My Ugly Diary

A contemporary and touching YA novel about the courage to be yourself and finding your own people.

  • Mari Kujanpää won the Finlandia Prize in 2009
  • Deals with body image, bullying and the pressure on teenagers to always be Instagram-ready

“Everyone else has a purpose, and they always walk without looking at their surroundings. Someone’s waiting for them somewhere. I’m not going anywhere and I’m not expected anywhere. Yet my feet are moving me somewhere”.

Age 14, shoe size 42, height 175 centimetres, cup size AA and a hideously ugly face, that’s how Malva is defined. She knows she is ugly, and the other pupils remind her of it daily with words and looks. Malva escapes to art and nature. Then along comes Runo, who is passionate about the same things.

My Ugly Diary is a delicate story about how a bullied girl hating her own reflection slowly recovers from the anxiety of her looks. Everyone who has been insecure about their looks can relate to Malva’s experiences.

Finlandia award-winner Mari Kujanpää writes directly and sympathetically about subjects that touch young readers.

Mari Kujanpää

Mari Kujanpää has studied forestry and library studies. During the days she works as a library manager in the Oripää library, and during the evenings she writes. She has authored multiple children’s novels, and her work Minä and Muro, dealing with school bullying, won the Finlandia Children’s & YA Prize in 2009. A play based on the novel was performed in the Finnish National Theatre 2013-2014.

Kujanpää enjoys the challenge of writing about topics often perceived as challenging in the lives of children, such as loneliness, bullying, and a grandparent’s memory disorder. In her best dreams, she spreads her arms and flies over ancient forests. In her nightmares, she is a teenager again and walks the gloomy corridors of secondary school.