Search results for "heli laaksonen"

Poetry written aloud

20 May 2011 | Reviews

Heli Laaksonen. Photo: Otava/Irmeli Jung

In the 21st century, poetry written in various dialects has drawn new audiences to poetry readings. A common feature of, for example, Sinikka Nopola’s short prose about the family, written in the dialect of the Tampere area, and Heli Laaksonen’s poetry, which is written in the dialect of south-west Finland, is the enormous popularity of live performances by the authors. Their audiences love to hear them read in dialect, because the texts are funny, and they sound even funnier when read aloud.

Heli Laaksonen (born 1972) has, ever since her first collection, Pulu uis (‘Pigeon swimming’, 2000), been Finland’s best-selling poet. Her three collections and audio books have achieved sales figures that are astonishing in the Finnish context – tens of thousands of copies. Her fourth collection, Peippo vei (‘The chaffinch took it’, Otava, 2011), has been at the head of bookseller’s sales lists throughout March and April. More…

A soul on the train

20 May 2011 | Fiction, poetry

In one of Heli Laaksonen’s poems the narrator buys a ticket for her soul and herself in a train’s pet carriage. Her capricious poetry features new potatoes, woodpeckers, weasels, and even a pig in fox’s clothing. Introduction by Mervi Kantokorpi

Poems from Peippo vei (‘The chaffinch took it’, Otava, 2011)

First early

From the potato patch there rose a human seedling, too.
Winston, I called it
as it was Winstons I’d sowed in this row

Whole,
beautiful,
unmarked by hoe or blight.
I put it in the basket with the others.
It sat there in the quiet pile, at the edge,
looked on while I slogged away,
gnawing a little bit out of the side of a potato.

What was it thinking?
What could it be that earlies think about?
The first summer sparrows are fresh out of the oven.
I so wish they’d only think about nice things.

I try to look happy
to give them a good start. More…

Older and wiser?

9 October 2012 | This 'n' that

Illustration: Virpi Talvitie (from Täyttä päätä. Runoja ikääntyville, ‘Full steam ahead. Poems for ageing people’, edited by Tuula Korolainen and Riitta Tulusto)

Nobody can claim that old age is hot, or media-sexy. Yes, but what are older people really like? Are they the bingo-obsessed grannies in floral frocks or old geezers living in the past of popular opinion?

No longer. In just a few years the baby-boom generation will be entering their seventies, when ‘old age’, in its current Western definition, begins. (Until then, senior citizens are allowed to remain ‘adults’.)

Are the old people’s homes ready for them? This new elderly generation will be wanting to listen to Elvis, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles rather than the tango. More…

The books that sold in May

10 June 2011 | In the news

In May the Bookseller’s Association of Finland’s list of the best-selling Finnish fiction was still topped – as it was in March – by a collection of poems: Heli Laaksonen’s Peippo vei (‘The chaffinch took it’, Otava) is written in a local dialect spoken in south-western Finland. See our introduction to Laaksonen’s new poems.

Pirjo Rissanen’s novel Äitienpäivä (‘Mother’s day’, Gummerus) was number two and Seppo Jokinen’s crime story, Ajomies (‘The driver’, Pulitzer/Crime Time) number three.

Tuomas Kyrö’s short prose about a grumpy old man resisting all sorts of contemporary fads, Mielensäpahoittaja (‘Taking offence’, WSOY), was number four.

Sofi Oksanen’s hugely successful novel about women and Estonian history, Puhdistus (WSOY, 2008) – English version: Purge –, still occupies number five on the list.

The most popular books for children and young people in May was the Finnish translation of a classic, Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. A nature book for children, Suomen lasten luontokirja by Lasse J. Laine and Iiris Kalliola, was number two, and the cartoon kids Tatu and Patu occupied the third place (both published by Otava): Tatun ja Patun Suomi (‘Tatu and Patu’s Finland’), written and illustrated by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen.

The translated fiction list was – as in March – topped by Maalattujen luolien maa (The Land of Painted Caves), by Jean M. Untinen-Auel, an American writer with Finnish roots. The novel is set in the late Paleolithic era.

On the non-fiction list there were books, in particular, on cooking, gardening, birds – and diets.

Thirsty for poetry

22 May 2014 | This 'n' that

Johanna Venho (above) and Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen

Johanna Venho (above) and Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen. Photo:

Jano (‘Thirst’) is the name for a new online magazine: according to the writers and poets Johanna Venho and Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, its editors, it is a ‘poetry journal for all’ – for poets, the general public, for anybody.

Two issues have been published since November 2013. The theme of the first one is Time, of the second, Place.There are interviews, autobiographical texts, texts by critics and poets. More…

Reading matters? On new books for young readers

9 January 2014 | Articles, Children's books, Non-fiction

Pixon brothers: a story book by Malin Kivelä and Linda Bondestam

The Pixon brothers don’t read books, they love the telly: story by Malin Kivelä, illustrations by Linda Bondestam (Bröderna Pixon och TV:ns hemtrevliga sken, ‘The Pixon brothers and the homely shimmer of the telly’)

Finnish picture books for children have long been reliable export goods around the world. In the last few years, a number of novels for children have come along in their wake: works by authors such as Timo Parvela and Siri Kolu have been translated into a good many languages.

Now young adult literature has also blazed a trail on to the international market – in what also seems to be almost a matter of precision timing with regard to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. Finnish publishers have been investing in their home-grown lists of children’s and young adult books ever since the turn of the millennium, and now the time has come to harvest the fruits of their long-term efforts.

More…

The Finlandia prizes: Non-fiction, Junior

28 November 2013 | In the news

Ville Kivimäki. Photo: Virpi Alanen

Ville Kivimäki. Photo: Pertti Nisonen

The Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2013, worth €30,000, was awarded on 21 November to the historian Ville Kivimäki for his book Murtuneet mielet. Taistelu suomalaissotilaiden hermoista 1939–1945 (‘Broken minds. The battle ofor the nerves of Finnish soldiers 1939–1945’, WSOY).

The other works on the shortlist of six were as follows: 940 päivää isäni muistina (‘940 days as my father’s memory’, Teos; a book on Alzheimer’s disease) by Hanna Jensen, Kokottien kultakausi: Belle Epoquen mediatähdet modernin naiseuden kuvastimina (‘The golden era of the cocottes: the media stars of Belle Epoque as mirrors of modern femininity’, Finnish Literature Society) by Harri Kalha, Viipuri 1918 (‘Vyborg 1918’, Siltala) by Teemu Keskisarja, Suomi öljyn jälkeen (‘Post-oil Finland’, Into) by Rauli Partanen, Harri Paloheimo and Heikki Waris and Vapaalasku – tieto, taito, turvallisuus (‘Freestyle – knowledge, skill, safety’, Kustannus Oy Vapaalasku) by Matti Verkasalo, Jarkko-Juhani Henttonen and Kai Arponen.

The prize-winner was chosen by the director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Maija Tanninen–Mattila. In her celebratory speech she said: ‘The symptoms of many psychologically disturbed soldiers remained untreated during the war. For many, their symptoms appeared only after the war. Their experiences have remained unexpressed in language, the history of those who lack history. Ville Kivimäki has given voice to these experiences… and succeeded in writing a book that speaks across the generations.’

In his acceptance speech Ville Kivimäki (born 1976) commented: ‘The great majority of the war generation is now dead, and the words of a youngish scholar cannot, even when successful, reach those traumatic experiences whose depth we can never fully understand. But all the same, I would like to take this opportunity to say something that should have been said years ago: the psychological injuries of the war were war wounds in exactly the same sense as physical ones. In the end anyone could suffer a psychological breakdown.’

Kreetta Onkeli. Photo: Joun Harala

Kreetta Onkeli. Photo: Jouni Harala

The Finlandia Junior Prize 2013 was awarded on 26 November, also worth €30,000. It went to Kreetta Onkeli for her book Poika joka menetti muistinsa (‘The boy who lost his memory’, Otava).

Arto, 12, gets such a massive fit of laughter that he loses his memory and needs to find his identity and his home in contemporary Helsinki.

The winner was chosen from the shortlist of six by Jarno Leppälä, a media personality and member of the popular stunt group Duudsonit, the Dudesons. At the award ceremony he said:

Poika joka menetti muistinsa is, in my opinion, a well-written story about how young people in society are put on the same starting line and expected to do equally well in all circumstances – often irrespective of the fact that their starting points may actually be very different, and completely independent of the young people themselves.’

Kreetta Onkeli (born 1970) explained in her award speech how her aim was to write a proper, old-fashioned novel for children: ‘Not hundreds of pages of magic tricks but ordinary, real contemporary life that children could identify with.’ In her opinion the current, massive trend of fantasy has narrowed the scope of children’s literature.

The following five books made it on to the shortlist: Poika (‘The boy’, Like), about a boy who feels he was born in the wrong gender by Marja Björk, Hipinäaasi, apinahiisi (onomatopoetic pun, ‘Donkeymonkey’, Tammi), about bullying and friendship, written by Ville Hytönen and illustrated by Matti Pikkujämsä, Isä vaihtaa vapaalle (‘Father on his own time’, WSOY), an illustrated story about children with too busy parents, written by Jukka Laajarinne and illustrated by Timo Mänttäri, Aapine (‘ABC’, Otava), an illustrated primer written by Heli Laaksonen in her own south-western dialect and illustrated by Elina Warsta and Vain pahaa unta (‘Just a bad dream’, WSOY) by graphic designer and writer Ville Tietäväinen and his daughter Aino, a book on a child’s nightmares.

Finlandia literary prizes are awarded by Suomen Kirjasäätiö, The Finnish Book Foundation, established in 1983.

The first Finlandia Prize for Fiction was awarded in 1984. This year it will be announced on 3 December.

What Finland read in August

12 September 2013 | In the news

Cantharellus cibarius: very edible. Photo: Wikipedia/Andreas Kunze

Cantharellus cibarius: very edible. Photo: Wikimedia/Andreas Kunze

The August list of best-selling fiction and non-fiction, compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association, features thrillers, new Finnish fiction, dictionaries and diet guides.

Number one of the Finnish fiction list was a new crime novel by Leena Lehtolainen, Rautakolmio (‘The iron triangle’, Tammi). The new novel, Hägring (‘Mirage’, Schildts & Söderströms; in Finnish, Kangastus, Otava), by Kjell Westö, was number two; in third place was Aapine, an ABC-book written in the south-western dialect by poet and author Heli Laaksonen and illustrated by Elina Warsta (Otava).

The list of translated fiction included – not surprisingly – names like Dan Brown, Jon Nesbø, Camilla Läckberg, Charlaine Harris and Henning Mankell.

5:2 dieetti (The Fast Diet), by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, sold like hot cakes – the Finns are statistically the fattest people in Scandinavia – and was number one on the non-fiction list. There were also several dictionaries (four of them Finnish-English-Finnish) as well as a field guide to mushrooms, of which there are plenty in the woods this early autumn. It is indeed essential to be able to tell the Poisonpie and the Sickener from the real deliciacies.

Funny stuff favoured

13 April 2011 | In the news

In March the Bookseller’s Association of Finland’s list of the best-selling Finnish fiction was topped – for a change – by a collection of poems. Like all her collections, Heli Laaksonen’s Peippo vei (‘The chaffinch took it’, Otava) is written in a local dialect spoken in south-western Finland.

Perttti Jarla’s latest comics book, Fingerpori 4 (‘Fingerborg 4’, Arktinen Banaani) was number two – and, demonstrating the Finns’ love of cartoons and comics, another of his titles, Fingerpori book, Fingerpori – Kamppailuni (‘Fingerborg – My fight’) occupied fourth place, following Sofi Oksanen’s Puhdistus (Purge), published in 2008 and still number three on the list. More…