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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

Inquisitive for a living

When I started as a journalist at a local newspaper, we banged out our articles on mechanical typewriters. Technology belonged in the printing room and computers in science fiction. When computer monitors invaded our desks, we journalists were given a separate bonus for using them. Now my working environment is an endless stream of ever newer machines and operating systems. But luckily this flood of technology hasn't drowned the fascination of journalistic work. I can still be eager for new things and curious about people’s stories.

I am inquisitive. That word is more satisfying than plain old 'curious'. A curious person can also be characterised by less flattering adjectives such as prying, intrusive, or snooping. I have been pryingly inquisitive for a living since the age of 20.

I am interested in history, and the best stories have a way of turning up by chance. At a friend's birthday party, a retired teacher was reminiscing about starting their career surrounded by stacks of mimeographs in an experimental comprehensive school. The teacher’s colourful and concrete memories sparked my interest in researching the hectic early days of Finnish comprehensive schools. A chat over coffee led to a series of radio documentaries on the history of the comprehensive school.

Anna-Liisa Haavikko in the lobby of the Main Library of the University of Helsinki. Photo: Mika Federley.


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