Search results for "Heikki Willamo"

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.

Martti Anhava: Romua rakkauden valtatiellä. Arto Mellerin elämä [Garbage on the highway of love. The life of Arto Melleri]

10 November 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Romua rakkauden valtatiellä. Arto Mellerin elämä
[Garbage on the highway of love. The life of Arto Melleri]
Helsinki: Otava, 2011. 687 p., ill.
ISBN 976-951-1-23700-6
€ 36, hardback

Arto Melleri (1956–2005) has been called the last Finnish bohemian poet. At the age of 35, he received the Finlandia Prize for a collection of poetry entitled Elävien kirjoissa (‘In the books of the living’) as well as an invitation to the Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace, from which he was thrown out. The literary editor Martti Anhava traces his friend’s life from his schooldays in Ostrobothnia to his turbulent life in Helsinki. There are interviews with family members, friends, writers, musicians, theatre-makers; Melleri wound up studying dramaturgy at the Theatre Academy. The year 1978 saw the presentation of Melleri, Jukka Asikainen and Heikki Vuento’s play Nuorallatanssijan kuolema eli kuinka Pete Q sai siivet (‘The death of a tightrope walker or how Pete Q got wings’). Breaking completely with the mainstream political theatre of the 1970s, it became a cult show. The last volume by this poet of bold, often cruelly romantic visions was Arpinen rakkauden soturi (‘The scarred soldier of love’, 2004).
Translated by Hildi Hawkins

‘The Lion of the North’ wins the non-fiction Finlandia Prize

25 November 2014 | In the news

Thetieto Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2014, worth €30,000 and awarded by Suomen Kirjasäätiö (The Finnish Book Foundation), went to the historian and author Mirkka Lappalainen on 19 November for her book on a 17th-century Swedish king.

The winning entry, entitled Pohjolan leijona, Kustaa II Adolf ja Suomi 1611–1632 (‘The Lion of the North. Gustavus II Adolphus and Finland 1611–1632’, Siltala), was chosen by from a shortlist of six finalists by Heikki Hellman, journalist and Dean of the School of Communication, Media and Theatre in Tampere. According to him, ‘Pohjolan leijona is an exceptionally well-written narrative for a non-fiction book; the author uses both earlier literature and numerous primary and secondary sources with great skill. Lappalainen succeeds in demonstrating how, during the reign of Gustavus II Adolphus, both Sweden and its easterly province, Finland, began to develop an organised society with its structure of officials and bureaucracy, how jurisdiction replaced the arbitrary rule of the aristocracy and how it was only then that Finland developed its role as part of Sweden. Pohjolan leijona sweeps the reader along and helps us to understand where we have come from and who we are.’

Hellman also commented on the growing practice of publishing non-fiction texts in English only: ‘Research is not done only for other scholars; it must also be relevant to people’s lives and be brought to their attention. We must also publish in our mother tongue, or else it will not survive as a language for research. This is one of the reasons why non-fiction is so necessary.’

Mirkka Lappalainen has received other prizes for her work. Susimessu (‘Wolf mass’), for example, was voted History Book of the year in 2010.

Graphic success

10 May 2012 | In the news

Finnish Comics Annual: picture by Katja Tukiainen

The 2012 Finnish Comics Annual, edited by Reija Sann, was published in May by HuudaHuuda and the Finnish Comics Association. The book focuses on everyday realism, featuring eleven artists: Terhi Ekebom, Grönroos & Rantio, Matti Hagelberg, Pauli Kallio, Tarmo Koivisto, Mika Lietzen, Petteri Tikkanen, Tiitu Takalo, Katja Tukiainen and Riitta Uusitalo. In their work the limits of the individual and the collective, the local and the universally human are explored by means of fantasy.

The first Finnish Comics Annual, featuring Finnish comics and graphic novels in English, was published last year. The editor was Ville Hänninen.

This year’s Finlandia Comics Prize, worth €5,000, awarded by the association Tampere Kuplii (‘Tampere bubbles’) at a comics festival of the same name in Tampere on 4 May, went to graphic designer and illustrator Ville Tietäväinen for his voluminous graphic novel Näkymättömät kädet (‘Invisible hands’, WSOY, 2011). Ten finalists were chosen by a jury out of 68 candidates, and the final choice was made by actor Armi Toivanen.

Näkymättömät kädet is the story of a Moroccan tailor, Rashid, who loses his job and has to leave his family to look for work in Europe. For an illegal alien life in Spain is unbearably difficult. Introducing the work in the article ‘Funny peculiar’ (there is also a sample from Tietäväinen’s work) Heikki Jokinen comments: ‘Through the story of one person, Tietäväinen speaks of important matters: poverty, human value and what keeps us going, hope.’

Forest and fell

8 May 2013 | Reviews

From North to South: young Heikki Soriola dressed in Lapp clothes, on his way to represent Utsjoki in Helsinki, in 1912. Photo from Saamelaiset suomalaiset

From North to South: young Heikki Soriola on his way to represent Utsjoki in Helsinki, in 1912. Photo from Saamelaiset suomalaiset

Veli-Pekka Lehtola
Saamelaiset suomalaiset: Kohtaamisia 1896–1953
[Sámi, Finns: encounters 1896–1953]
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2012. 528 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-331-9
€53, hardback
Leena Valkeapää
Luonnossa: Vuoropuhelua Nils-Aslak Valkeapään tuotannon kanssa
[In nature, a dialogue with the works of Nils-Aslak Valkeapää]
Helsinki: Maahenki, 2011. 288 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-5870-54-1
€40, hardback

The study of the Sámi people, like that of other indigenous peoples, has become considerably more diverse and deeper over recent decades. Where non-Sámi scholars, officials and clergymen once examined the Sámi according to the needs and values of the holders of power, contemporary scholarship starts out from dialogue, from an attempt to understand the interactions between different groups. More…

Utopia or dystopia?

15 October 2013 | This 'n' that

CMI logo rgb jpeg‘The fate of our societies lies in equity’, claims Martti Ahtisaari – winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 – in his foreword to a study entitled A recipe for a better life: Experiences from the Nordic countries (2013).

The study was compiled and written by Heikki Hiilamo and Olli Kangas with Johan Fritzell, Jon Kvist and Joakim Palme and published by Crisis Management Initiative (a Finnish, independent, non-profit organisation founded in 2000 by Ahtisaari, President of Finland from 1994 to 2000). It is available here.

‘The Nordic experience’ is presented in chapters dealing with the trustworthiness of the society, the role of the state, the amount of efficiency and inefficiency as well as the homogeneity of the Nordic societies and the social investments of these societies in their citizens.

(The Nordic countries consist of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as their associated territories – with different levels of autonomy – the Faroe Islands and Greenland [Denmark] and Åland [Finland].)

         ‘"The Nordic enigma" is a successful marriage between hard-core competitive capitalism
          and the pursuit of egalitarian policies’.

The study provides a concise summary of how these societies function with additional comments on the socio-historical development of independent Finland. It presents the reader with pros and cons, arguments and facts.

        ‘For some analysts the Nordic welfare state is a dystopia to be avoided at all costs....
        It is simply argued that that the welfare state destroys the incentives to work.’
        ‘Despite their strong welfare states and heavy tax burdens – often said to be poison 
        to competitiveness – the Nordic countries are doing well in economic terms.’

The reader is indeed challenged to ponder the best recipes for a better life. Last but not least: how will the ‘recipes’ need to be adapted in the future?

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…

Riitta Nikula: Suomalainen rivitalo. Työväen asunnosta keskiluokan unelmaksi. [The Finnish terraced house. From worker housing to middle-class dream.]

18 May 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Suomalainen rivitaloRiitta Nikula
Suomalainen rivitalo. Työväen asunnosta keskiluokan unelmaksi.
[The Finnish terraced house. From worker housing to middle-class dream.]
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (The Finnish Literature Society), 2014. 252 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-952-222-568-9
€ 37, hardback

In her extensive, well-researched book on the semi-detached house, Professor Emerita of Art History Riitta Nikula describes the housing history of a typical well-to-do Finn as setting off from a flat in an apartment building, continuing to a terraced house and ending up in a house of his or her own. In Finland rivitalo (simply, ‘row house’) became increasingly popular in the 1960s and the majority of houses of this type were built during the two decades that followed. However, in her book Nikula concentrates on the years 1900–1960, the decades of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. In the 1930s Finland was eager to follow the renewal of town planning and architecture that was taking place elsewhere in Europe, and the rivitalo houses were part of the project of modernism. After the war the government funding system helped people to become owners of the properties they lived in, and the rivitalo became popular in growing towns. Prominent architects such as Eliel Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Hilding Ekelund, Viljo Revell, and Kaija and Heikki Siren have all contributed to the development of this form of architecture. Nikula has travelled widely, in Europe and in Finland, researching this mode of living (the index of literature referred to alone fills seven large pages). The plentiful photographs and illustrations complement the text well.

A writer and his conscience

31 March 1993 | Archives online, Authors

In the autumn of 1891 the brilliant young law graduate Arvid Järnefelt, 30, was just embarking on his pupillage in the lower courts of justice when he suddenly changed his mind. He broke off his promising career in the middle of a legal term, explaining that he could not sit in judgment over anyone. Behind his decision was his encounter with the work of Leo Tolstoy. After reading Tolstoy’s What is my faith? and The Spirit of Christianity, Järnefelt was stopped short by a sentence from the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Judge not, that ye may not be judged.’ He wished to obey the command to the letter, and changed the direction of his life, immediately and radically. First he learned the skills of smith and shoe-maker in order to earn himself a living by the work of his own hands; later he bought a small piece of land, and became a farmer. More…

Herman Lindqvist: Kun Suomi oli Ruotsi [When Finland was Sweden]

18 December 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

lindqvistKun Suomi oli Ruotsi
[When Finland was Sweden]
(original Swedish title: När Finland var Sverige, 2013)
Suom. [Translated from Swedish by] Heikki Eskelinen
Helsinki: WSOY, 2014. 497 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-40491-1
€44, hardback

The Swedish historian and journalist Herman Lindqvist is the author of dozens of popular non-fiction books. When Finland was Sweden is primarily intended for Swedish readers – an overview of the period when Finland was part of the Swedish kingdom – and it is partly based on new research. Finland became an integral part of the western neighbouring country in stages – including armed force – a process that was complete by the beginning of the fourteenth century. It remained an eastern borderland of the Kingdom of Sweden until the year 1809. The period was marked both by the rise of Sweden in the 16th century to become a great Baltic power and its decline in that role a hundred years later. Lindqvist connects up the different stages of Finland’s absorption into Sweden in a colourful and lively way. He shows how the influences went in both directions between the western and eastern part of the kingdom; the influence of the Finns could be seen both on the battlefields and in politics. The traces of the long time the two countries spent together are still visible today in both, thought in Finland they are stronger than in Sweden.

Translated by David McDuff

Shortlist for Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2014

13 November 2014 | In the news

logoThe shortlist for the Finlandia Prize for Non-Fiction 2014 – worth €30,000 – was announced on 5 November by the chairperson of the jury, Susanna Pettersson, Director of the Ateneum Art Museum. The works on the list of six are as follows:

Pohjolan leijona, Kustaa II Adolf ja Suomi 1611–1632 (‘The lion of the North. Gustavus II Adolphus and Finland 1611–1632’, Siltala) by the historian and author Mirkka Lappalainen deals with the implications of  actions of the mighty Swedish king on the part of the kingdom that was known as Finland.

Herkkä, hellä, hehkuvainen – Minna Canth (‘Sensitive, gentle, radiant – Minna Canth’, Otava) is a fresh biography of the Finnish pre-feminist author (1844–1897), a popularised version of a dissertation by Minna Maijala.

Karanteeni. Kuinka aids saapui Suomeen (‘Quarantine. How Aids came to Finland’, Siltala) by Hanna Nikkanen & Antti Järvi records the history of the disease, its arrival and consequences in Finland.

Operaatio Elop (‘Operation Elop’, Teos) by Pekka Nykänen & Merina Salminen is the story of the mobile phone company Nokia in its declining years and its Canadian CEO (2010–2013) Stephen Elop, who did not become the saviour of the company on the global market.

Usko, toivo ja raskaus. Vanhoillislestadiolaista perhe-elämää (‘Faith, hope and pregnancy’, Atena) by Aila Ruoho &Vuokko Ilola focuses on the family life, particularly the status of the woman, of a fundamentalist religious community in Finland.

Tulisaarna. Einojuhani Rautavaaran elämä ja teokset (‘Fiery sermon. Life and works of Einojuhani Rautavaara’, Teos) by Samuli Tiikkaja (journalist, music critic and researcher) is a biography of the composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (born 1928).

The winner – according to the rules of the prize, it will be given to a deserving Finnish generalist non-fiction book – will be chosen by Heikki Hellman, journalist and Dean ofthe School of Communication, Media and Theatre in Tampere, on 19 November.


14 June 2009 | Reviews


Zzzzzzz! In the grey seal kindergarten babies take a nap after dinner. – Photo: Seppo Keränen

Taskinen, Juha
Paluu Saimaalle

[Return to Lake Saimaa]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2009. 204 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-33745-5
€ 38.90, hardback
Keränen, Seppo & Lappalainen, Markku
[The seals]
Helsinki: Maahenki, 2009. 151 p., ill.
ISBN 978-952-56-5266-6
€ 45, hardback

Helsingfors: Söderströms, 2009.
151 p., ill.
Swedish translation: Annika Luther
ISBN 978-951-52-2603-7
€ 45, hardback

The private life of the species of seal that lives only in Lake Saimaa has been carefully investigated lately. Almost everything about this highly endangered species has been revealed, thanks to technological devices such as transmitters that can be glued to their backs…

STOP! WARNING:  as I realise that not everybody wants to know what pinnipeds do in their spare time, I suggest you quit reading now, if you aren’t interested in the lives and fates of an obscure group of about 260 mammals that live in a lake in the remote west of Finland.


On Arto Melleri

31 March 1981 | Archives online, Authors

Arto Melleri

Arto Melleri, 1982. Photo: Pekka Turunen.

Arto Melleri (born 1956) is an experimenter, and, though still young, has lready explored a vanety of forms. He made an unusual start by writing, early in the 1970s, for a series called Kontakti-kirjat (‘Contact Books’): these were intended for a teenage audience and consisted of short stories and confessions written by young people. It is possible Melleri now feels some embarrassment at this debut. It did, however, get him off to an early start in poetry, and his first volume, Slaageriseppele (‘A bouquet of hit-tunes’, 1978) contains a faintly nostalgic piece about a teenage boy who churns out poems for the local newspaper in Ostrobothnia and collects his pittance for them.

Melleri is also involved in the theatre. He has studied at the Finnish School of Drama, and worked as dramaturg in the Finnish Radio Theatre. Together with Jukka Asikainen and Heikki Vuento, he wrote the script of the play Pete Q, which was a big hit in the summer of 1978, when it was performed by a scratch fringe group of actors bored with the conventional theatre with some gifted young drama students, and directed by the talented young Arto af Hällström. It is an avant-garde play, cutting through the current theatrical shibboleths, and establishing the point of view of the new theatrical generation. More…

Literature international

7 May 2010 | In the news

A novel set on the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Tulagi Hotel, was published by Dragon International Independent Arts (Diiarts) in London on 12 April. The writer is a native Finn, Heikki Hietala, who wrote his book in English.

Hietala, a translator and lecturer at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, began writing his novel in 1996, and in 2008 a refined version was uploaded onto the HarperCollins website, Authonomy, where Tulagi Hotel rose to number 15 in the popularity ratings for novels – in a selection of some eight thousand. It is now available also in an electronic version for Kindle.

The story takes place in the years of the Second World War and after; a US Marine fighter pilot from the Midwest, Jack McGuire, settles down on the Solomon Islands and begins to run a hotel. The arrival of his wartime best friend’s widow, Kay Wheeler, disrupts his orderly civilian life.

We congratulate the author for his rare achievement – however, we’d like to point out a small error. Tulagi Hotel is advertised as ‘the first book written in English by a Finn to be published outside Finland’, this is not quite true, as Anselm Hollo, a native Finn, translator and poet living in Colorado, has been publishing poetry books in English in the UK and the US since the 1960s. (Here are samples of his poems:)