Go Back

Anna-Liisa Haavikko

Born February 23, 1960, Toivakka

Master of Arts (Folkloristics), University of Helsinki

Freelance journalist
Began as a journalist at a local newspaper. Currently hosts radio and television programmes and writes. Regularly hosts the radio current affairs programme Julkinen sana, broadcast on Yle (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) Radio 1, and produces pieces on science and culture.

Positions of responsibility:
Board of Kopiosto (Copyright Society) 2015–
Chairman of the copyright committee of the Union of Journalists 2015–
Board of the Union of Journalists 2011–2014
Committee for Public Information in Finland 2009–
Board of the Union of Finnish Radio and TV Journalists
Board of the Freelance Branch of the Union of Finnish Radio and TV Journalists 2002–07

Naisten marssi (‘The march of women’) 1994
Ja sodan vuosiin sattui nuoruus (‘Youth in the war years’) 1994
Nuoruuden kolmas näytös (‘The third act of youth’) 1995
Lyhyet vuodet (‘Short Years’) 1996
Täysiä vuosia – Vuoden 1949 muotokuva (‘Full years – a portrait of 1949’) 1999
Täysiä vuosia – Vuoden 1950 muotokuva (‘Full years – a portrait of 1950’) 1999
Mummokirja (‘The book of grannies’) 2004
Tältä kohtaa (‘Here we go’)

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Anna-Liisa Haavikko (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

A dash of the idealist

As a schoolgirl I resolved not to waste my life on activism. This decision was influenced by Teiniliitto (a grammar school student organisation) and my mother. In the 1970s I witnessed class struggle within the grammar school. One of the crowning achievements of school democracy was a smoking room for the students. My mother's involvement in political organisations showed me how much working for shared dreams eats into your family time.

When I graduated in the early 1990s, I expected to slip smoothly into some newsroom or other, as I had been working as a journalist before university as well as all through my studies. But the nation was wallowing in a depression and there were no permanent positions open. Still, there was work to be had. I became an independent journalist. This type of work suits my personality. The home as workplace is both liberating and isolating. The best thing at my workplace has been the coffee break when the children come home from school with their friends. Their life would have been much more remote had I been in some open-plan office; still, meeting my colleagues at the offices of Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, or in cafes has always been important.

Photo: Mika Federley

It was a surprise to discover that I had an idealist buried deep within myself when I realised that not everybody gets paid the same wages for the same work. I became concerned when I realised that due to their fees being so low many freelancers have underinsured themselves. There's not only a pensions crisis awaiting the younger generations but also a pensionless crisis. When I understood the situation I revoked my youthful resolution.

Consequently, in recent years I have been active in the Union of Journalists as well as on the boards of the Union of Finnish Radio and TV Journalists and Kopiosto. I have also served two terms on the Committee for Public Information in Finland. Questions of intellectual property rights are my forte. I have munched on meeting sandwiches in various committees and commissions. There are times when I wonder what a humanities graduate is doing debating contracts among an army of lawyers. But why not: humanities graduates and scholars create vast amounts of content and use it in their work.

Go Back