Virpi Hämeen-Anttila
Humanist of the day

Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

Virpi Hämeen-Anttila’s ideal is the all-round educated individual of the Renaissance. She graduated with a broad palette of subjects and the omnivorous humanist has progressed as a university teacher, translator and writer of fiction and non-fiction alike. Virpi the researcher works on the writing and culture of South Asia; Virpi the author writes on language, mind, the world, past and present.

Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

Virpi Helena Hämeen-Anttila
Born October 15, 1958, Espoo.

Bachelor of Arts, 1987, Master of Arts (South Asian Studies), 1996, University of Helsinki

Author, teacher, researcher, translator
Hourly-paid teacher, University of Helsinki, 1997-.
Project Assistant, Indus seals, documentation and publication, University of Helsinki, 1983-6.
Illustrator (scientific), various publishers incl. Weilin & Göös, Otava, Cambridge University Press, Tiede-lehti.
Translator (of English, French, Sanskrit, Bali, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil), the Finnish Oriental Society, Basam Books, Jalava.
Author (published with Otava, WSOY, Minerva).

Chairperson, Lahti International Writers’ Reunion, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Chairperson, writers’ division, copyright organisation Sanasto ry, 2012-

Research interests

Sanskrit and South Asian literature, esp. Sanskrit writing from pre-classical and classical period (600 BCE – 1200 CE), its narrative fiction and structures; main publication and (forthcoming) doctoral thesis topic: the origins and development of frame story technique in Sanskrit literature.

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements
Eino Leino Prize (for literature), 2002 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)
Finnish booksellers’ Laila Hirvisaari Prize, 2003
Vuoden tieteentekijän palkinto 2004
Vantaa-palkinto 2009 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)
Academic of the Year 2004, Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers
City of Vantaa Award, 2009 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)

Photo: Mirva Kakko/Otava
Written by Virpi Hämeen-Anttila (Kaija Hartikainen, toim.)
Translated by John Calton

One half of me is dedicated to science and the other to art. I am at my happiest when I can bring these two sides of me together. The best ways to accomplish this are by translating difficult texts that are far removed both in time and space, writing essays…

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In 1981 my passion as a researcher was ignited by a subject called Sanskrit and Comparative Indo-European Literature. It was taught at the then Department of Oriental Languages. The courses offered at the department were esoteric with few students, which suited me just fine.

I was particularly fond of the…

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Teaching is in my blood. Although there is more knowledge than ever in the world, it isn’t going to be of any use to us unless we learn how to select and prioritise. That is why we need teachers. My grandfather was a great believer in education for all. My…

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