Literature from Finland is a new podcast by HLA, launched in autumn 2020. After years of discussing Finnish literature with agents and publishers from all over the world we realised that it is still somewhat of an enigma to others: northern, but not Scandinavian; western, but unlike anything you will find in Germany, France, English world or anywhere else. So we decided to take the matter into our own hands.
In each episode spanning up to ca. 30 minutes, we will discuss the topic of the month with a studio guest and try to find out why indeed, literature from Finland is so unique. Above all, we hope to bring you joy, laughter and at least one new thing you didn’t know about Finland and its literature.
Follow and subscribe Literature from Finland on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and any of the usual platforms or then simply press the link of each episode below.
On February 6th, we celebrate the National Sámi Day. Poet, musician and activist Niillas Holmberg releases his novel Halla Helle – the first one in decades focusing on the Sámi community and written by a Sámi person – and discusses growing up as an indigenous boy in the 1990s’ Finland, the right to voice indigenous people, the effects of climate change to Arctic communities, as well as his current literary crushes.
“We are often treated as children who should be protected from themselves.”
– Niillas Holmberg
Is Finland really the utopia of gender equality? One of the most original and acclaimed new voices in Finland, the author of the scandalous and spectacular novel Katie-Kate and a feminist since she was 10, Anu Kaaja, discusses images of feminists, a modern Finnish woman, and reveals her favourite sex scenes in literature.
“Just by looking at porn, we get power structures of our society.”
– Anu Kaaja
Is voice everything nowadays? And what are the particularities of the Finnish literary voice? From authorship and critiques to WWII, to Peter Handke, to writers’ complaints and laziness, to literary crushes, to… sex from a woman’s perspective – one of the most internationally successful Finnish authors, Selja Ahava, discusses her Runeberg Prize nominee The Woman Who Loved Insects and literary voice.
“I feel particularly fed up with the lack of focus on structural decisions in the Finnish literary discussion.”
– Selja Ahava
Do myths have a place in our everyday life? In the second episode of Literature from Finland podcast, wise and witty Juhani Karila, the author of last year’s dark horse, novel Fishing for the Little Pike, discusses the cuteness of mythical creatures, the Finnish North and its oddness, as well as his writing – from video games to Dan Brown and Cormac McCarthy.
“We need narratives bigger than ourselves to lean on.”
– Juhani Karila
In the very first episode of Literature from Finland podcast, we discuss literary murders. Are Finns good at writing an exciting murder? J. P. Pulkkinen, the author of the celebrated Vantaa series, discusses the tortured Finn, writers from Dostoyevsky to Patti Smith, various inspirations from The Wire to inspector Maigret and Henning Mankell, and names the necessary elements for the trendiest Finnish crime novel.
“To me, murder seems to be the ultimate form of social distancing.”
– J. P. Pulkkinen