Search results for "tommi musturi"

Lucky strikes

12 August 2010 | This 'n' that

Stumbled upon: readers find Tommi Musturi's comic strip (June 10–June 18)

When Books from Finland was a printed journal, it was relatively easy to define its readership – now it is different: we are a part of the internet’s ecosystem, its surging and multifarious mass of knowledge.

Those who visit our pages may have the most diverse motives for wanting to read our articles – and they may travel surprising itineraries before arriving on Books from Finland’s pages, as we found out recently: StumbleUpon is still a fairly little-known service in Finland. Thus it took a while before we realised why so many of the comments about our piece on Tommi Musturi’s wordless comic strip, on colour and friendship, began with the words ‘I stumbled upon’… More…

Serial fun, or comics celebrated

24 January 2011 | In the news

The art of comics celebrates  its first centenary in Finland this year. The first Finnish picture story was a book called Professori Itikaisen tutkimusretki (‘Professor Itikainen’s expedition’, WSOY), by Ilmari Vainio, published in 1911; see our post on the Books from Finland website.

By the way, comics in Finnish is sarjakuva, ‘serial picture’, covering the modern usage of ‘comics’ – including serious, graphically impressive stuff such as the newish genre of the graphic novel.

The annual Helsinki Comics Festival, organised by Finnish Comics Society (founded 1971), is the biggest event in the field in northern Europe; this year’s festival will take place in September. In 2011 comics exhibitions will take place at the Finnish Design Museum, the Finnish Post Museum and the National Library of Finland.

Tommi Musturi. Photo: the Finnish Comics Society

The Society awarded its Puupää prize 2011 to Tommi Musturi (born 1975) – take a look at an extract from his Walking with Samuel which we ran on the Books from Finland website in May 2010.

Among Musturi’s publications are ten anthologies entitled Glömp; he has also worked for Kuti magazine and Huuda Huuda publisher. The jury remarked, in particular, on their appreciation of  Musturi’s highly original, often wordless, stories and their graphic brilliance.

The prize: Puupää's hat

The prize is not money but a honorary hat, and is named after a classic Finnish cartoon character, Pekka Puupää (‘Pete Blockhead’), created by Ola Fogelberg and his daughter Toto. The Puupää comic books were published between 1925 and 1975, and some of the stories were made into film.

Song without words

7 May 2010 | Comics, Fiction

Walking with Samuel

The episode we feature here is from Samuelin matkassa (‘Walking with Samuel’, Huuda Huuda, 2009; the book has been also published in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Portugal)

Our lives are now more surrounded with images – moving or still, narratives or icons, emblems and symbols – than ever before – but do we know how to interpret them? How well can we read pictures?

Try this: Samuel is a cartoon character, created by Tommi Musturi, who wanders through time and a fantastically colourful universe of his own. His story is told in pictures, not words – and the details speak volumes. It tells, as you will find if you ‘read’ it carefully, about friendship between man and… another creature. More…

Comics come to Helsinki

7 September 2012 | In the news

Comics are the ‘ninth art’, according to the organisers of the 27th Helsinki Comics Festival, which runs from 7 to 9 September.

This time, the special theme examines comics in relation to visual arts, and the main venue of the Festival is the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki. An exhibition entitled Eyeballing! and a concert series where comics meet music will take place there – artists improvise drawings inspired by live music.

Belgium is the country of focus;  in the homeland of the classic Tintin the tradition and the experimental forms of comics live side by side. Among the guest artists will be Benôit Sokal and François Schuiten, Gert Meesters and Herr Seele from Belgium, Émile Bravo from France and Arne Bellstorf from Germany. Tommi Musturi and Amanda Vähämäki are the Finnish guests.

The ninth art? In Greek mythology, the Muses are nine goddesses personifying the fields of the arts. So nowadays Polymnia, Clio, Melpomene, Urania, Euterpe, Terpsichore, Calliope, Erato and Thalia inspire, respectively, painting (including drawing and photography), sculpture, theatre, architecture, music, dance, literature, cinema (as well as television & video) – and comics.

Thalia is ‘the amused muse’: in most languages the term for comics is a variant of  ‘comic story’ or ‘amusing art’ – but the Finns call comics sarjakuva (serial pictures), which is what they mostly are.

Funny peculiar

9 December 2011 | Articles, Comics, Non-fiction

Samuel, the creation of Tommi Musturi (featured in Books from Finland on 7 May, 2010, entitled ‘Song without words’)

Comics? The Finnish word for them, sarjakuva, means, literally, ‘serial picture’, and lacks any connotation with the ‘comic’. The genre, which now  also encompasses works called graphic novels, has been the subject of celebrations this year in Finland, where it has reached its hundredth birthday. Heikki Jokinen takes a look at this modern art form

Comics are an art form that combines image and word and functions according to its own grammatical rules. It has two mother tongues: word and image. Both of them carry the story in their own way. Images and sequences of images have been used since ancient times to tell stories, and stories, for their part, are the common language of humanity. The long dark nights of the stone age were no doubt enlivened by storytellers.

One of the pioneers of comics was the Swiss artist Rodolphe Töpffer. As early as 1837, he explained how his books, combinations of images and words, should be read: ‘This little booklet is complex by nature. It is made up of a series of my own line drawings, each accompanied by a couple of lines of text. Without text, the meaning of the drawings would remain obscure; without drawings, the text would remain without content. The whole gives birth to a sort of novel – but one which is in fact no more reminiscent of a novel than of any other work.’ More…

Serious comics: Angoulême 2011

24 February 2011 | This 'n' that

Graphic artist Milla Paloniemi went to Angoulême, too: read more through the link (Milla Paloniemi) in the text below

As a little girl in Paris, I dreamed of going to the Angoulême comics festival – Corto Maltese and Mike Blueberry were my heroes, and I liked to imagine meeting them in person.

20 years later, my wish came true – I went to the festival to present Finnish comics to a French audience! I was an intern at FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange, and for the first time, FILI had its own stand at Angoulême in January 2011.

Finnish comics have become popular abroad in recent years, which is particularly apparent in the young artists’ reception by readers in Europe. Angoulême isn’t just a comics Mecca for Europeans, however: there were admirers of Matti Hagelberg, Marko Turunen and Tommi Musturi from as far away as Japan and Korea.

The festival provides opportunities to present both general ‘official’ comics, ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ and unusual works. The atmosphere at the festival is much wilder than at a traditional book fair: for four days the city is filled with publishers, readers, enthusiasts, artists, and even musicians. People meet in the evenings at le Chat Noir bar to discuss the day’s finds, sketching their friends and the day’s events.

As one Belgian publisher told me, ‘There have always been Finns at Angoulême.’ Staff from comics publisher Kutikuti and many others have been making the rounds at Angoulême for years, walking through the city and festival grounds, carrying their backpacks loaded with books. They have been the forerunners to whom we are grateful, and we hope that our collaboration with them deepens in the future.

Aapo Rapi: Meti (Kutikuti, 2010)

This year two Finnish artists, Aapo Rapi and Ville Ranta were nominated for the Sélection Officielle prize, which gave them wider recognition. Rapi’s Meti is a colourful graphic novel inspired by his own grandmother Meti [see the picture right: the old lady with square glasses].

Hannu Lukkarinen and Juha Ruusuvuori were also favorites, as all the available copies of Les Ossements de Saint Henrik, the French translation of their adventures of Nicholas Grisefoth, sold out. There were also fans of women comics artists, searching feverishly for works by such artists as Jenni Rope and Milla Paloniemi.

Chatting with French publishers and readers, it became clear that Finnish comics are interesting for their freshness and freedom. Finnish artists dare to try every kind of technique and they don’t get bogged down in questions of genre. They said so themselves at the festival’s public event. According to Ville Ranta, the commercial aspect isn’t the most important thing, because comics are still a marginalised art in Finland. Aapo Rapi claimed that ‘the first thing is to express my own ideas, for myself and a couple of friends, then I look to see if it might interest other people.’

Hannu Lukkarinen emphasised that it’s hard to distribute Finnish-language comics to the larger world: for that you need a no-nonsense agent like Kirsi Kinnunen, who has lived in France for a long time doing publicity and translation work. Finnish publishers haven’t yet shown much interest in marketing comics, but that may change in the future.

These Finnish artists, many of them also publishers, were happy at Angoulême. Happy enough, no doubt, to last them until next year!

Translated by Lola Rogers

The almost nearly perfect travel book

4 April 2014 | Articles, Non-fiction

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

The question of what foreign people think of us Finns, and Finland has always been a particularly burning one in these latitudes: a young nation, a small people. Can we be as good as bigger and wealthier nations? Tommi Uschanov reads a new book on the Nordic countries published in England, keeping a sharp eye on what is being said about…. Finland, naturally

When an article based on The Almost Nearly Perfect People: The Truth About the Nordic Miracle by Michael Booth was published last January in the London Guardian, there was a nationwide outcry in Finland. ‘Finland being bashed in the British media,’ one tabloid headlined grandiosely, while a sober financial paper spoke of ‘a broadside full of stinky stuff’. It takes a re-reading of the article after having read the book to understand why. To create an artificial atmosphere of controversy, the article is lop-sidedly critical of Finland in a way which the book goes out of its way to avoid.

The Almost Nearly Perfect People belongs in a by now time-honoured genre within English letters: the humorous encomium to a host culture by an expatriate – or immigrant, as we hosts impolitely insist on calling them. The only difference is that Michael Booth, a British food and travel writer, does not discuss only Denmark, where he has lived for a decade, but visits each of the other four Nordic countries in turn. More…

Tutti frutti

20 November 2009 | In the news

finlandialogo_3The chair of the jury for the Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2009, Professor Pekka Puska, compared choosing a winner to the dilemma of choosing between oranges and bananas. The jury found that among the entries were at least 20 or 30 books that could have gone on the final shortlist of six titles. More…

Crime, no punishment

24 June 2014 | In the news

tikliSummer is the season for crime – where buying and reading books is concerned. When spring ends and summer begins, several whodunits and thrillers appear on the list of best-selling books compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association. However, on the translated fiction list Donna Tartt rules with her novel The Goldfinch (Tikli, WSOY).

For the third time since March, number one on the Finnish fiction list in May was Tommi Kinnunen’s first novel, Neljäntienristeys (‘The crossing of four roads’, WSOY). In March this title reached the top after favourable reviews – in the Helsingin Sanomat daily paper in particular.

The narrative spans a century, beginning in the late 19th century, and is set mainly in Northern Finland. The Swedish publisher Norstedts was the first to buy the translation rights.

The next two on the list are crime novels: Cowboy (Otava) by Reijo Mäki and Mustat sydämet (‘Black hearts’, Crime Time) by Seppo Jokinen. The new ‘granny crime’ book by Minna Lindgren, the sequel to her Kuolema Ehtoolehdossa (‘Death at Twilight Grove’, 2013, Teos), entitled Ehtoolehdon pakolaiset (‘Twilight Grove refugees’) is number five; the resourceful 90-year-plus protagonists may not be criminals themselves, but odd things are certainly happening in the home for the elderly again. Lindgren’s first book is making its way into other languages as well.

Soiva laulukirja (‘The singing songbook’, Tammi), edited by Soili Perkiö, tops the list of books for children and young people: the push of a button delivers a piano accompaniment to any one of 50 Finnish songs. It may prove to be particularly popular with parents as entertainment for their kids on long car journeys.

Five of the other nine of the best-selling books on the translated fiction list – on which Tartt was number one – are about serial killers and other murderers.

The non-fiction list is headed by a collection of messages from the spiritual world: the pop star Katri Helena (born 1945) who debuted in 1963, has written down what she feels her dead loved ones have chosen to tell her. Taivaan tie (‘Heaven road’, Otava) deals with love, conscience, good deeds and the good life. One might wonder though why this selection of aphoristic observations is included in the non-fiction category.

On the list there are also books on baking cakes and cooking, and, as usual in summer, on nature, as people retreat to their summer homes to lie in hammocks to listen to birdsong and read about serial killers.

Still selling best

8 May 2014 | In the news

Celebrity in Russia: Ville Haapasalo on the cover of Et kuitenkaan usko... (’You won't believe it anyway...’)

Celebrity in Russia: Ville Haapasalo on the cover of Et kuitenkaan usko… (’You won’t believe it anyway…’)

Not a lot of new titles made it to the list of the best-selling books – compiled by the Finnish Booksellers’ Association – in April, it seems. Number one on the Finnish fiction list was still Tommi Kinnunen’s first novel, Neljäntienristeys (‘The crossing of four roads’, WSOY).

In March this title reached the top after favourable reviews – in the Helsingin Sanomat daily paper in particular. The narrative spans a century beginning in the late 19th century and takes place in the Finnish countryside.

Number two – again – was another first novel about problems arising in a religious family, Taivaslaulu (‘Heaven song’, Gummerus, 2013) by Pauliina Rauhala. Number three was the latest crime/police novel by Seppo Jokinen, Mustat sydämet (‘Black hearts’, Crime Time).

On the translated fiction list, after George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons – top of the list in March too – is Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. Another donna (Donna Leon) was number three with her Beastly Things.

On the non-fiction list number one was a book on the Finnish actor / television journalist Ville Haapasalo’s life – and adventures during his travels in Russia, where he is a big celebrity and film star – by Haapasalo, Kauko Röyhkä and Juha Metso (Docendo). Number two was an autobiographical book by Katri Helena, a pop star who began her career in the 1960s.

The selection among the 20 best-selling books included, as usually, autobiographies and biographies, cookery, books about birds and nature. And Moomins. Books about Moomins and their creator Tove Jansson (1914–2001) certainly will rule this year – Jansson’s centenary.

How to build a Finlandia Prize-winning novel

4 December 2009 | In the news


Antti Hyry

The Finlandia Prize for Fiction 2009, worth €30,000,  was awarded to Antti Hyry (born 1931) on 2nd December; his novel about building a stove, Uuni (‘The stove’, Otava), was chosen by the art historian and former director of the Finnish National Gallery, Tuula Arkio, from a shortlist of six. More…

Encounters with a language

12 December 2014 | Articles, Non-fiction

Mistranslation: illustration by Sminthopsis84/Wikimedia

Mother tongue: not Finnish. How do people become interested enough in the Finnish language in order to become translators? In the olden days some might have been greatly inspired by the music Sibelius (as were the eminent British translators of Finnish, David Barrett or Herbert Lomas, for example, back in the 1950s and 1960s). We asked contemporary translators to reminisce on how they in turn have become infatuated enough with Finnish to start studying and translating this small, somewhat eccentric northern language. Three translators into English, one into French, German and Latvian tell us why


Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2011

24 November 2011 | In the news

‘Scientific, aesthetic, timely: the work is all of these. A work of non-fiction can be both precisely factual and emotional, full of both information and soul. A good non-fiction book will surprise. I did not expect to be enthused by lichens, their variety and colours,’ declared Professor Alf Reen in announcing the winner of this year’s Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction on 17 November.

The winning work is Suomen jäkäläopas (‘Guidebook of lichens in Finland’), edited by Soili Stenroos & Teuvo Ahti & Katileena Lohtander & Leena Myllys (The Botanical Museum / The Finnish Museum of Natural History). The prize is worth €30,000.

The other works on the shortlist of six were the following: Kustaa III ja suuri merisota. Taistelut Suomenlahdella 1788–1790 [(‘Gustav III and the great sea war. Battles in the Gulf of Finland 1788–1790’, John Nurminen Foundation), written by Raoul Johnsson, with an editorial board consisting of Maria Grönroos & Ilkka Karttunen &Tommi Jokivaara & Juhani Kaskeala & Erik Båsk; Unihiekkaa etsimässä. Ratkaisuja vauvan ja taaperon unipulmiin (‘In search of the sandman. Solutions to babies’  and toddlers’  sleep problems’ ) by Anna Keski-Rahkonen & Minna Nalbantoglu (Duodecim); Operaatio Hokki. Päämajan vaiettu kaukopartio (‘Operation Hokki. Headquarters’ silenced long-distance patrol’), an account of a long-distance patrol strike in eastern Karelia during the Continuation War in 1944, by Mikko Porvali (Atena); Trotski (‘Trotsky’, Gummerus; biography) by Christer Pursiainen; and Lintukuvauksen käsikirja (‘Handbook of bird photography’) by Markus Varesvuo & Jari Peltomäki & Bence Máté (Docendo).

In the same boat

29 May 2012 | Authors, Interviews, Reviews

Pauliina Haasjoki. Photo: Tommi Tuomi

For the poet Pauliina Haasjoki, a writing process can begin in many ways, but particular periods – residencies, for example – are dedicated to writing. She attempts to create a cross-swell of influences in which she may read, watch movies, listen to music, have conversations and wander, collecting memories.

In the end, beginning to write becomes easy. Haasjoki may put music on to play, for example, for a certain time and use it to write ‘the poetry that belongs to that time, which sort of jostles there, waiting, because I have put it there.’

Haasjoki’s writing career began in Turku in the 1990s: she was studying literary theory at the university and was a witness to the birth of the poetic movement that developed there. Haasjoki has published five volumes of poetry, of which the latest,  Aallonmurtaja (‘Breakwater’), was published in 2011. More…

And the winner is… Finlandia Prize for Fiction 2014

27 November 2014 | In the news

Jussi Valtonen. Photo: Markko Taina

Jussi Valtonen. Photo: Markko Taina

The winner of the prize this year, worth €30,000 and awarded on 27 November, is He eivät tiedä mitä he tekevät (‘For they know not what they do’, Tammi) by Jussi Valtonen (born 1974), a psychologist and writer. The novel – 558 pages – is his third: it focuses on the relationship of science and ethics in the contemporary world, with an American professor of neuroscience, married to a Finn, as the protagonist.

Professor Anne Brunila – who has worked, among other posts, as a CEO in forest and energy industry – chose the winner. In her awarding speech she said: ‘The novel is an astonishing combination of perceptive description of human relationships, profound moral and ethical reasoning, science fiction and suspense…. I have never encountered a Finnish portrayal of our present era that is anything like it.’

The other five novels on the shortlist of six were the following:

Kaksi viatonta päivää (‘Two innocent days’, Gummerus) by Heidi Jaatinen is a story of a child whose parents are not able to take care of her; Olli Jalonen’s Miehiä ja ihmisiä (’Men and human beings’, Otava) focuses on a young man’s summer in the 1970s. Neljäntienristeys (‘The crossing of four roads’, WSOY), a first novel by Tommi Kinnunen, is a story set in the 20th-century Finnish countryside over three generations. Kultarinta (‘Goldbreast’, Gummerus) by Anni Kytömäki is a first novel about generations, set in the years between 1903 and 1937, celebrating the Finnish forest and untouched nature. Graniittimies (‘Granite man’, Otava) by Sirpa Kähkönen portrays a young, idealistic Finnish couple who move to the newly-founded Soviet Union to work in the utopia they believe in.