Eino Leino Prize to Hannele Huovi
17 April 2009 | In the news
‘Methinks,/ said the sausage dog / who loved eating verse, that / poetry is tastier than bone.’ (From Karvakorvan runopurkki [Furry pooch’s jar of verse])
Hannele Huovi (born 1949) has received the 2009 Eino Leino Prize, worth € 5,200 and funded by the Finnish Book Foundation, for her extensive work as a writer of books for children and young people, of novels, poetry and text books.
The prize has been awarded since 1956 by the Eino Leino Society, founded to commemorate the poet and journalist Eino Leino (1878–1926).
‘Hannele Huovi is a compelling story-teller but, again and again, she makes us realise what a strange place our world is – how easily we can slip out of it into dream or psychosis, or cross some concealed frontier into a parallel universe.
‘Hers is a readable form of surrealism – the art of defamiliarising familiar things by putting them in anomalous environments. The results are absorbing for children but fascinating and entertaining for adults too, an essential of good children’s literature. Because it can be serious without being solemn and can expand consciousness, the genre has engaged very great wits from Jonathan Swift to Lewis Carroll.’
Herbert Lomas, in his introduction to Hannele Huovi’s collection of fables, Gepardi katsoo peiliin (‘A cheetah looks into the looking-glass’, Tammi, 2003), goes on to say: ‘But of course these are fables, funnier than Aesop’s, and even have a moral at the end – not necessarily the most obvious of the implicit ones. The imagery contains important lessons for children of all ages.’