Search results for "olli jalonen"

Irreverent laughter

31 December 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…

Becoming father and daughter

31 December 1990 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A father kidnaps his 10-year-old daughter and flees to the western extremity of Europe, to Ireland, to begin a new life under new names. In the following extract, the girl is in a state of shock after witnessing an event organised by a religious sect in which animals are driven over a cliff to their death. The year 2000 approaches, and with it clarification of the relationship between father and daughter. An extract from Olli Jalonen’s novel Isäksi ja tyttäreksi (‘Becoming father and daughter’). Introduction by Erkka Lehtola

He begins leading his daughter back the way they came, along the hillside and the lip of the precipice.

The blare of the Legion’s display carries far, till finally the voices are scrambled in the bluster of the wind. The electricity crackles in the loudspeakers, and the thundersheets rumble out to the audience. ‘Be silent!’ come the roars from the plat­ form: ‘And look at each other! Each is fearfully following his way, each is a venue of good and evil, each is inscribed with God’s name!’ More…

The dog-man’s daughter

30 December 2001 | Fiction

Extracts from the radio play Porkkalansaari (‘The island of Porkkala’, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, 1993)

The surface of the earth is the first to freeze; then the still waters. The sea freezes at the shore often at the same time, on the same night, as the slow-flowing brooks. I have watched them for many years. When you live in the same place for a long time, you notice this much: that almost everything just repeats and repeats.

It flows into a plastic tube. I suppose water flows inside it. You could drop matchsticks in on the other side of the road and wait on this side for them to swim through the drum. You’d only have to find one; that would be enough to prove it. More…

Works in progress

30 September 2008 | Archives online, Essays, On writing and not writing

Olli Jalonen’s latest novel, 14 solmua Greenwichiin (’14 knots to Greenwich’, 2008), was 19 years in the making. He ponders the joys and tribulations of such a slow maturation

When you spend years or decades writing the same book, what is the drive, passion or compulsion that keeps the cogs turning through the quieter months? Or are the months when you don’t write silent at all? Isn’t it the case that the core of a text or a book is born out of a state of peaceful nothingness?

More often than not, the most important ideas, the strongest details and the sturdiest structures of the art of writing come into being somewhere other than at the computer keyboard. One of the greatest benefits and pleasures of a writer’s work is carrying that work around in mind and body. At these times the writing machinery is whirring, quietly, calmly, freely and unpressured. 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.

Literary prizes

15 November 2008 | In the news

In November six novels were shortlisted for the twenty-fifth Finlandia Prize for Fiction, to be awarded on 4 December.


Sofi Oksanen wins the 2008 Finlandia Prize

10 February 2009 | In the news

Photo: Toni Härkönen/WSOY.

Sofi Oksanen. - Photo: Toni Härkönen/WSOY.

The Finlandia Prize for Fiction, Finland’s most prestigious literary prize, was awarded to Sofi Oksanen’s novel Puhdistus (‘Purge’, WSOY, 2008). ‘When the concentrated focus of drama and the multidimensionality of narrative conjoin, Puhdistus is born – a muscular, harsh, and solid book’, said the writer and critic Pekka Tarkka awarding the prize on 4 December. (For a short review, see the Review section.)

The prize, worth € 30,000, was awarded for the twenty-fifth time. The final choice was made from the shortlist of six candidates; the others were 14 solmua Greenwichiin (‘14 knots to Greenwich’, Otava) by Olli Jalonen, Kosmonautti (‘The cosmonaut’, Tammi) by Katri Lipson, Marie (Otava) by Arne Nevanlinna, Kohtuuttomuus (‘Excess’, Siltala) by Pirkko Saisio and Paholaisen haarukka (‘The Devil’s fork’, WSOY) by Juha Seppälä. More…

Winning stories of alternative realities

10 February 2011 | In the news

The Runeberg Prize for fiction, awarded this year for the twenty-fifth time, went to a collection of short stories by Tiina Raevaara.

Her En tunne sinua vierelläni (‘I don’t feel you beside me’, Teos, 2010) mixes fantasy and realism, dealing with, for example, animal kingdom, human mind and artificial intelligence. See the introduction and translation of a story which we ran here on the Books from Finland website.

Raevaara (born 1979) holds a doctorate in genetics; the prizewinner is her second work of fiction. The prize, worth €10,000, was awarded on 5 February – the birthday of the poet J.L Runeberg (1804–1877) – in the southern Finnish city of Porvoo.

The jury – representing the prize’s founders, the Uusimaa newspaper, the city of Porvoo, both the Finnish and Finland-Swedish writers’ associations and the Finnish Critics’ Association – chose the winner from a shortlist of eight books: a collection of poetry, Vagga liten vagabond (‘Swing, little wanderer’, Söderströms) by Eva-Stina Byggmästar, the novel Poikakirja (‘Boys’ Own Book’, Otava) by Olli Jalonen, the novel Kiimakangas (WSOY) by Pekka Manninen, two collections of essays, Kuka nauttii eniten (‘Who enjoys most’) by Tommi Melender and Halun ja epäluulon esseet (‘The essays of desire and suspicion’) by Antti Nylén (both publlished by Savukeidas), a collection of poetry, Texas, sakset (‘Texas, scissors’, Otava) by Harry Salmenniemi and another collection of short stories, Apatosauruksen maa (‘The land of the apatosaurus’, WSOY) by Miina Supinen.

Living inside language

23 February 2010 | Essays, Non-fiction

Jyrki Kiiskinen sets out on a journey through seven collections of poetry that appeared in 2009. Exploring history, verbal imagery and the limits of language, these poems speak – ironically or in earnest – about landscapes, love and metamorphoses

The landscape of words is in constant motion, like a runner speeding through a sweep of countryside or an eye scaling the hills of Andalucia.

The proportions of the panorama start to shift so that sharp-edged leaves suddenly form small lakeside scenes; a harbour dissolves into a sheet of white paper or another era entirely. Holes and different layers of events begin to appear in the poems. Within each image, another image is already taking shape; sensory experiences develop into concepts, and the text progresses in a series of metamorphoses. More…

What if?

30 December 2001 | Articles, Authors

GateA little familyFor an extraordinary period between 1944 and 1956 part of Finland – the Porkkala peninsula, close to Helsinki – was leased to the Soviet Union as a military base. Inspired by the photographs by Jan Kaila, Olli Jalonen explores those silenced and mysterious years, which prompted Finns to ask the question: what if the whole of Finland had succumbed to the same fate?

In the autumn of 1944, the Soviet Union set up an enormous military base close to Helsinki. The Porkkala area, which had been forcibly leased from Finland for 50 years, was returned to the Finns early, in 1956. Completely divorced from its surroundings and strongly armed, the foreign power’s base was like a bear sleeping in Finland’s back yard. It has left in the minds of Finns hidden images of silence, fear and mystery. More…

Trans-Siberia express

31 March 2001 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

Kari Sallamaa on new poems by Olli Heikkonen

Although Russia is Finland’s eastern neighbour, it is not a favoured subject in literature. Negative stereotypes recur, but Olli Heikkonen sketches an alternative Russia.

It is black as coal and iridescent as oil, an extraordinarily wide-open country. His image of Russia is not Russophobic or ethnocentric. When he published Jakutian aurinko (‘Sun of Yakutia’, 2000), the poet had visited Russia only once — and St Petersburg at that. The neo-classical megalopolis built on Ingrian land is, of course, not the whole of Russia; not even typical Russia. More…

Picture this

9 April 2015 | Articles

It’s impossible to put Finnish graphic novels into one bottle and glue a clear label on to the outside, writes Heikki Jokinen. Finnish graphic novels are too varied in both graphics and narrative – what unites them is their individuality. Here is a selection of the Finnish graphic novels published in 2014

Graphic novels are a combination of image and word in which both carry the story. Their importance can vary very freely. Sometimes the narrative may progress through the force of words alone, sometimes through pictures. The image can be used in very different ways, and that is exactly what Finnish artists do.

In many countries graphic novels share some common style or mainstream in which artists aim to place themselves. In recent years an autobiographical approach has been popular all over the worlds in graphic novels as well as many other art forms. This may sometimes have led to a narrowing of content as the perspective concentrates on one person’s experience. Often the visual form has been felt to be less important, and clearly subservient to the text. This, in turn, has sometimes even led to deliberately clumsy graphic expression.

This is not the case in Finland: graphic diversity lies at the heart of Finnish graphic novels. Appreciation of a fluent line and competent drawing is high. The content of the work embraces everything possible between earth and sky.

Finnish graphic novels are indeed surprisingly well-known and respected internationally precisely for the diversity of their content and their visual mastery.

Life on the block

Minä, Mikko ja Annikki

‘Shall we go and look at our new house? / Yeah. / Did you move house? / Yeah, to one without a floor. / At least you have head-space! / This is where the mould was. / Oh dear!’. Tiitu Takalo, Minä, Mikko ja Annikki (‘Me, Mikko and Annikki’, Suuri kurpitsa).


Runeberg Prize 2013 for poetry

8 February 2013 | In the news

Olli-Pekka Tennilä. Photo: Aleksis Salusjärvi, 2012

Olli-Pekka Tennilä. Photo: Aleksis Salusjärvi, 2012

The Runeberg Prize for fiction, awarded on 5 February, this year for the twenty-seventh time, went to a book of poetry by Olli-Pekka Tennilä (born 1978).

Tennilä’s second work, Yksinkeltainen on kaksinkeltaista (‘Doubly simple’, a pun: yksinkertainen = simple, kaksinkertainen = double, keltainen = yellow), published by Poesia, makes use of a child’s open-minded use of language and studies the world of the bees. Tennilä is one of the founding members of Osuuskunta Poesia, a poetry cooperative, and is currently its publishing director.

The prize, worth €10,000, was awarded on 5 February – the birthday of the poet J.L Runeberg (1804–1877) – in the southern Finnish city of Porvoo.

The jury, writer Tommi Melender, critic Siru Kainulainen and theatre manager Dan Henriksson – representing the prize’s founders, the Uusimaa newspaper, the city of Porvoo, both the Finnish and Finland-Swedish writers’ associations and the Finnish Critics’ Association – chose the winner from a shortlist of eight books. In their opinion the winning work is both ‘a structurally controlled and expressively vital whole; it demonstrates how the linguistic logic of a small child can be employed again as an adult.’

The other seven finalists were a book of essays, Toinen jalka maassa ja muita esseitä (‘One foot on the ground and other essays’, WSOY) by Markku Envall, two poetry collections, Keisarin tie (‘The emperor’s road’, Otava) by Lassi Hyvärinen and Kuolinsiivous (‘Death cleaning’, WSOY) by Eeva Kilpi, two collections of short stories, Kadonnut ranta (‘Lost shore’, WSOY) by Tiina Laitila Kälvemark and Till dig som saknas (‘To you who are missing’, Schildts&Söderströms) by Peter Sandström, as well as two novels, Rikosromaani (‘Crime novel’, Otava) by Petri Tamminen and Neuromaani (‘Neuromane’, Otava) by Jaakko Yli-Juonikas.

National treasures

7 April 2011 | This 'n' that

The name of the game: ice hockey. Photo: Jaakko Oksa

In Japan, artists or craftsmen of the highest quality may be honoured with the title ‘Living National Treasure’. In Finland, it seems only ice hockey players are eligible for that title, if you ask the man on the street, as ice hockey seems to be Finland’s ‘national’ sport.

(For example another ice team sport, synchronised skating, doesn’t compete in the same national treasure series, despite the fact that the Finnish team won the gold – again – in the World Championships in April. [Finland has won gold six times, Sweden five.] No national flag-waving resulted. But of course they are just women, who don’t win sports wars against other nations.)

On Sunday, 15 May, a dream came true at last, as Finland won the gold medal at the Ice Hockey World Tournament. And what’s more, it was Sweden – neighbour and old colonial overlord – they beat (6–1).

As the victorious team, escorted by a Hornet fighter from the Finnish air force, returned from Bratislava to Helsinki on Monday night, some 100,000 people crowded the capital’s Market Square to celebrate. The team and a selection of pop musicians climbed up on a stage to start the party – and President Tarja Halonen also popped in, from her presidential palace by the Square, to congratulate.

When’s the last time when 100,000 Finns gathered anywhere? Perhaps in 1995, when Finland first won the same title? See the series of photographs on the Internet pages of the Swedish paper Aftonbladet, particularly a shot of Helsinki harbour taken with a fish-eye lens.

All together now! Photo: Jaakko Oksa

Sweden has been a much more successful hockey country than Finland, but it’s clearly tough to be a good loser. As the rivalry – in sports in particular – between Sweden and Finland is traditionally a larger-than-life issue, the Swedish newspapers and their readers displayed a highly amusing spectrum of opinions. ‘Kul att dom får fira något. Dom bor ju trots allt i Finland’ (‘Great that they have something to celebrate. After all, they live in Finland’), said one reader sourly.

And celebrate they did. One of the coaches stumbled and fell on his face on the red carpet on landing in Helsinki, and before you could say oops, he ended up on the YouTube accompanied by extracts from the final match television coverage by the celebrity sports commentator Antero Mertaranta.

Sportsmen and -women are supposed to be positive role models for young people, but as  some of the team members clearly seemed to enjoy something stronger than sports drinks on the Market Square, they have been reproached for this behaviour by many people – spoilsports?

The coach of the Finnish national team, Jukka Jalonen, said in an interview that he could not condemn the use of alcohol in celebrating a ‘rare achievement’ like this, as ‘children and young people surely understand that adults may sometimes get drunk. Many of them have seen their parents sloshed.’

Well, if we assume it’s OK to be drunk in front of your children, it is no wonder that younger and younger children start drinking – which, however, is not considered OK, not by anyone. Can someone explain this?

Reading matters? On new books for young readers

9 January 2014 | Articles, Children's books, Non-fiction

Pixon brothers: a story book by Malin Kivelä and Linda Bondestam

The Pixon brothers don’t read books, they love the telly: story by Malin Kivelä, illustrations by Linda Bondestam (Bröderna Pixon och TV:ns hemtrevliga sken, ‘The Pixon brothers and the homely shimmer of the telly’)

Finnish picture books for children have long been reliable export goods around the world. In the last few years, a number of novels for children have come along in their wake: works by authors such as Timo Parvela and Siri Kolu have been translated into a good many languages.

Now young adult literature has also blazed a trail on to the international market – in what also seems to be almost a matter of precision timing with regard to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. Finnish publishers have been investing in their home-grown lists of children’s and young adult books ever since the turn of the millennium, and now the time has come to harvest the fruits of their long-term efforts.