I figured it was time for another Finnish Authors post, especially since last Thursday (April 23) was Unesco’s World Book and Copyright Day, in Finland called Kirjan ja ruusun päivä (Day of the book and the rose). This time everyone on my list has once been chosen as the author of the World Book Day in Finland. Whenever an author is chosen, they will write a book specifically for the day and you can only get it when you purchase another book (any book) priced at least 15€ from books shops that are associated with the event. Without further ado, here they are!
(Note: all author names link to their respective Wikipedia-pages. Sorry about that, but I couldn’t find any other sites with English info on them!)
He has written novels, poems, scripts, children’s and YA books. He won the Finlandia Award in 2002 and received a Pro Finlandia Medal (awarded for Finnish artists) in 2013. His books usually describe normal life with a humorous but often also pessimistic attitude. Especially his newer works focus tightly on the life of ordinary Finnish men.
This year’s ‘Book Day book’ was written by him. The book is called Kantaja (The Bearer) and it tells about a man who’s asked to be a casket bearer at a stranger’s funeral because there aren’t enough people to do it. He makes a habit of writing obituaries for lonely people but it doesn’t turn out to be such a glamorous job after all.
An author, actress and screenwriter. Her first novel, Häräntappoase (An Ox Killing Weapon), was published when she was only 19 and it was extremely well received. Later it has been adapted into a TV series and stage productions. Härkönen has also written columns for different magazines. She writes about subjects that aren’t always easy, such as being a mother or acting as a foster family. Her semi-autobiographical novel revolved around the suicide of her sister. She was an excellent way of describing human emotions and her characters feel alive and believable.
Her ‘Book Day book’ was Takana puhumisen taito (The Art of Speaking Behind [someone]) is a collection of column-like texts, written from the perspective of a middle-aged, divorced woman (basically herself). It includes around 30 short pieces, for example dealing with relationships, social media and stupidity.
He’s very popular in today’s Finland. In addition to books, he writes columns and blogs, and he was a team captain in the TV show Uutisvuoto, a Finnish version of Have I Got News For You. He has written books from different perspectives, ranging from parents to a 14-year-old boy, and about foreigners and Finns, in both historic and contemporary Finland. His writing is usually clever and humorous. So far only one of his books has been translated into English. He has openly spoken against racism and supported the passing of a gender neutral marriage law in Finland.
His ‘Book Day book’ was Jarrusukka (Nonslip Sock). It tells about a middle-aged man who gets a job as a substitute history teacher. His lack of social skills and constant setbacks in arranging a Christmas play at the school are the driving plot of the story, as well as his worries about whether he’s made right choices in life.
He’s an author and a cartoonist. Recently his book Mielenstäpahoittaja was adapted into a movie and a sequel, based on the book’s sequel, is under way. An extract of the English translation of Mielensäpahoittaja was accepted into the anthology Best European Fiction 2015. He’s very versatile with his works. He has a knack for irony and reinventing cliches. Some of his books aim to make people laugh, others to make them cry.
His ‘Book Day book’ was Miniä (Daughter-in-law). It’s a sort of a spin-off to Mielensäpahoittaja but it can be read separately. The main character is Liisa and she needs to take care of her father-in-law while her husband is out of town. Their relationship has never been warm but she keeps trying, wondering just how the co-living of a modern woman and a conservative elderly man will turn out.
5 thoughts on “Chapter 48 – Four Finnish Authors”
Nice post, and a nice custom. How much is (on average) a fiction paperback in Finland? 15 euro sounds expensive. I paid around that much for my Norwegian book and my friends say it wasn’t that expensive.
I usually ignore World Book Day and when I go to the (international) book fair (the one in May, I wrote about it), I treat it as my own World book Day. This year the guest of honour is France.
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Ah, I’ve just read there will be comics from Finland. Can you recommend something?
Fiction paperbacks are usually around 5-15€. The price goes up quite a bit for hardbacks.
As for comics, I have no idea if these have been translated into anything else but Finnish/Swedish, but you could try Kiroileva Siili (The swearing hedgehog) by Minna Paloniemi, Viivi & Wagner by Jussi “Juba” Tuomola, Fingerpori by Pertti Jarla or Kamala Luonto (Horrible nature) by Jarkko Vehniäinen if you run into them. And of course there’s always the Moomin comic strips.
I think something was translated, otherwise they wouldn’t have a stand. Last year majority of the comics sold during the fair (if not all) were in Polish.
Okay, that sounds cool. If you pick up anything, let me know!