NolitchX: The Unknown Knowledge of Multilingual Nordic Literature

NolitchX, abbreviation for Nordic Literatures in Change and Exchange, is a new literary project at Nordic level, with the objective of forming networks and collaborations to allow nordic literature written in immigrant languages(1) visible through translations, multimedia literary events, publications and workshops.

As the name of the project states, NolitchX suggests, when pronounced out loud, the work of writers in immigrant languages is an unknown or undiscovered knowledge, the knowledge X, of the literature in Nordic countries. According to NolitchX, it is now time to reformulate the concept of “Nordic Literature”, integrating literatures written in other languages.

Due to the different types of migration, the group of writers of immigrant languages in the Nordic region becomes larger, but the established structures of the national litertures don’t often take this into account. Political cultures, highly focused on the concept of the official language of each country as a base for national cultural identity, offer little to no support for the translations of works created in foreign and immigrant languages to the main Nordic languages, focusing funds in majority to the promotion abroad of works in each official language.

For these reasons, the NolitchX project has the objective of providing visibility to writers of immigrant languages through translations, publications and multimedia multilingual events. NolitchX has been developing a network of writers, translators and other professionals in the cultural field to establish structures of collaboration and connection that go beyond national frontiers and take advantage of the different linguistic communities in the Nordic countries, so that writers and translators of immigrant literature are able to work professionally and be known by the readers residing in the same geographic region. By doing so, NolitchX defends the civil right of writing in a native tongue, the language where a writer has been raised and with which the writer has formed his/her voice, or which the writer chooses to write in.

We believe that from a democratic stand point, it is important for all voices present in a region to be heard, and we are conviced that the influences that written work in immigrant languages could have on the literature in Nordic languages, in the case of being translated, could only be positive and incite more creativity.

The roots of the NolitchX project are in Finland, where four years ago, poet Roxana Crisólogo initiated the work of creating a cartography of immigrant writers in Finland, and to build a network of writers by developing translation workshops, readings and book publications. Two years later, thanks to the initiative of poet and graphic designer Daniel Malpica, Sivuvalo began to produce multimedia multilingual literary events called Mutant Language /Mutanttikieltä, which now count with a numerous audience. The activities motivated by Sivuvalo will be taken to a Nordic level through NolitchX, but in honor of these Finnish roots, the first nordic multimedia poetry night took place in Helsinki this 18th of March: Satakieliklubi Nordic Multimedia Poetry Night.

(1) Immigrant languages, a term used especially in Sweden, are those that are present in the Nordic region since the 20th century, and that do not have a status as an official second language in any of the five countries.

Roxana Crisólogo
Petronella Zetterlund

This text was originally published in Swedish at Multilingual Month Blog

  • Cover: Eva Tikka