Writing competition for 15–21-year-old writers living in member cities of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Network.

Tools for communication. Shapers of our view of the world. Part of our identity, and bridges between people. Languages are all of the above.

In 2023 Kuhmo celebrated its status as the Finno-Uralic Culture Capital, and shined a light on the traditions of this language- and culture family. At the same time this marked our fifth year as anUNESCO City of Literature. 

Inspired by these special events, we turn our gazes towards our growing Network. Kuhmo City and Kuhmo Town Library and Kuhmo’s City of Literature programme invites young writers of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Network to share their thoughts on the meaning of mother language. Let’s celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity together!

The winner will receive a prize of 400 €. They will also have the opportunity to perform their text at a public literary event organised by Kuhmo’s City of Literature Team. Writers on the second and third placement will be awarded with books.

From the entries we will put together a public exhibition.

The Rules:

  1. Timeline

The call is open from the 5th of February to the 13th of April. The winner will be announced on the 3rd of May.

This competition is open to 15–21-year-old writers, who live in a city that is a member of the UNESCO Cities of Literature Network. If you are unsure of whether your home city is a member, you can check it here: https://www.citiesoflit.com

Don’t hesitate to take part, for this competition is meant for all writers! There are no requirements for the level of experience, educational background, or other qualifications. Whether you are a young author who has already published their first work, or someone who is starting their first ever creative writing course, this opportunity is meant for you.

Please note that due to the war in Ukraine, City of Kuhmo has stopped all collaborations with Russian organisations. This means that Ulyanovsk is not a partner in this project.

Write a text of 800-1500 words that answers the following questions:

You can choose the style of writing yourself, but there is a catch: we need two language versions of the same text. One written in English for the jury, and one written in your native language for the exhibition

Once your entry is ready, send it to cityoflit@kuhmo.fi. Use the following heading: your name, hometown, Jutun Juuri – Root of the Chatter Writing Competition. Add in a MS Word or PDF file of your text, and a background information sheet. The latter you can download from here:

To recap the above section: Write two versions of your text – one in your mother language, and one in English.

If English is your mother language, write the first version in your local dialect, and the other in standard English.

The winner will receive 400€ and an opportunity to perform one’s text during a public literary event later during the year 2024. This performance will be executed via online connection.

Those who rank second and third will be awarded with books.

Later on, the entries will be displayed in a public exhibition located in Kuhmo.

A text can be very moving even if it’s not grammatically perfect. First and foremost, we are looking for a writer with a strong literary voice, and a touching way of describing their thoughts. Do not hesitate to seize this opportunity!

By sending their text to the jury, participant grants Kuhmo City of Literature their permission to display their work in a public exhibition related to the competition, and to share the text on Kuhmo City of Literature’s communication channels. However, the writers retain full copyright to their work, and possible further uses will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

If you have some questions about the rules, worry not. Contact Kuhmo’s City of Literature team: cityoflit@kuhmo.fi (Finnish/English). We will be happy to help.

How do we use your personal information?

We do ask that you provide us some background information, such as your age, name, and contact details. But fear not, we will not use it for commercial purposes, nor will we share it with third parties irrelevant to the execution of this competition. We collect these details for the sole purpose of successful execution of this project. For more information, take a look at the privacy statement: