Sirpa Kähkönen

Sirpa Kähkönen was born to a family that had been harshly treated by the history of the 1900s. World War II and the Civil War preceding it, had wounded her family members and marked them with heavy silence and unspoken words.

Mapping out that silence became Sirpa’s work. The first questions that arose were related to her closest circle: what had happened to her beloved grandparents? From her personal sphere the intellectual curiosity widened to touch upon the history of Finland and then the history of Europe, and finally, researching the fate of an individual during times of crisis.

Sirpa Kähkönen lives and works in Helsinki. She constructs her works upon research, using a wide array of archives, newspaper clippings, research material, and contemporary literature. Inspired by microhistorical research tradition, Sirpa writes about how mentalities are formed, and how the immaterial inheritance runs in family lines and in societies.

Sirpa Kähkönen’s historical novel begins where source information ends. It opens the gates to experiencing the past in a sensory way; the characters live out the story as physical, sensual beings.

Sirpa Kähkönen has published twelve novels of which three have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia prize, one for the Tieto-Finlandia prize for non-fiction and one for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. In 2022, Kähkönen received the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Grand Prize for significant achievements in culture.

Sirpa Kähkönen is the Chairman of The Union of Finnish Writers.

Awards and nominations:

Kirjallisuuden valtionpalkinto 1992 – The State Literary Prize 1992

Savonia-palkinto 1999 – Savonia Prize 1999

Kuopion taiteilijaseuran kirjallisuuden tunnustuspalkinto 2003 – The Kuopio Artist Society’s Literary Award 2003

Kiitos kirjasta -mitali 2008 – Thank You for the book medallion 2008

Savon Sanomien Savonmuan Hilima -titteli 2010

Otavan kirjasäätiön Veijo Meri -palkinto 2012 – Otava Literary Fund Veijo Meri Prize 2012

Pro-Finlandia -mitali 2015 – Pro Finlandia Medallion 2015

Suomi-palkinto 2016 – Suomi-Finland Prize 2016 from the Ministry of Education and Culture

Savonia-palkinto 2021 – Savonia Prize 2021

Suomen Kulttuurirahaston suurpalkinto – The Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Grand Prize 2021


Martta Kaukonen

Martta Kaukonen (1976) lives in Helsinki and is a film critic, whose reviews have been published in both Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and a popular women’s weekly magazine Me Naiset. Martta has a master’s degree in arts. She has interviewed the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Justin Bieber. Martta met her future husband at his second hand bookshop and fell in love. Alongside writing, Martta loves psychological thrillers, film noir, flea markets, abandoned houses and travelling. Martta’s debut novel FOLLOW THE BUTTERFLY was published in March 2021. FOLLOW THE BUTTERFLY is an Instagram sensation in Finland, and the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper released a highly-praising review of it. During the first two months, the audiobook was listened to an awe-inspiring 2000 times and over. FOLLOW THE BUTTERFLY  has been compared to Gillian Flynn’s novel ‘Gone Girl’. Martta dreams of her book being adapted into a movie – and such a great one that her colleagues would grant it a five-star review.


Katja Kallio

Katja Kallio is a critically acclaimed bestselling author and screenwriter. Since her striking debut on the Finnish literature scene in 2000, she has described the life and faith of misfit women at odds with the community,  in modern and past times, with her distinctive voice and thoroughly visual style. Her new, much anticipated novel This Transparent Heart, available in Finnish in August 2021, tells the forbidden love story of a young Finnish woman and a Soviet POW during WW2. Her previous novel, Amanda of the Night, inspired by true events in a mental institution island for women, was received with unanimous praise. Her books have sold more than 180,000 copies.

Kallio is praised for her accurate portrayals of the human mind. In her six novels she revisits themes such as the constant push-and-pull between distance and intimacy in a person’s life and the meaning of passion as a barrier-breaking force.

She has written box office movie adaptations of her own novels, and been a candidate for national literary and motion picture awards, including the prestigious Jussi Award for the Best Screenplay. An ardent cinema lover, she has written about movies in the iconic Image magazine for more than fifteen years.

Before writing she worked as a publishing editor, and translated fiction from Italian, Spanish and English. She hosts her own live literary salon, speaks fluent Italian with a Roman accent, and dedicates her free time to classical ballet.


Juha Itkonen

Juha Itkonen (b. 1975) is one of his generation’s most recognized authors in Finland. Itkonen has written eight novels, a collection of novellas, a children’s book, an epistolary novel together with Kjell Westö and several plays. In 2019, his works have been translated into Swedish, Norwegian, German, and Danish. His previous work Ihmettä kaikki (in English, “Everything Is A Miracle”, not translated) was nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Itkonen has won several Finnish literary prizes and earned two Finlandia Prize nominations. He lives in Helsinki’s Arabianranta together with his wife Maija Itkonen and four children.

Families, generations, and parenthood are regular themes in his novels, including in his newest work ‘They Had It All’ (Kaikki oli heidän, orig. Otava 2021) Itkonen loves music, both as a listener and a player, which shows in his books. The passing of time is an eternal mystery at the core of his writing – his novels tend to have a melancholy undertone, yet they are also filled with life, humor, and energy.


A.R.S. Horkka

A.R.S. Horkka is a very private person and feels unwelcomed in social situations. This author doesn’t give interviews, refusing to step into the public spotlight. Horkka is a human being without a face, skin color, or gender. Part of the Nordic Horror series lure and ‘lore’ is that its author is just a “story,” among other stories.

A.R.S. Horkka is also a pseudonym for wife-and-husband author-illustrator duo Riina and Sami Kaarla and author Anders Vacklin. They are Team Horkka, and this team is on fire. Because – Season 2 is coming!
The authors are already planning seven new Nordic Horror novels.

Riina and Sami Kaarla have worked for over a decade as an author-illustrator duo. They have written and illustrated dozens of internationally sold Moomin books based on characters created by Tove Jansson. Their latest children’s novel series, “Pet Agents” has also been an international success. Its rights are now sold to six countries.

Anders Vacklin is a prize-winning screenwriter, dramaturge, script doctor, creative writing teacher, and author of several non-fiction books on scriptwriting. He has written stage plays, musicals, and even a Virtual Reality game. Anders has also co-authored a YA novel-trilogy based on a script for a short film, a success at PAGE, BlueCat, and ScreenCraft screenwriting competitions.


Aki Ollikainen

Aki Ollikainen has studied social policy at the University of Jyväskylä and is a trained photographer. He has previously worked as an editor and, among other things, at a metal workshop, a library, and a post office.

His debut novel White Hunger received the Helsingin Sanomat Literary Prize for Best Debut Novel of 2012 and was longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2016. Ollikainen lives in Lohja with his wife and two children. Aki and his wife Milla form the pseudonym A.M. Ollikainen and have jointly published two crime novels.


Riikka Pulkkinen

Riikka Pulkkinen (b. 1980) is one of the top names in Finnish literature. Her debut novel The Limit (2006) gained wide attention, was a bestseller, and was adapted into a play and a TV series in Finland. Her international breakthrough came with her second novel, True (2010), which was the one novel everyone was talking about that year at the Frankfurt book fair. The novel has been published in 17 countries to date.

Pulkkinen’s novels are characterized by the precision with which she describes the psychology of the characters, and the philosophical themes that reflect from the characters into the refined structure of the novels and culminate on the level of the plot. The main questions she explores in her novels concern power, responsibility, and justice.

Pulkkinen has an M.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Helsinki, and she lives in Helsinki with her husband and her two children. She enjoys dancing and running in the forest or by the seaside. If she weren’t a writer, she would be a psychologist or a baker.

For her works, Riikka Pulkkinen has received the Kaarle award in 2007, the Laila Hirvisaari Fund stipend in 2007, the Veijo Meri Award in 2019, and her novel True was nominated for the Finlandia Prize in 2010.


Hanna Meretoja

Hanna Meretoja is an internationally renowned literary scholar, a professor of comparative literature, and narrative theorist whose work has been published by prestigious academic publishers. Her monographs include The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible (2018, Oxford University Press). Her work is mainly in the fields of narrative studies, cultural memory studies, and trauma studies. As a novelist, Meretoja has a unique lyrical voice that seamlessly threads cultural theory and philosophy into a poetic, ruptured narrative with an acute sense of lived experience. She has a passionate relationship to the sea and wants to write in the rhythm of the flow of water.


Heidi Holmavuo

Heidi Holmavuo is a crime writer and journalist. Her lengthy cooperation with the authorities, along with writing a book and a TV series about the Finnish Police Rapid Response Unit (colloquially known as the Bear Squad), have made Heidi a talented crime writer. Holmavuo wants to open people’s eyes to things that can change the world in a blink of an eye, both on the individual and societal level.


Vera Vala

Vera Vala’s roots are in Finnish forests, but her soul belongs to Italy, where she has been living for over 25 years. She has an infinite thirst for knowledge that has taken her to study various academic subjects from Physics to Assyriology and Romance Languages, and the information acquired during those years has been useful as background research for her novels.

Vera’s adventurous spirit has taken her from diving with sharks while living in Seychelles to rafting in Italian Alps and exploring the shadier parts of her former hometown, Rome: the diverse experiences have come in handy while creating intriguing plot twists.

Currently, Vera lives with her family in Milan where she is studying to become a clinical psychologist with a special interest in Forensic Psychology. Vera creates novel scenes in her mind while cooking Italian meals, and she loves slow chess games and meditation.


Kaj Korkea-aho

Kaj Korkea-aho (b. 1983) is a writer, columnist and a comedian. Moreover, he has a career as an actor and a host in TV and radio. In his varied acting roles, he has often taken a stand for the rights of queer people, and his texts often discuss themes such as growing up, sexual minorities, religious revival communities and literature.

Korkea-aho has published four novels: Se till mig som liten är (God Who Holds The Little Dear) (2009), Gräset är mörkare på andra sidan (The Grass Is Darker on the Other Side) (2012), Onda boken (The Evil Book) (2015) which has been already translated into six languages and sold to Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, and now – Röda rummet (The Red Room) (2021). His books have attained wide readership in Finland and have scored several prizes, such as the The Swedish Literary Society’s prize in 2010 and 2013, the Thanks for the Book Award in 2016 and the Längmans Cultural Foundation’s prize in 2018. In 2017, Korkea-aho’s YA book Virala genier (Viral Geniuses) was nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Prize for children’s and young adult’s literature.

Since 2005, together with Ted Forsström, Korkea-aho has created comedy in Swedish for radio, TV and plays, whilst also writing the YA series Zoo! (the basis for the TV series Virala genier). Together, they also run the Ted & Kaj podcast, one of the biggest podcasts in Finland.

Kaj Korkea-aho was born and raised in the small town of Esse in Ostrobothnia, but now lives in Helsinki.

 


Tiina Raevaara

Tiina Raevaara (b. 1979) is a writer, science journalist, and biologist who received a PhD for her work in genetics. She received the State Award for Public Information and the Pro Scientia Prize from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. She has published eight novels, three non-fiction books, and a novella collection which was awarded the Runeberg Prize. Her suspense novel Double Helix (2020), the opening chapter of a new thriller series, received the Laurin Kirja audio book award, and the second installment in the series, Polar Vortex (2021), has been widely praised.

Raevaara’s books combine grand perspectives of natural science with compelling literary expression. She draws inspiration from Nordic nature, the major questions of science, and the complexities of humanity.

Raevaara lives in Kerava, a small town in Southern Finland, and goes on daily walks in the forest with her two black dogs.

 


Hanna Brotherus

Dancer, director and choreographer Hanna Brotherus is constantly addressing and probing the prevalent questions of society. Brotherus is a pioneer in community stage art, with an extraordinary ability to unite different groups of people and collaborators.

In her work, Brotherus has managed to unreservedly involve both cutting-edge artistic professionals, recovering addicts, daycare children, the elderly and many more.

With her debut novel ’My Only Home’, Hanna Brotherus has also redeemed her place as writer. Her book has become a major bestseller and presently Hanna is working on a new title.
Hanna’s exceptional experience as a performing dance artist also contributes creatively to her writing by offering a corporeal perspective that touches the readers in a unique way.

”My passion is to join together different people from different backgrounds and age groups. I believe in intuition, in the power of the touch and presence”.

 


Koko Hubara


A.M. Ollikainen

A. M. Ollikainen is a pseudonym for a husband-and-wife author duo Aki and Milla Ollikainen. Aki Ollikainen has published three novels and won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2012. He has also been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Prix Femina in 2016.Milla Ollikainen has published three crime novels and won Like Publishing and the Finnish Detective Society’s Crime novel writing competition in 2012. The couple lives in Lohja with their two children.


Emmi Pesonen

Emmi Pesonen (b.1977) is a Helsinki-based writer, screenwriter and actress. She graduated in 2001 as a Master of Theater Arts and has worked as an actor in several in theaters, movies, and TV series. Pesonen is bilingual (Finnish-Swedish) and she has translated and dramatized Swedish-language plays. She is also the screenwriter of a movie The Violin Player (Violinist, Mjölk Movies), which premiered in Finland in 2018, and has toured successfully at more than 20 film festivals around the world (including Gothenburg, Moscow, Singapore, Kaliningrad). The film deals with power structures in the art world, passion and giving up.

The Most Beautiful Word (Otava, August 2020) is Pesonen’s debut novel. The book tells a story of a patchwork family from the point of view of the new step-mother. It’s a story of endless love, irreversible decision and learning new things. The movie rights have been optioned by Aurora Studios and a film is currently being developed.

 


Mooses Mentula

Mooses Mentula was born in Tuupovaara, Eastern Finland and grew up in Kuhmo, Kainuu.

From the age of 16 he worked as a journalist for newspapers and radio for several years. He completed his master’s degree in education at the University of Lapland, worked as a journalist and teacher in the north, and moved to Tuusula, where he has lived with his family for 14 years. He works as a headteacher, but writing is his greatest passion.

For Mentula writing means creating worlds of his own and living in them. He strives for intelligence and challenge and aims for a simple surface. Most importantly, all of his books contain hope and warmth. He likes to think of his style similar to J.M. Coetzee and Haruki Murakami. The Others of Us is Mentula’s third novel and some of his works have been translated in German.

 


Elina Backman

Elina Backman, 37, is a media & marketing professional living in Helsinki, in an old wooden 1920 house with a family of 2 kids and a husband. Elina loves books (all sorts), travelling, cycling and is a host of a Book & Wine Club. She is a creative soul with a commercial mind, and her goal is to find readers globally – her dream is a Netflix series based on her novels.

Her debut novel When the King Dies was published in May 2020 and has immediately gained an enormous amount of attention from the Finnish media, including a praising review by the biggest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and becoming an immediate bestseller in Finland with 10,000 copies sold in all formats. When the King Dies has been to-date sold in 11 territories and international TV series is in development.


Sara Medberg

SARA MEDBERG is a historian currently writing a doctoral dissertation about the education of highborn girls in the 18th century. The ideas for her novels are derived from her research. Medberg enjoys costume dramas, fashion from the past, castles, mansions, shopping and running. Her previous novel Golden Gate Manor (2018, Otava) has sold over 11,000 copies in Finland.


Hanna-Riikka Kuisma

Hanna-Riikka Kuisma (b. 1978) is a writer, art critic and columnist from Pori. Her latest novel, High-Rise, was nominated for the Finlandia Prize, and was awarded the Art Prize of the Satakunta Arts Council in 2019. Block of Flats is Kuisma’s sixth novel.

Kuisma’s works explore the dark sides of modern society and the human mind. The intense atmosphere, black humor and the surgically accurate descriptions are balanced by the colorful visuals and poetic language.


Inka Nousiainen

Inka Nousiainen is an award-winning author from Helsinki, who writes fiction, children’s books and lyrics for different artists. She was only 17 years old when her first novel was published and it won the Topelius Prize in 1994.


Eeva Rohas

Eeva Rohas is a critically acclaimed author who writes about social misfits. Rohas received her doctoral degree in contemporary culture research in 2016 with her study of The Sylvia Plath Forum. Raivo is her third work of fiction.


Petri Karra

Petri Karra is a writer from Helsinki, who is also known a screenwriter for tv and films. His works are often focused around families, and the circle of life. His debut novel The House of Branching Love (2008) has been made into a feature film, and a tv series based on his novel The Dark Light is currently under production in Finland.

 

Author photo by Aki Roukala


Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen

Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen was born in the Finnish countryside and lives in Helsinki. He works as a journalist, specializing on culture and nature. He has written 5 books and his work, praised for its humor and social satire, has been published also in English and Czech. Two of his novels have been adapted as screenplays and Reindeer Mafia is being made into a TV series.


Anniina Tarasova

Anniina Tarasova is a Helsinki storyteller who’s worked in the leadership of a startup. Her family comes from Finland, Karelia, and St. Petersburg—her grandfather and his parents emigrated soon after the Russian Revolution. As an adult, Anniina Tarasova reconnected with Russia, and especially St. Petersburg, during the year-and-ahalf she spent living there. In addition to workplace issues, Tarasova’s interests include startups, coding, and new business ideas. Even the cheesiest self-help books can inspire her, but her real literary influences and favorite books are to be found in other genres: Sujata Massey (Rei Shimura), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones), Ljudmila Ulitskaja, and Charles Bukowski.


Katja Törmänen

KATJA TÖRMÄNEN is a history teacher by training and a writer by profession. She has also studied and taught creative writing. She lives in Oulu, Northern Finland.