Kirkenes to host Icelandic-Chinese poetry festival

Public recitals of Chinese and Icelandic poetry will be helt in the King Oscar II's Chapel in Grense Jakobselv on the border to Russia during the poetry festival.

Sami and Finnish poets team up with Icelandic and Chinese colleagues for a poetry festival in the Norwegian-Russian borderland.


Pikene på Broen, Kirkenes, the Iceland-China Cultural Fund and Nordic House, Reykjavik, coordinate the poetry festival Crossing the Boundaries of Poetry and Culture, which this year takes place in Kirkenes, Grense Jakobselv and Vardø on August 20-22.

A group of Sami, Icelandic, Finnish and Chinese poets, critics and editors will be arriving in Kirkenes on August 20, Pikene på Broen announces in a press release. There will be public recitals, open for everyone, in King Oscar II’s Chapel – with a view of the Barents Sea and the Russian border – at picturesque Grense Jakobselv.

In 2010 the Chinese real estate entrepreneur, Huang Nubo donated 1 million USD to the Iceland-China Cultural fund, from which 100 000 USD will be used to organize a poetry festival each year for a decade.  

The poetry festival has earlier been arranged in Reykjavik (2010) and Beijing (2011). In 2012 attempts to arrange the festival in Kirkenes were made, but awarding Liu Xiaobo the Nobel Peace Prize (2010) proved this difficult.

Huang Nubo himself will perform some of his own poetry in King Oscar II’s Chapel. There will also be arranged recitals in Kirkenes and in Vardø. 

The aim of the poetry festival Crossing the Boundaries of Poetry and Culture is to promote and enhance cultural cooperation with a special focus on literature, in particular poetry, between Iceland and China, in the context of a wider cultural exchange between East Asia and Northern Europe, including Japan and the Scandinavian countries.

Participating Sami poets are: Inger-Mari Aikio-Arianaick, Rose-Marie Huuva, Sigbjørn Skåden and Synnøve Persen. Icelandic poets: Gerður Kristný and Kristín Eiríksdóttir. Finnish poets: Saila Susiluoto and Tua Forsström. Chinese poets: Gong Shu Ting, Yang Ke, Yang Zi, Gao Xiu Qin, Hu Xu Dong and Huang Nubo.