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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

The Eino Leino Society

After the Second World War there was an increasing desire in Finnish cultural circles to cleanse the spirit of the reconstruction era from the attitudes and approaches of the 1930s. For this purpose, and perhaps particularly to serve as a counterbalance to V.A Koskenniemi and his influence, a young Helsinki-based group of cultural intellectuals centred largely around the Otava publishing house and Heikki A. Reenpää decided to establish the Eino Leino Society in 1947 as a bastion and a mouthpiece for literary and cultural political modernism—the liberal and bohemian Leino having already during his lifetime acted as a foil to Koskenniemi’s determined quest of becoming the symbolic figure of our national literature. The first thing the Society did was to raise a statue of Eino Leino in the Esplanade Park with funds generated from a public collection. It also founded a literary magazine which was a prelude to the later Parnasso magazine.

When I was elected as the chair of the Society in 2008, there had thus already been over 50 years of history and a cavalcade of famous names and cultural debates. It can be said that the heavyweights of our capital’s literature and cultural policy have passed through the Eino Leino Society in great numbers. At one point it was affectionately referred to as the Eino S. Repo Society, for so long had the future Director General of the Finnish Broadcasting Company served as its chair.

The Society, with its nearly 500 members, is an unusual organisation in the sense that it does not accept applications and all members have to be invited, and it does not apply for public funding. The aim of the Society is to act as a ‘watchdog’ for cultural policy and culture in general, and as a spiritual successor to Leino while maintaining his memory as the charter dictates. One of the more prominent events in recent years has been ‘Updating Leino’ on the Espa Stage on July 6th, the birthday of Leino and a day of national celebration of poetry and summer. The Leinos of today are given the opportunity to read their work on stage. However, you can come across the Society anywhere where a defender of intellectual and cultural values or poetry is needed.

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