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…

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

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…

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

Hannele Klemettilä: Keskiajan julmuus [Medieval cruelty]

6 November 2009 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Keskiajan JulmuusKeskiajan julmuus
[Medieval cruelty]
Jyväskylä: Atena, 2008. 365 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-796-517-0
€ 34, hardback

Darkness, cruelty, violence and ignorance are characteristics commonly associated with the medieval era. This book aims to show that this type of thinking contains a number of myths and misconceptions that have arisen in both scholarly and popular culture. She investigates how cruelty arose in medieval culture and society and how it was understood, as well as its antitheses: sympathy, fraternity and mercy. The focus of this study is from the 13th century to the first half of the 16th century. The author has relied on writings, art, folk tales and documentary sources from theoreticians, chroniclers and poets in her study. Particular attention is paid to those groups who represented the ‘non-human’ in medieval thinking, such as women and children, the infirm, common people and animals. This book also outlines a broader chronological perspective in its subject matter and addresses the issue of when the medieval era was labelled as being cruel and why that label has stuck. Hannele Klemettilä, a post-doctoral researcher at the Finnish Academy, is a cultural historian.

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…

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…

‘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…

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…

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.

Canberra, can you hear me?

31 March 1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Johan Bargum. Photo: Irmeli Jung

Johan Bargum. Photo: Irmeli Jung

A short story from Husdjur (‘Pets’, 1986)

Lena called again Sunday morning. I had just gotten up and was annoyed that as usual Hannele hadn’t gone home but was still lying in my bed snoring like a pig. The connection was good, but there was a curious little echo, as if I could hear not only Lena’s voice but also my own in the receiver.

The first thing she said was, ‘How is Hamlet doing?’

She’d started speaking in that affected way even before they’d moved, as if to show us that she’d seen completely through us.

‘Fine,’ I said. ‘How are you?’

‘What is he doing?’

‘Nothing special.’


Then she was quiet. She didn’t say anything for a long while.

‘Lena? Hello? Are you there?’

No answer. Suddenly I couldn’t stand it any longer. More…

Daddy’s girl

30 September 2004 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Maskrosguden (‘The dandelion god’, Söderströms, 2004). Introduction by Maria Antas

The best cinema in town was in the main square. The other was a little way off. It was in the main square too, but you couldn’t compare it to the Royal. At the Grand there was hardly any room between the rows, the floor was flat and there was a dance-hall on the other side of the wall, so that Zorro rode out of time with waltzes, in time with oompahs, out of time with the slow steps of tangos and in time with quick numbers. The Royal was different and had a sloping floor.

Inside, the Royal was several hundred metres long. You could buy sweets on one side and tickets on the other. From Martina Wallin’s mum. She was refined. So was everyone except us: Mum, Dad and me. More…

In other words

21 June 2012 | This 'n' that

Wordworkers meet: the translators' congress in Helsinki, 11–14 June. Photo: Hannele Jyrkkä

From Finnish or Swedish into 32 languages: in mid June FILI (the Finnish Literature Exchange) held the biggest international meeting of translators of Finnish literature of all time.

The congress, entitled Kääntäjän sana/Översättarens ord (Translator’s word) was planned with one eye on the Finnish theme of the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair.

The former Lisa Hagman School, now the House of Learning, offered the premises for workshops and lectures for 120 professional translators and almost 70 scholars of language and literature.

Participants translating from both Finnish and Finland-Swedish were offered opportunities to meet writers, listen to lectures from experts in language and literature and gain feedback from other active professional readers. More…