Author: Kaija Valkonen

Irreverent laughter

Issue 4/1992 | Archives online, Authors

Eeva Tikka, prose-writer, poet and story-teller, seeks her material in the most everyday subjects, the countryside of middle Finland, and the internal landscapes of middle-aged and middle-class people. But she is no simple kitchen-sink realist: she places here and there challenging and dangerous will o’the wisps, passions, jealousies, disappointments, terrors. The austerely calm surface of life cracks, breaks and deepens.

Tikka (born 1939) is a biologist by training, and she scatters her scientific knowledge liberally through her narratives. As such, the presence of the landscape is nothing new in Finnish literature, but for Tikka nature is more than an ornament or an object of lyrical reverie: it is a motor and contributory factor to action, an arrogant foe or a tender earth-mother. More…

Poet of the senses

Issue 2/1988 | Archives online, Authors

The midwinter Finlandia contest is followed in Finland with almost as much excitement as the Booker Prize in Britain. The fourth Finlandia Prize – 100,000 Finnmarks – was awarded in January to the poet and prose-writer Helvi Hämäläinen, 80, for her collection of poetry Sukupolveni unta (‘Dreams of my generation’, WSOY).

Hämäläinen was tipped as favourite among the ten contenders. All the same, the award was a pleasant surprise, for the author had not published a word for twenty years. To the new generation it was as if she were making her debut.

Hämäläinen’s comeback, in other words, was brilliant. More…