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Juhani Lindholm

Antti Juhani Lindholm
Born March 16, 1951, Helsinki

Freelance translator and journalist
BA 1981, University of Helsinki

Chair of the Eino Leino Society 2008–
Vice-Chair of the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion Committee 2009–
Event manager of the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion (LIWRE)
Member of the Board for Grants and Subsidies to Writers and Translators 2000–11
Member of the National Council for Literature 2013–14, Vice-Chair 2015–
Teaching assignments at the University of Helsinki, the School of Arts and Design, and translation master classes

Awards and recognitions
Otava Anniversary Translator Award 1990
Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Translator Award for best poetry translation 2007
J. A. Hollo Prize 2009
State Literature Prize 2009
State Extra Pension for Artists 2013
Mikael Agricola Award 2015

Photo: Juhani Lindholm's personal archive
Written by Juhani Lindholm
Translated by Joe McVeigh

Peer review in support of culture

Supporting culture with tax money sometimes arouses protests in people who mainly consume cultural products mainly at mass events or in the flow of fashions and trends. Why support something that ‘doesn’t interest anybody’? As a market area, however, Finland is so small that should literature be left to survive by itself it would inevitably turn into mass-manufacturing of hit products, and poetry, the laboratory of language and thinking, would practically disappear entirely as a noteworthy art. Our country, which treasures the traditions of its poet-singers, must support those values with public resources to remain a civilised country, which is different than out in the big market, where the margins are at best so large that one can obtain financial profit. For want of a point of comparison, the financial support of non-mainstream culture could be compared to junior coaching in sports.

Having a discussion with Japanese poet Shizue Ogawa at the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion in Mukkula in 2015. ©LIWRE 2015, Iija Eloranta.​
Having a discussion with Japanese poet Shizue Ogawa at the Lahti International Writers’ Reunion in Mukkula in 2015. ©LIWRE 2015, Iija Eloranta.​

When financial support is granted, good decisions call for professional opinions. The best professional viewpoints come from people who work in the same field as those receiving the money. A translator, for example, is the most competent professional to assess the quality of another translator, their career, plans and opportunities. This is called peer review. In academic work, such as the examination of a doctoral thesis, peer review is taken for granted, but in the artistic field, which is not a quantifiable, exact field, it is easy to score populist points by saying that those artists are at it again: giving out grants to their friends. The experience of the grant distributors in the literary field, however, shows that peer reviewers maintain an extremely high moral and rules of disqualification are strictly followed. Finns are honest people, and the supervision works both ways; a peer reviewer who is detected as biased or otherwise morally corrupt will quickly lose the confidence of their profession and their unpaid job as reviewer.

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