The Annikki International Poetry Festival

Annikki Poetry Festival


Annikki Poetry Festival, 8 June 2022 at 11 AM - 10 PM at Annikki Wooden Quarter in Tampere Finland.

10:30 Festival gates open

11:00 Opening words: Artistic director J.K Ihalainen, "Personal".

11:05 Ranja Omena

11:30 Title Artist Verna Tervaharju

11:30 Annikki Open Mic part 1.

12:00 Risto Ahti

12:35 Prose Break: Tommi Liimatta

13:00 Lyyti

13:55 - 14:25 Abdulla Pashew (Kurdistan / FI). The Finnish translations will be read by Minna Torppa.

14:00 Annikki Open Mic part 2.

14:40 Kielo Kärkkäinen

15:00 Aulikki Oksanen

15:40 Prose Break: Iida Rauma

16:10 Tuukka Terho & Heikki Nikula

16:50 Rosanna Fellman

17:30 Vilma Talvitie

18:15 Piki Rantanen

18:45 Prose Break: Sirpa Kähkönen

19:20 Maija Kauhanen

20:20 Stephen James Smith (IE)

21:15 Hassan Maikal

22:00 Annikki Poetry Festival After Party @ Laterna Restaurant (Puutarhakatu 11, Tampere) feat. poet Kasper Salonen, hip hop artist Ihme-Liisa & singer-songwriter Kielo Kärkkäinen. Admission 14 €.

Performers in the order of appearance

Ranja Omena

Ranja Omena is a Helsinki-based poet, performer and activist. Ranja’s poetry revolves around both social themes and diary-like texts, intertwined in unexpected ways. Ranja writes about her friends and white wine, Weltschmerz, what it was like to hold the title of angry feminist in lower secondary school and why she still has to hold it. Ranja is an empathetic and sensitive artist who is moved by her own poems and pours coffee on her skirt at least once a week. Known as a strong spoken word performer, Ranja Omena has also used TikTok as a channel for her poetry, where her publications have attracted hundreds of thousands of views.

Risto Ahti

Risto Ahti is a poet, writer and poetry teacher currently living in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. He can rightly be considered one of the classics of Finnish contemporary poetry. His poetry has been translated into over 20 languages. Since publishing his debut collection in 1967, Ahti has produced almost thirty collections of poetry, prose works, essays, critiques and Finnish translations. His creative writing courses at the Orivesi College of Arts, which went on for a number of years, were referred to as the college of poetry. At one point, almost all Finnish poets publishing their debuts had been taught by him. Ahti has received several awards for his work, including the Eino Leino Prize, the Runeberg Prize, the Pro Finlandia Medal and the title of Professor of Art.

Tommi Liimatta

Tommi Liimatta has created an exceptionally extensive and diverse output both as a literary multi-talent and as a songwriter and musician. His literary works include nine novels, non-fiction and comics. As a musician, Liimatta is known as the singer and songwriter of Absoluuttinen Nollapiste. During its twenty years of activity, the band released 12 albums and other recordings. Liimatta’s 2017 novel “Autarktis” was shortlisted for the Finlandia Prize. In recent years, Liimatta has attracted attention and rave reviews with his extensive autobiographical novels “Jeppis”, “Jeppis 2”, “Rollo” and “Manse – markka-aika”. Tommi Liimatta will be one of the performers at the Annikki Poetry Festival’s prose breaks. You can find Liimatta’s music on our Spotify playlist.


Lyyti is one of Finland’s most talented and original singer-songwriters and most highly regarded indie artists in recent years. Lyyti, who defines her music as rattling poetry pop, has progressed in a few years from solo gigs played at small poetry events to the main stages of large festivals. Back in 2018, Lyyti performed for an audience of a few dozen people at the Annikki OFF opening party. Lyyti has also been unusually productive in her record releases. In just over three years, she has released three critically acclaimed and popular albums, the latest of which, “Nousussa taas”, was released last year. Lyyti has succeeded in combining her rich and ambitious lyrics with effortlessly sparkling pop melodies in a rare way. The result is irresistibly rich music that reaches ever larger audiences. At the Annikki Poetry Festival, Lyyti will perform as a duo. You can find Lyyti’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Abdulla Pashew (Kurdistan / FI)

Abdulla Pashew is the most important Kurdish poet of our time. Born in the Kurdish region of Erbil in Iraq in 1946, Pashew published his first poems in 1963, and his first poetry collection came out in 1967. He has published a total of ten collections, the latest of them in 2019. Consisting of almost 400 pages of English translations of Pashew’s selected works from 50 years, “Dictionary of Midnight” came out in 2018, and three volumes of his collected works in Kurdish were published last year. His poetry has also been translated into Swedish, German, Italian, Greek, French, Arabic, Persian, Russian and other languages. A linguist and university professor, Pashew has also translated world literature from the original language into Kurdish, including works by Walt Whitman and Alexander Pushkin. In Pashew’s poetry, various themes coexist in harmony, ranging from the stages and issues of the struggle for an independent Kurdistan to personal love poetry. Pashew is known as a powerful performer, and every time he visits Kurdish areas, his poetry readings attract huge audiences of thousands of people. Until now, very few people have known that Abdulla Pashew, one of the prominent figures in the Kurdish-speaking world, has been living in Finland since 1995. Pashew’s appearance at the Annikki Poetry Festival will be his first public performance in Finland. Pashew's poems in Kurdish will be read to the audience in Finnish by Minna Torppa, the translator of the poems.

Kielo Kärkkäinen

Before Aulikki Oksanen’s performance, Tampere-based singer-songwriter Kielo Kärkkäinen will perform a selection of classic songs written by Oksanen. Kielo Kärkkäinen is a hugely skilled singer whose deep voice gives her performances an intense and focused atmosphere. Kärkkäinen has released four acclaimed solo albums that combine the influences of folk, jazz and world music. Her latest album, “Näkijä”, was released early this year. In addition to her solo career, Kärkkäinen is also a member of Belize, which has released two albums, the Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L live band and Pelle & Romantiks, a poetry music ensemble that has also performed at the Annikki Poetry Festival. You can find Kärkkäinen’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Aulikki Oksanen

Aulikki Oksanen is a literary multi-talent living in Helsinki and an artist with an exceptionally diverse career in various art forms. Her extensive output includes poetry, novels, short story collections, plays, children’s books, comics and several song lyrics that have become classics. In addition, she has worked as a singer, actress and visual artist. Having received numerous awards for her life’s work, Oksanen gave voice and face to 1960s cultural radicalism with her film roles, song interpretations and lyrics. Oksanen has penned lyrics to evergreen songs like “Sinua sinua rakastan” and “Kuka kertoisi minulle”. She has summarised the main themes of her art in two words: love and equality. A biography of Aulikki Oksanen will be published in autumn 2024, and its author Helena Ruuska will also speak in connection with Oksanen’s performance. Before Aulikki Oksanen’s performance, Tampere-based singer-songwriter Kielo Kärkkäinen will perform a selection of classic songs written by Oksanen. You can find a selection of songs written by Oksanen on our Spotify playlist.

Iida Rauma

Iida Rauma is a Turku-based, award-winning writer active in social debate. Her first novel, “Katoamisten kirja”, came out in 2011 and was nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize. Published in 2015, her second novel “Seksistä ja matematiikasta” won both the Kalevi Jäntti Prize and the Tulenkantaja Prize and was also nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature. Rauma’s latest novel “Hävitys – tapauskertomus” was published two years and awarded the 2022 Finlandia Prize for Fiction. The book deals with the author’s personal experiences of school violence and the frenzy of destruction against old buildings in Turku. At the same time, it provides revealing social commentary about the downplaying of school violence and structural oppression of children. Iida Rauma will be one of the performers at the Annikki Poetry Festival’s prose breaks.

Tuukka Terho & Heikki Nikula

Poet, guitarist and singer Tuukka Terho and bass clarinetist Hannu Nikula will treat the Annikki Poetry Festival to a performance featuring Terho’s poetry and fully improvised music springing from the tradition of contemporary music. A poet living in Lahti and a musician graduated from the Sibelius Academy. Tuukka Terho and Hannu Nikula are among the few Finnish classical musicians specialised in improvisation. They have both featured on several recordings of art music improvisation with Leif Segerstam and have also performed frequently with him.

Heikki Nikula is one of Finland’s leading bass clarinet players. He has been playing with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra since 1991 and the Avanti! Chamber Orchestra since its inception. Nikula also often performs as a soloist and chamber musician in various contexts. Outside of orchestral work, free improvisation is close to his heart, and he has taught improvisation in the Sibelius Academy’s degree programme in jazz music. You can find their music on our Spotify playlist.

Rosanna Fellman

Rosanna Fellman is a poet and Finland-Swedish cultural figure, born in Pietarsaari and living in Helsinki. Her first book, “Strömsöborna”, was published in 2019, and her second collection, the bilingual “Republikens president – Tasavallan presidentti”, came out in 2022. Her third poetry collection will be published in August. Fellman began performing as a poet ten years ago. Speaking Swedish as her mother tongue, she gave her first poetry reading in Finnish five years ago. Her Finnish-language poetry style is absurd, anarchist and full of black humour challenging stereotypes of Finland-Swedes. Having been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, she has also worked as a disability-rights activist. In addition, Fellman is an active podcast editor and columnist in the Finland-Swedish media. Last year’s half-hour documentary “Rosanna Fellman, runoilija” directed by Mikaela Weurlander, is still available on Yle Areena.

Vilma Talvitie

Vilma Talvitie is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose music is a harmonic blend of Finnish folk aesthetics, acoustic instruments and catchy melodies. When performing, Talvitie is a one-person orchestra: in addition to her singing, she uses her own body and the piano lid as percussion instruments in her unique style. In her songs, Talvitie deals with the darkest human emotions – shame, anger, disappointment, envy and regret – personally and without embellishment. The dark themes of her music are counterbalanced by her bright and luminous voice, which draws strength from both Finno-Ugric and wider world music influences. Vilma Talvitie's acclaimed debut album "Mistä mihin" was released last year. You can find Talvities’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Piki Rantanen

Piki Rantanen is a versatile artist living in Tampere, best known for their poetry performances and human rights activism. Since 2018, their poems have been heard in cafés, street demonstrations, clubs, festivals and social media. During the pandemic, Rantanen did not hide their poems in a drawer but began to deliver them live on Instagram. The poems began a life of their own on social media, having attracted hundreds of thousands of views. Rantanen’s work has been said to raise the status of performed poetry especially among young people. Rantanen carries the title of social media poet with pride. The recurring themes in Rantanen’s poems include sore spots of society but also heart-rending love, hope and the joy of living. Rantanen’s texts have been praised for their directness and openness, but also their sharp satire and highlighting of inequality. Piki Rantanen has been recognised for their work as Queer Activist of the Year and, in 2023, they were selected as Queer Artist of the Year.

Sirpa Kähkönen

Sirpa Kähkönen is an award-winning author who specialises in social and historical topics. Her output includes more than ten novels, short stories, young adult fiction, plays and non-fiction books. In particular, she is known for her nine-part Kuopio novel series. Key themes in Kähkönen’s work include the fate of citizens in times of crisis, the history of women and children as well as the impact of great ideals on the lives of ordinary people. Kähkönen won the 2023 Finlandia Prize for Fiction for her novel “36 uurnaa – Väärässä olemisen historia”. It differs from her previous works in its autobiographical nature. Praised by critics and embraced by the general public, the book is a personal description of the painful relationship between mother and daughter. Kähkönen has described writing the book as reconciliation with her past. Sirpa Kähkönen will be one of the performers at the Annikki Poetry Festival’s prose breaks.

Maija Kauhanen

Maija Kauhanen, the singer-songwriter, kantele artist and multi-instrumentalist who won the Nordic Council Music Prize last year as the first Finnish contemporary folk musician, is an impressive one-woman orchestra who has built a great international career in a short time. In her performances, virtuoso vocals, hypnotic melodies, traditional kantele instruments and their innovative use are accompanied by a huge number of percussion instruments, various bells and experimental soundscapes. The result is a masterly one-woman band that has enchanted audiences in over 30 countries. Kauhanen’s music is influenced by, among other things, traditional folk music, pop and film music. An important role behind Kauhanen’s strong interpretations is played by the stories and lyrics of the songs, whose themes often include personal experiences and various women’s fates. The texts deal with challenges and fears in relationships, but also joy, friendship and hope. In addition to her solo career, Kauhanen is also involved in numerous other music projects and ensembles, the best-known of which is the internationally award-winning electro-folk band Okra Playground. You can find Kauhanen’s music on our Spotify playlist.

Stephen James Smith (IE)

Making his first appearance in Finland, Stephen James Smith is an Irish poet, performer, playwright and educator based in Dublin. His long-standing work has been a key contributor to the rise of Ireland’s vibrant spoken word culture, and his poetry videos have reached millions of viewers. Over the past two decades, Smith has given more than a thousand performances around the world at venues including Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Glastonbury Music Festival. During his tours, Smith has shared the stage with artists like Patti Smith and Shane MacGowan. His poetry has been translated into eight languages, and he has been awarded numerous prizes for his work. Stephen James Smith has also been dubbed Dublin’s unofficial poet laureate. Indeed, his hometown and life there are an important source of inspiration for his poetry. Smith’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications, and he has also released several records. His first poetry album, “See No Evil”, was released in 2022. You can listen to it on our Spotify playlist.

Hassan Maikal

Hassan Maikal is a singer-songwriter and artist who was born in Tampere but has lived in Kontula in Eastern Helsinki since his childhood. In his Finnish-language music, he combines rap and r'n'b influences in a versatile manner with lyrics drawn from his personal experiences and commenting on social topics. Maikal rose to public attention in 2016 with his song “Maan tavalla”, which is about everyday racism in Finland. His 2021 debut album “Betonitarha” was well received. It garnered no less than four Emma nominations and reached millions of plays on streaming services. Since releasing his debut album, Maikal has appeared at numerous festivals and on several TV shows. He is currently preparing his second long-player. The single “Isäongelmii” has already been released from the upcoming album, dealing with the importance of the role of the father both in the artist’s own life and as a social issue. In addition to his career as an artist, Maikal is known as a a social influencer. He is also involved as a coach in Yle’s WORD project, which encourages young people to write poetry, and in the television series that follows its progress. You can find Maikal’s music on our Spotify playlist.

After Party: Kasper Salonen, Ihme-Liisa & Kielo Kärkkäinen

The official After Party of the Annikki Poetry Festival will start at Laterna restaurant at the end of the festival day on 8 June at 21.30. The entrance fee is 14 €.

Kasper Salonen is a bilingual poet, translator, writer, artist and cultural activist. Since 2010, he has performed and published poetry in both Finnish and English in his rhythmically flowing spoken word style. As a language user who enjoys landscapes of metamodernism and psychedelia, Salonen primarily emphasises creativity, honesty, confessionalism and courage in his expression. Central elements of his poetry also include the preservation of mental and natural diversity as well as the importance of finding peace and connection. Among other things, he has published the English-language poetry collection “Correlations” (2014) and two spoken word and music albums. Salonen’s first book in Finnish, “Kiertoreittejä”, was published in 2021. At the closing club, Salonen will be reading poems in Finnish and English from his existing books as well as his upcoming collection “Taru-urat”. There will also be soundscapes, speaking in tongues and spells.

Ihme-Liisa mixes spoken word, singing and poetry recital, drawing inspiration from pop and theatre music, for example. Her music, which has also been described as music or art therapy, is based on endless streams of consciousness and great emotions in the midst of growing into oneself and the challenges of human relationships. Everything is based on honesty, which carries us over even the deepest streams. Ihme-Liisa is currently putting the finishing touches to her debut album, from which she has already released the singles “Kaaosta ku sä” ja “Aina vaan ihminen”. At the closing club, Liisa will be performing with guitarist Jussi Uusitalo. Get ready for soundscapes that create electronic and mystical atmospheres as well as texts that get under your skin.

Tampere-based singer-songwriter Kielo Kärkkäinen is a hugely skilled singer whose deep voice gives her performances an intense and focused atmosphere. Kärkkäinen has released four acclaimed solo albums that combine the influences of folk, jazz and world music. Her latest album, “Näkijä”, was released early this year.