Author: Olavi Jama

Joni Skiftesvik: arctic storyteller

Issue 4/1984 | Archives online, Authors, Interviews

Joni Skiftesvik

Joni Skiftesvik. Photo: Hilkka Skiftesvik

Olavi Jama interviews Joni Skiftesvik

We’re sitting on the fringes of the arctic zone, in the modern centre of Oulu, a town that built its wealth in the last century on tar export and sailing ships.

In front of us is the sea; behind us curves Oulujoki, the river that has for centuries brought Oulu writers stories from the north. The restaurant is filled with the bright light of midday; we want to see each other clearly.

JS: All summer the wind blows in from the sea. Now there’s a land wind. It comes from the east.

OJ: You’ve published only two books, but you’re hardly a typical debutant writer. All day you work for an Oulu publisher of romantic fiction, whose products attract hundreds of thousands of readers every year. What’s your job there?

JS: Publications director.

OJ: You returned from the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday. Did you see anything there to interest you as an author?

JS: For a novelist or a short story writer, for a writer concerned with literature it was really quite a depressing sight. Long corridors and exhibition shelves by the kilometre. More…