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Anja Snellman

Born May 23, 1954, Helsinki

Bachelor of Arts 1977 (Finnish literature, English philology, applied psychology)
Studies in advanced Solution-Focused Therapy 2001–15, Helsinki Brief Therapy Institute
Master’s degree programme 2015–16 (Finnish Literature), thesis: Pentti Saarikoski and highly sensitive individuals

Author, journalist and therapist
Host of the HSTV talk show Arka paikka (‘A sensitive place’) 2014–
Active debater of social issues

Literary production

The J. H. Erkko Award (later the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize) for best debut novel 1981
Kiitos Kirjasta book award 1994
Lyytin päivän palkinto (award for the promotion of gender equality) 2000
Stadin Friidu (Helsinki cultural woman of the year) 2004
Pro Finlandia Medal of the Order of the Lion of Finland
Medal of the City of Helsinki 2008

Photo: Ulla-Maija Lähteenmäki
Written by Anja Snellman (Kaija Hartikainen ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My best memory of the University of Helsinki

I cannot name a single, glowing memory from my student days – perhaps it is still in front of me? When I was a student in the 1970s and 1980s, I was still so insecure and lost, in turn the prisoner of my dreams, in turn the prisoner of my fears, that my student days were spent more in solitude than in so-called student exuberance.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the lectures, and I felt a sense of safety in the lecture theatres, as an observer, devouring, empathising. I certainly have a recollection of the experience of flow after some particularly inspiring lectures. Some of the lecture series of Kai Laitinen, Panu Rajala, Maria-Liisa Nevala, Diana Webster, Erkki Rutanen and Kalle Achté were incredibly powerful and important experiences in terms of self-confidence for a cold-blooded budding writer; they provided courage and faith in one’s own dreams.

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