Kaari Utrio
Humanist of the day

Kaari Utrio

Kaari Utrio is one of Finland’s most popular authors. Her historical novels and works of non-fiction have been read across the generations. As a young woman however, Utrio did not aspire to become a writer; she was intent on a career as a historical researcher. But there was just one insurmountable problem: “I had an imagination: a huge, unrestrained and unrestrainable imagination.”

Kaari Utrio

Kaari Marjatta Utrio
Born July 28, 1942, Helsinki

Master of Arts (Finnish and General History), 1967

Freelance writer, 1968-
Arts Professor, 1995–2000

Kaari Utrio’s website

Photo: Studio Smiletime
Written by Heta Muurinen
Translated by John Calton

Kaari Utrio’s oeuvre is one of a kind. Her historical novels and non-fiction have shed light particularly on the history of women, children and everyday life—themes which had received little historical attention before her.

In her profile on Kirjasampo, a Finnish literary website, it is stated that “Utrio’s influence…

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Kaari Utrio got interested in history when she was seven and happened to come across the book Jokamiehen maailmanhistoria (‘Everyman’s world history’).

“I had always loved stories, and what is history but stories?”

In primary school Utrio wanted to be a history teacher and couldn’t see herself in any other…

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Kaari Utrio recalls how she took a nun to the University’s Faculty of Theology.

“For the subsidiary component of my degree I studied ecclesiastical history in the Faculty of Theology, since it could hardly be avoided if you wanted to have an understanding of the Middle Ages. I had a…

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