Refugee journeys

Writing contest from 15 January to 15 May 2021

Did you come to Finland as a refugee or as an asylum seeker? Write about your experiences when you had to flee your home country. In recent years, refugees’ and asylum seekers’ journeys to Europe have been frequently in the media, but not many refugees have been able to tell their own story. We want to collect and save these stories so that they will not be forgotten.

We would like to receive stories from people who have been on a refugee journey at different ages and in different periods of time. Your journey may have taken some hours or many years – we welcome all kinds of stories. You can write your story in your own language.

The following questions might help in the writing process:

  • When did you arrive in Finland? How old were you?
  • When did you start your journey, and what were the circumstances when you left? Did you have to leave in a hurry, or did you have time to plan your journey? What did you take with you when you left? Did you travel with other people? What time of the day and year was it when you left?
  • What were your feelings and thoughts when you left your home?
  • When did you know that you would end up in Finland? What kinds of impressions, expectations or information did you have about Finland?
  • What route did your journey take? What modes of transport did you use on your way? What kind of people did you meet, or what kinds of relationships did your form during the journey?
  • How long did your journey take? Are there any phases, situations, places or experiences that you remember particularly clearly?
  • What kinds of memories do you have about your arrival in Finland?
  • How has the journey experience affected you and your life?
  • What do you consider your home today?

The collection is organised by the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) and the project Refugee Journeys: Narratives of Forced Mobilities (University of Oulu) funded by the Academy of Finland.

SKS collects, preserves, and makes accessible versatile cultural heritage, and we would like to include your story in our collections. Read more about SKS (

The main prize of the writing contest is EUR 500. In addition, there are three special recognition awards of EUR 200 each. The winners will be contacted and the results announced in autumn 2021.

Further information:
SKS archive, tel. +358 201 131 240,
Response form in Finnish: Pakolaismatkalla
Brochures (pdf): Finnish, English, Somali, Arabic, Farsi and Sorani

Answering instructions

Please write in your own language and style. The length of the texts is not restricted. We also accept photographs, recordings, videos, previous memoirs and interviews. Please only send material if you have the right and/or permission to send such material. We ask you to give consent for archiving the material in the SKS archive and for its use in accordance with the rules of the archive.

Please, read the instructions concerning disclosure and SKS archive guidelines.

Please submit your text by 15 May 2021

  • using the form below or
  • by post to the following address: Finnish Literature Society (SKS), archive, P.O. Box 259, FI-00171 Helsinki.
    • Please, mark the envelope with “Pakolaismatkat”.
    • Include your consent for archiving the material in the SKS archive under your name or pen name, as well as your contact and background information. You can use the attached form.
If your answer exceeds 5 000 characters, attach the answer as a text file.
Your background information is important for the use of material. Background information given on this form will be linked to your answer.
SKS stores the recorded material and makes it available for public use in accordance with SKS’s mission. SKS’s mission is to promote, study and publicise Finnish culture. SKS processes personal data related to the collected material for archival purposes that serve the public interest in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) and the Data Protection Act (1050/2018). The collected material, its cataloguing information and the related personal data will be stored permanently for archival purposes, and they can be made freely available under the valid SKS archive guidelines to the extent allowed by law. When processing personal data for archival purposes that serve the public interest, the data subject’s rights described in the General Data Protection Regulation do not apply as a rule.

For further information about the processing of personal data, please visit our website.
More information about the use of material.

If you have questions about the processing of personal data and the use of material, please contact the customer service team of the SKS archive.

The providing of contact information is voluntary. We ask you to give us your contact information, because there will be a book prize draw from among all those who have answered. In addition, we will process the respondents’ information for future reference, e.g. for research purposes or to require copyright permission, because we need your consent to publish the material or use it in presentations. If the material that you send to us is archived under a pen name, we will delete your contact information after the prize draw. Then, it will be possible to cite the material but it cannot be published as a whole.