Search results for "hannele huovi"

Eino Leino Prize to Hannele Huovi

17 April 2009 | In the news

Hannele Huovi. - Photo: Laura Vesa.

Hannele Huovi. - Photo: Laura Vesa

‘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. More…

Our fellow creatures

30 June 2004 | Authors, Reviews

Hannele Huovi

Photo: Tiina Itkonen

Hannele Huovi is a compelling story-teller (see page 98) 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. Eeva-Liisa Manner’s stories (see Books from Finland 1/2004) are another obvious point of contact, but Huovi is brilliantly inventive and completely original. More…

Hannele Huovi: Karvakorvan runopurkki [Furry pooch’s jar of verse]

4 March 2009 | Mini reviews

Karvakorvan hunajapurkkiKarvakorvan runopurkki
[Furry pooch’s jar of verse]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Kristiina Louhi
Helsinki: Tammi, 2008. 79 p.
ISBN 978-951-31-3974-2
€ 23.30, hardback

‘Methinks,/ said the sausage dog / who loved eating verse, that / poetry is tastier than bone’. Hannele Huovi (born 1949) has written poetry, books for children, novels and fables. The masterly rhymes of Finland’s grand old lady of children’s poetry, Kirsi Kunnas (born 1924), are hard to match, but Huovi comes close. For her, Finnish is easily pliable; her rhymes do not try to be too clever, her tone of voice is warm and humorous, and often the poems are little stories in the tradition of nonsense verse. Huovi’s sense of humour matches perfectly with Kristiina Louhi’s pastel pictures which often add surprising dimensions to the poetic stories. ‘So complete / trust can be: / with your paws skywards, /with your belly bared, you can / lie in the grass.’

Hannele Huovi & Kristiina Louhi: Jättityttö ja Pirhonen [The giant girl and Mr Pirhonen]

17 January 2012 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Jättityttö ja Pirhonen
[The giant girl and Mr Pirhonen]
Kuvitus [Ill. by]: Kristiina Louhi
Helsinki: Tammi, 2011. 31 p.
ISBN 978-951-31-5852-1
€ 19.95, hardback

Hannele Huovi and Kristiina Louhi, two eminent professionals in the field of children’s literature, have been collaborating for a long time. Their mutual trust is reflected in the way they grant each other artistic freedom, at times submitting to the text, at others to the illustrations. The depiction of the love story between a giant girl and a tiny man was an exceptional challenge for the illustrator; Tyyne’s tears nearly drown her tiny friend, and to see him properly, she needs a magnifying glass! Louhi has again kept her style economical, and she boldly paints large expanses of colour and forms. Alongside the unequal but happy love story, this picture book deals with tolerance. Tyyne’s enormous size effectively manifests her feeling that she is an outsider. The book also advocates a relaxed attitude to life and the avoidance of unnecessary strain. The example of the giant girl helps the reader to develop a sense of proportion and to realise the value of the everyday.
Translated by Fleur Jeremiah and Emily Jeremiah

Ecstasy and silence

30 June 2000 | Archives online, Authors, Essays, Reviews

Peter Mickwitz surveys new Finnish poetry in Finnish and Swedish

Considering all the talk about poetry’s ‘critical situation’ and its ‘marginal­ization,’ it is surprising to see how much poetry is being published in Finland, both in Finnish and Swedish. No less surprising is the fact that so much of it is excellent. Thus, it is not a difficult but a gratifying task to pick four poetry books published in 1999 for brief comment.

Ralf Andtbacka (born 1963), connois­seur and translator of Anglophone po­etry –  but first and foremost a Finland­-Swedish poet – published his third collection of poems, Cafe Sjöjungfrun (,The Mermaid Cafe’, Söderströms, 1999), which was nominated for the Runeberg Prize in the fall of 1999. The first poem in the book, ‘Cesur’ (‘Caesura’), takes place in ‘the first evening of autumn / even though it is still July’ which reminds this reader, somewhat unexpectedly, of Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf’s poem ‘Eufori’ (‘Euphoria’), in which the poet’s alter ego sits in his garden at dusk and feels an intense connection to all there is. Andtbacka’s poem is less intense, more distanced, but the presence of things is as strong as in Ekelöf. While Ekelöf writes ‘as if this were the last evening before a long long journey,’ Andtbacka’s anticipation is of another kind, it describes a poetics: ‘a vacuum that waits to be filled / by something as inescapable / as our quiet conversation, here / and now, small demarcations / and corrections, openings / and dead ends, pauses.’ More…

New from the archive

30 April 2015 | This 'n' that

urpo-turpo-1The first of Hannele Huovi’s much loved Urpo ja Turpo (‘Urpo and Turpo’) books ­– featuring two little bears, the grey, bob-tailed Urpo, who likes flowers, and Turpo, the grey, intrepid adventurer – appeared in 1987.

With comically characterised illustrations by Jukka Lemmetty, these vignettes cast a philosophical light on life as seen from a small child’s viewpoint, whether the subject is monsters at bedtime, what to play on a rainy day, using the family dog as a sailing ship or learning good manners.

Hannele Huovi (born 1949) won the prestigious Eino Leino Prize in 2009. Her work has been translated into Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Estonian, German, Japanese, Russian and Arabic.

Read the extracts

The fairest in the land

26 January 2012 | Children's books, Fiction

Two fables from Gepardi katsoo peiliin (‘The cheetah looks into the mirror’, Tammi, 2003). Illustrations by Kirsi Neuvonen. (More fables by Hannele Huovi here.)


The air rippled above the pile of stones. The lizard twitched her hip and took up an s-shaped pose like an ordinary photo model. After a moment she changed her left side to a convex curve. The movement was quick and graceful; the lizard’s tail swished through a broad arc so quickly you could hardly see it. Her thin, blistery skin pressed against the surface of the stone. The lizard felt the rough, raised patterns through the thin skin of her belly. She felt unpleasant, but otherwise the place was good, and the lizard did not have the energy to look for a better one. She looked through her eyelashes at the fissured sky and saw the golden disc shining at the centre of the dome. She was happy. Everything in her life was good, the weather was pleasantly dry, the temperature exactly suitable. More…

‘ware bears!

30 September 1988 | Archives online, Children's books, Fiction

Urpo and Turpo

Illustration: Jukka Lemmetty

Urpo and Turpo are a pair of teddy bears. Their family – mother, father and three children – cannot imagine who it is that makes such a mess; the bears live their own absorbing lives in house. Hannele Huovi’s text and Jukka Lemmetty’s illustrations describe the bears’ antics in a way that appeals to the sense of humour of readers of all ages.

In the green house an ordinary family are living a perfectly ordinary life. There’s father, mother, The Big Daughter, The Son, and also The Baby as well. Mother keeps running back and forth all day long shouting, ‘Goodness gracious! Who’s responsible for this?’ For very funny things keep going on in the house. Who on earth is it – always getting up to some sort of hanky-panky?

Father harrumphs and says to The Big Daughter:

‘It was you, wasn’t it?’ But The Big Daughter shakes her head. Father turns to The Son:

‘So it must have been you, then?’ But the son shakes his head. No use asking The Baby. He shakes his head anyway, because he’s always imitating the others. Father and mother are completely stumped. More…

Who for? On new books for children and young people

29 January 2010 | Articles, Non-fiction

Secrets: an illustration by Aino-Maija Metsola from Minä ja Muro (‘Me and Muro) by Mari Kujanpää

Books have a tough time in their struggle for the souls of the young: more titles for children and young adults than ever before are published in Finland, all of them trying to find their readers. Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen picks out some of the best and most innovative reading from among last year’s titles

Nine-year-old Lauha’s only friend and confidant is her teddy bear Muro, because Lauha is an outsider both at home and at school. The children’s novel Minä ja Muro (‘Muro and me’, Otava), which won the 2009 Finlandia Junior Prize, provoked discussion of whether it was appropriate for children, with its oppressive mood and the lack of any bright side brought into the life of the main character in its resolution. More…

The dog

30 September 1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the collection of short stories Matka Grönlannin halki (‘A journey across Greenland’, Tammi, 1992)

The water in this town tasted of shit. Unto swallowed a couple of mouthfuls, gargled the rest and spat it into the wash-basin. The taste of garlic and old booze disappeared and only a flavour of metal remained on his palate. Unto glanced at the mirror and began to fumble for a comb. The bags under his eyes were flushed.

He pulled a clean shirt from his suitcase, and suddenly remembered how Mervi smelt in bed. There was a stirring in his groin, and unconsciously Unto sniffed at his shirt-sleeve as he buttoned his cuffs. In front of the mirror, he straightened the hem of his cardigan, combed his moustache and drew a deep breath. He felt like some meat soup. More…

Once upon a time…

13 January 2012 | Articles, Non-fiction

Sari Airola's illustration in Silva och teservisen som fick fötter (‘Silva and the tea set that took to its feet’, Schildts) by Sanna Tahvanainen

The future of book publishing is not easy to predict. Books for children and young people are still produced in large quantities, and there’s no shortage of quality, either. But will the books find their readers? Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen takes a look at the trends of 2011, while in the review section we’ve picked out a selection of last year’s best titles

The supply of titles for children and young adults is greater than ever, but the attention the Finnish print media pays to them continues to diminish. Writing about this genre appears increasingly ghettoised, featuring only in specialist publications or internet chat rooms and blogs.

Yet, defying the prospect of a recession, Suomen lastenkirjakauppa, a bookshop specialising in children’s literature, was re-established in central Helsinki in autumn 2011, following a ten-year break. Pro lastenkirjallisuus – Pro barnlitteraturen ry, the Finnish society for the promotion of children’s literature, has been making efforts to found a Helsinki centre dedicated to writing and illustration for children. The society made progress in this ambition when it organised a pilot event in May 2011. More…

Animal crackers

30 June 2004 | Children's books, Fiction

Fables from the children’s book Gepardi katsoo peiliin (‘A cheetah looks into the mirror’, Tammi, 2003). Illustrations by Kirsi Neuvonen


The rhinoceros was late. She went blundering along a green tunnel she’d thrashed through the jungle. On her way, she plucked a leaf or two between her lips and could herself hear the thundering of her own feet. Snakes’ tails flashed away from the branches and apes bounded out of the rhino’s path, screaming. The rhino had booked an afternoon appointment and the sun had already passed the zenith.

When the rhinoceros finally arrived at the beautician’s, the cosmetologist had already prepared her mud bath. The rhino was able to throw herself straight in, and mud went splattering all round the wide hollow. More…

The stone’s silence

30 June 2000 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

From Kiven vaitiolo (‘The stone’s silence’, Tammi, 1999). Introduction by Peter Mickwitz

I buried you
    in an onion field 
the way to take care of a love whose stems 
suddenly rupture, tubes break
   the earth's covered by 
chickweed, goose foot and red-veined 
leaves of sorrel, deep down 
the inflamed wound, as sand that glints 
in the soil, underground 
golden domes and weeping under the crust
    I tear 
with dry hands the green and you do not hear 
    because you are cry and dirt 
and onion and God and a man who's been thought
   into the ground 
and the sun is wise and hot, underground 
the trees' root systems are fishing
    for strength
there is enough left for a sigh


Finlandia Junior Prize 2011

7 December 2011 | In the news

The musician Paula Vesala has chosen, from a shortlist of six, a book for young people by the poet Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, Valoa valoa valoa (‘Light light light’, Karisto). The story, which is set at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster, poetically describes the passion and pain of first love, longing for mother and death.

‘Not just what is told, but how it is told. The rythm and timbre of Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen’s language are immensely beautiful. Her phrases do not exist merely to tell the story, but live like poetry or song. Valoa valoa valoa does not incline toward young people from the world of adults; rather, its voice comes, direct and living, from painful, confusing, complex youth, in which young people should really be protected from adults and their blindness. I would have liked to read this book when I was fourteen,’ commented Vesala.

The other five shortlisted books were a picture book for small children, Rakastunut krokotiili (‘Crocodile in love’, Tammi) by Hannu Hirvonen & Pia Sakki, a philosophical picture book about being different and courageous entitled Jättityttö ja Pirhonen (‘Giant girl and Pirhonen’, Tammi) by Hannele Huovi and Kristiina Louhi; a dystopic story set in the 2300s, Routasisarukset (‘Sisters of permafrost’, WSOY), by Eija Lappalainen & Anne Leinonen; a novel about the war experiences of an Ingrian family, Kaukana omalta maalta (‘Far away from homeland’, WSOY) by Sisko Latvus and an illustrated book about gods and myths of the world, Taivaallinen suurperhe (‘Extended heavenly family’, Otava) by Marjatta Levanto & Julia Vuori.

The prize, awarded by the Finnish Book Foundation on 23 November, is worth €30,000.