New Finlandia Writers’ Guild: Helsinki Slang

By Neal Simons

Helsinki SlangA new writers’ group is forming at Finlandia University. Called Helsinki Slang, it is the brain-child of English Assistant Professor Mark Lounibas and Junior English Student Maxwell Malone.

“Helsinki Slang is a student-based writing group,” said Lounibas, “it is a place for students from all different programs and interests to get together and both practice creative writing and encourage one another to take the act of writing seriously.”

Both Lounibas and Malone found each other with similar interests in forming a writing group and collaborated together to form Helsinki Slang.

“The name gestures towards the Finnish cultural heritage here at Finlandia,” Lounibas explained, “but also what is sophisticated and urbane about that culture…then you marry it with ‘Slang’ which is meant to be an ambiguous, vernacular-driven, energetic kind of term. So there’s meant to be a gesture towards Finnish identity and heritage but at the same time an injection of youthful exuberance, energy, and heterogeneous power.”

Though in its early stages, Helsinki Slang is staging various readings and events, including a visit by the poet laureate of the Upper Peninsula Russ Thorburn. The event will take place on November 21st, 6-8 p.m. at the Finnish-American Heritage Center and will be open to the whole community. Helsinki Slang is also open to submissions for their literary magazine, which are read and critiqued by Maxwell Malone before they are accepted.

“When the first issue comes around, I will be in charge of putting it together, formatting it, etc.” Maxwell said, “I am also one of the people who figures out what we can do on campus or in the area. Lots of work, but it is all enjoyable to me.” Submissions have been received from as far as New York state to Alberta, Canada, and Helsinki Slang’s membership has increased from four to ten members since their first meeting in early October.

“It isn’t really about the numbers,” said Malone, “It is about a pursuing a common passion and finding a core group who will be open to share, constructively critique, and create a network that other writers can rely on. So far, that is going very well.”

For any submissions for Helsinki Slang’s literary magazine, go to

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