Tuomas Anhava
Humanist of the day

Tuomas Anhava

Tuomas Anhava had the reputation of a plain-speaking critic, who set the bar high, both for himself and for the works he was assessing. He was an influential figure in the world of books, a grey eminence, whose work has remained largely hidden from the general public. His involvement in publishing brought him into contact with new writers, and he did indeed have a hand in setting many on a career path to recognition as established authors. Anhava also wrote poetry and provided Finnish translations of the works of several ‘difficult’ poets, such as Ezra Pound.

Tuomas Anhava

Born June 6, 1927, Helsinki. Died January 22, 2001,  Helsinki.

Master of Arts 1947, University of Helsinki

Poet, translator and literary critic
Publishing editor, WSOY publishing, 1948-52
Publishing editor, Otava publishing, 1954-59
Division editor, Tammi publishing, 1959-61
Editor-in-chief, Parnasso magazine, 1966-79
Literary critic, Uusi Kuvalehti magazine, 1952, Suomalainen Suomi periodical, 1953-56, and Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, 1957-58

Honorary Arts Professor, 1970-75

Member of various organisations in the book world, including board member of the Finnish Writers’ Union and the Finnish Association of Translators, and board member of the copyright association, Kopiosto.

Awards and honours
Finnish State Prize for Literature, 1955
Pro Finlandia Prize for literature, 1968
Finnish State award for translation, 1969 & 1973
Aleksis Kivi Prize (lifetime achievement in Finnish literature), 1976
Honorary Professor, 1977
Honorary Member, Svenska Litteratursällskapet-Swedish Literary Society, 1983
Eino Leino Prize (for Finnish poetry and literary research), 1989
(Finnish) Translator’s award, Alfred Kordelin Foundation, 1990

Photo: Otava
Written by Tero Juutilainen
Translated by John Calton

Tuomas Anhava graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1947 with a Master’s degree in his pocket. At that stage he had given serious consideration to life as an academic, but ultimately decided against it.

Read more