TIFA colour divider

Maria Lassén-Seger works at the Åbo Akademi University in Finland. She is specialized in children’s and young adult literature and currently involved in a research project on the rise of children’s literature criticism and research in Finland (2022-2024). Lassén-Seger teaches, gives lectures and writes about children’s and young adult literature in both scientific and educational contexts. She is a former jury member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (2008 – 2021).

Sebastian Johans (1978) grew up in the Åland Islands and lives in Uppsala, Sweden. He works as a culture writer and art critic, writing for publications such as the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. Broarna (The Bridges) was nominated for The Nordic Council Literature Prize and is his first novel.

Sebastian Johans’ Festival appearance is generously supported by Åland Government.

Sebastian Johans appears as part of Nordic Bridges 2022.


Laura Lindstedt (1976) is a Finnish author. She is a significant reformer of literary fiction and much discussed critical darling. Her first novel Sakset (“Scissors”) was published in 2007 and nominated for the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious book award for fiction in Finland. Lindstedt’s second novel, Oneiron – A Phantasy about the Seconds after Death (2015), earned her the coveted Finlandia Prize. Among other praises, Oneiron was a candidate for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2017. The translation rights of her latest novel My Friend Natalia (2019) have already been sold in 11 territories.

Laura Lindstedt’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange

Laura Lindstedt appears as part of Nordic Bridges 2022.

Jessikka Aro is an award-winning reporter with Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, specializing in Russia, extremism and information warfare. In 2014 and 2015, she published a series of articles on pro-Kremlin social media trolls and their influence outside of Russia’s borders. Due to her investigations, Jessikka became the target of a severe and still ongoing international propaganda and hate speech campaign, which she recounts in Putin’s Trolls.

In 2019, the US State Department awarded Jessikka the International Women of Courage Award, but the award was mysteriously rescinded by the Trump administration, allegedly due to her social media criticism of then President Trump. On December 1, 2020 Jessikka Aro received the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, presented in partnership with the Washington Post and hosted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. Jessikka was recognized for her award-winning investigative reporting of Russian information warfare. Jessikka lives in Helsinki, Finland.

Jessikka Aro’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

Jessikka Aro appears as part of Nordic Bridges 2022.

Linda Bondestam is one of the most celebrated illustrators in the Nordic countries. She is the illustrator and author of dozens of children’s books that have been translated into more than ten languages, including Good Night, Earth (2021). She was awarded the Snöbollen for Swedish Picture Book of the Year in 2016 and the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize in 2017 for Djur som ingen sett utom vi (Animals that no one has seen except us). She lives in Helsinki, Finland.

Linda Bondestam’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

Linda Bondestam appears as part of Nordic Bridges 2022.

Max Seeck devotes his time to writing professionally. An avid reader of Nordic noir for personal pleasure, he listens to film scores as he writes. His accolades include the Finnish Whodunit Society’s Debut Thriller of the Year Award 2016. Max Seeck has a background in sales and marketing and loves to promote his works, and is fluent in English and German.

Max Seeck’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007. In 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller (with a TV adaptation in the works). His thriller Little Siberia won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.

Antti Tuomainen’s Festival appearance is generously supported by FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.

Juha Kaakinen is an experienced and passionate developer of innovative housing solutions to homeless people and social housing. He is Chief Executive of Y-Foundation, the biggest Finnish NGO providing housing for homeless people and social housing with a housing stock of 17 000 flats. Before, he has worked in public administration of the City of Helsinki and as a CEO of Social Development Ltd, a company devoted to developing social and health services for cities and municipalities. He has also worked as a programme leader of a national programme to end long-term homelessness, and as a researcher and a consultant. He is internationally known as an advocate of Housing First policy.