahti International Writers' Reunion of 2015 due to foot surgery. 

We wish her the best of health and hope to be able to reinvite her for the reunion of 2017.

Antonia Arslan. Photo by Kari Klemelä.


LIWRE 2015 brings domestic and international literary stars to Lahti

Mrs. Jenni Haukio, Poet and First Lady,
to act as Patroness of
the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion

Next summer marks a truly happy reunion, as the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion (LIWRE) returns to its traditional venue under the oak trees of Mukkula. Now organized for the 27th time, the reunion will take place between June 14 and 16, 2015, a few days before Midsummer. The poet Jenni Haukio, who is also the First Lady of Finland, has agreed to act as patroness of the Reunion.

Jenni Haukio

LIWRE is one of the most significant literary events in Europe, bringing together writers from all over the world. Since 1963, more than a thousand novelists, poets, critics and scholars have taken part in this biannual event. Among next summer’s twenty-odd international guests are Luiz Ruffato (Brasil), Anne Michaels (Canada), Antonia Arslan (Italy), Hassan Blasim (Iraq), Rein Raud (Estonia) ja Zsuzsa Rakovszky (Hungary). Finnish authors include, among others, Monika Fagerholm, Juha Hurme, Saila Susiluoto, Satu Taskinen and Jyrki Vainonen.

Jenni Haukio, poet and First Lady of Finland, has agreed to act as patroness of the Reunion. Mrs. Haukio also works as Program Manager for the Turku International Book Fair.

The Reunion of 2015 will focus on the theme ’Writing as a Balancing Act’: What makes the writer go on? What is the price of artistic freedom? LIWRE themes typically deal with issues that are central and topical to writers. They are defined loosely, in order to allow presenters and debaters room for personal points of emphasis.

Before travelling to Lahti on Saturday, June 13, some of the international LIWRE guests and their Finnish translators will give a public reading at Sanomatalo, the seat of the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

After eight years, and three reunions in Messilä, on the other side of Lake Vesijärvi, LIWRE returns home to Mukkula – a name that over time has become synonymous with the Writers’ Reunion. The Mukkula Manor is an integral part of the cultural and architectural history of Lahti.


Marjo Heiskanen; secretary, Finnish writers
marjo.heiskanen @, + 358 40 511 9546

Saara Pääkkönen; secretary, foreign writers
saara.paakkonen @, + 358 40 530 1917

Chia Koskinen, media and publicity
chia.koskinen @, + 358 50 381 5205


Finland crushed Rest of the world

Messilä | June 18, 2013 | Heikki Aittokoski, Seija Vilén

The goals of the Finnish novelist Aki Ollikainen made during the second half played a decisive role when the authors of the rest of the world were defeated 6-3 last night in Messilä, during the Lahti International Writers' Reunion.

The traditional football match 'Finland against the rest of the world' was played on the sandy beach of Messilä.

Ollikainen was so hungry for goals that no less than four were enough to satisfy him. During the first half, the international team was still kicking and fighting, and when half-time break was whistled the numbers were 1-1.

For team 'Rest of the world', the second half was as long as a year of famine. However, the Danish captain Henrik Andersen did manage at times to spark up a flame in the international team. One of the highlights in their game was when the Algerian author Farid Benyoucef took a long shot at goal, surprising the Finnish goalkeeper Heikki Huttu-Hiltunen. Sweden's Per Ole ”Zlatan” Persson kept up the will to fight by gliding the ball into the goal twice.

The world was not short on girl power, either: Anilda Ibrahimi and Holland's half-Finnish Kira Wuck set the ball in motion, but the Argentinian Pola Oloixarac truly showed the boys how the game is played. On the Finnish side, the poet Johanna Venho was promptly renamed Laura Kalmari, and Heidi 'Jono' Jaatinen guarded the wing without faltering.

While the match was at a 3-3- draw, the game was still 'peace ball', but then the Finnish engine revved up. At the attcking end, the foreign correspondent Heikki Aittokoski dexterously dealt Ollikainen one sweet pass after another.  For Ollikainen, scoring was as easy as stealing candy from a baby.


The match was heftily kicked off  by the author Onerva Vartiainen and commentated by Mister Tossavainen and Marilyn Monroe. Luciano ”Louis” Turconi Martins and Ari Juhanila acted as referees.


The Closing Panelists of LIWRE 2013

The panelists for the closing panel discussion on Tuesday 18th June at 2 p.m. (14:00) are Henrik Andersen (Denmark), Olga Grjasnowa (Germany), Johanna Hulkko (Finland), Igor Kotjuh (Estonia) and Per-Ole Persson (Sweden).


Writers presented in Helsinki and giving presentations in Lahti

LIWRE 2013 takes place in the Messilä Manor that lies on the shore of Lake Vesijärvi. The programme is built around organized discussions and debates, in which the guests will have the opportunity to comment and discuss topics of their choice under the general theme “Breaking Walls”. There are also other activities such as Open Mic Night ang International Poetry Night at Sibelius Hall, Lahti. During free time one can enjoy summer and spend time with people who share a special interest in literature and writing. The reunion discussions will take place outside under the trees in the garden.

A day before, Saturday June 15th at 1 p.m., the international guests of the reunion are presented in Helsinki at the Sanomatalo HQ of the leading news paper in Finland.

  • Henrik Andersen (Denmark) – reader in Finnish Aki Ollikainen
  • Anilda Ibrahimi (Albania/Italy)– reader in Finnish Helinä Kangas
  • Martin Page (France) – reader in Finnish Ville Keynäs
  • Yolanda Castaño (Spain) –reader in Finnish Merja Virolainen
  • Kira Wuck (Holland) – reader in Finnish Riina Katajavuori
  • Davide Enia (Italy) – reader in Finnish Leena Taavitsainen 

The event is hosted by Mr. Jukka Petäjä, Helsingin Sanomat.

There is a free entrance and books for sale.

The Reunion lasts three days, each containing two sessions of panel debates and discussions headed by the chairpersons Mrs Virpi Hämeen-Anttila and Mr Joni Pyysalo. All discussions are interpreted into English, French, and Finnish. Some of the participants have been asked to prepare short presentations, on which the discussions are then focused. The discussions are otherwise open. Morning sessions start at 10 o'clock and afternoon sessions at 2 p.m.

Presentations and discussion/ Morning Session 1:
Goce Smilevski (Macedonia)
Hava Pinhas-Cohen (Israel)
Tommi Melender (Finland)

Presentations and discussion/ Afternoon Session 2:
Farid Benyoucef (Algeria)
Johanna Venho (Finland)
Anna T. Szabó (Hungary)

Presentations and discussion/ Morning Session 3:
Ville Ranta (Finland)
Davide Enia (Italy)
Pola Oloixarac (Argentina)

Presentations and discussion/ Afternoon Session 4:
Abilio Estévez (Cuba/Spain)
Eeva-Kaarina Aronen (Finland)
Martin Page (France)

Presentations and discussion/ Morning Session 5:
Kader Abdolah (Iran/the Netherlands)
Karlis Verdinš(Latvia)
Heikki Aittokoski (Finland)
Soudabesh Alishahi (Iran/Norway)

Closing panel in the afternoon / Session 6.

There is a free bus connection every day, from Sunday to Tuesday, leaving from Lahti Bus station to Messilä at 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. (tourist bus stop in front of the museum). Returning buses from Messilä to Lahti leave at 1.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.


Writers breaking walls in Lahti reunion, summer 2013

The theme of the next biannual International Writers’ Reunion (LIWRE), which takes place in Lahti, southern Finland, will be ‘Breaking walls’.

‘The writer always examines his own limits and boundaries, creates a new version not only of reality but of himself. He addresses, touches and jolts, awakens his readers to see alternative worlds and accept otherness. But is the writer an engine of change, or the eternal stranger?

‘Problems demand answers, answers demand questions. If attitudes harden, arms talk, and everyone erects a wall around himself, where is literature in the equation? Is the highest wall right there inside the writer? Or is literature itself a protecting wall? What happens, when walls break down?’

The 26th Reunion will take place at the Messilä Manor in Lahti 16–18 June. Among the participants – 24 foreign writers so far – will be the Havanna-born Abilio Estévez, Davide Enia from Sicily, Anna Szabo from Hungary and the Dutch-Finnish Kira Wuck.

The chairperson, author and researcher Virpi Hämeen-Anttila, who together with Jarmo Papinniemi (who died last autumn) has chaired the discussions at three Reunions, will now be partnered by writer and journalist Joni Pyysalo.



Books from Finland, 20.4.2013


© LIWRE 2018